Summer Greetings (August 1, 2022)

Dear Colleagues,

I hope your summer is going well and you were able to find moments to enjoy the outdoors, complete a pressing home project, or simply spend time relaxing and unwinding. It is hard to believe the start of the fall semester is only four weeks away. I think it is safe to say this summer felt a little different from the past two. 

Please find below a few updates on work that has continued over the summer and a preview of events and gatherings we are planning beginning later this month. I hope you feel the excitement as we wind down summer (just not too quickly) and turn our attention to welcoming back students this fall. 

Go BLUEprint for Success Strategic Planning 

Various departments continue to implement tactics outlined in our shared plan. A few highlights include:

  • Continuing work on our strategic enrollment management plan.
  • Announced a stronger partnership with our neighbor Henry Ford College.
  • Extended service and UC hours to better serve students.
  • Finalized a report regarding how to designate practice-based learning (PBL) courses.
  • Working with the city of Dearborn on potential PBL projects and other university collaborations.
  • Announced the first recipients of the UM-Dearborn UM-Flint Research Collaborative program.
  • Selected two faculty Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Fellowship awardees (additional details will be shared soon).
  • Work is ending on strategic planning key-performance indicators with results shared early this fall.

Provost Gabriella Scarlatta and Human Resources Director Rima Berry-Hung announced our “common days” initiative beginning August 29. The university community is strongly encouraged to be on campus on Mondays or Thursdays beginning this semester. There will be a concentrated effort to schedule key university events on these days, as well. Colleges and units are also asked to think of ways to maximize time together, in-person, to take advantage of more people being on campus. 

This initiative does not mean we are moving away from flexibility or the lessons learned during the pandemic. It does mean as a campus community we all have a responsibility to contribute to a vibrant campus life. We can all recognize that there are opportunities, personal connections, and synergies best achieved during time spent face to face with colleagues and students.

In the spirit of Common Days, the following events are being planned, I encourage you to attend and participate. 

Thursday, August 25 – Chancellor’s Picnic

This is the return of our annual summer gathering with additional recreational activities including a kickball and lawn games. Additional details will be shared next week. 

Thursday, September 29 - Chancellor's Town Gown Bike Ride

Bring your bike to work and join Mayor Hammoud and me as we ride around campus, through West Dearborn, and return to campus for a cookout. Additional details will be shared next month. 

Week of September 19 - Homecoming

Homecoming comes early this year. There will be a variety of campus traditions returning this fall as we celebrate returning home to Dearborn and hopefully another great U-M football season. Additional details will be shared as we get closer to the events. 

Wednesday, October 5 - Chancellor's Book Club

Although this is not a Common Day, I invite you to join me as we discuss the book, When We Cease to Understand the World. We will meet at 3:30 pm. Registration details will be shared once the semester starts. 

Please watch for announcements as more exciting on-campus activities and events are being planned for the fall term.

We continue to live and adjust life’s routines as necessary with COVID. I encourage you to receive and register your booster shots, report COVID illness to human resources, and stay home (even on Common Days) if you are sick. You may review our updated university protocols on our COVID website. We continue to closely monitor the health situation on campus, in our region, and across the nation. Any adjustments to university operations will be made as needed. 

Time off is necessary for mental and physical well-being. While we are planning for our fall semester return, I encourage you to take time off and make use of your vacation days. Many staff have large vacation balances and are close to losing additional vacation time with each pay period accrual. 

I also want to remind managers and supervisors to allow staff to enjoy their vacation without interruption and free from workplace demands. Being away helps everyone make the best out of time spent here working for our students.

I am looking forward to seeing many more of you back on campus this fall. Remember, great things are happening on campus every day, not just on Mondays and Thursdays, come in and engage. Comfortable Adirondack chairs have been placed outside the UC with more planned around campus, the EIC trails are open and the campus looks beautiful for a casual stroll. 

Enjoy the waning days of summer! I hope to see you at the picnic later this month. 

Go Blue - Go Dearborn!

Domenico Grasso

Office of the Chancellor

1070 - Administration Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-5500
Fax: 313-593-5204