Gerber named Center for Academic Innovation Faculty Innovator in Residence

September 9, 2021

Ford School professor Elisabeth Gerber and director of the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education Rajesh Mangrulkar are joining the Center for Academic Innovation as CAI Faculty Innovators in Residence, working with CAI experts and with faculty partners committed to innovating education through learning innovation and design, educational technology, and educational data and research.

Both two-year appointments will begin in September.

Gerber has years of experience working with the center as the lead faculty innovator of simulation software ViewPoint, and is the Jack L. Walker Jr. Collegiate Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School, professor of political science in LSA, and a research associate at the Institute for Social Research’s Center for Political Studies.

Mangrulkar was previously associate dean for medical student education and is the Marguerite S. Roll Professor of Medical Education and an associate professor of internal medicine and learning health sciences in the Medical School.

Gerber and Mangrulkar have done transformative work bringing people together to create multidisciplinary training and interprofessional education across the health and policy fields, said James DeVaney, the founding executive director of the Center for Academic Innovation.

“Our vision for a global public research university encompasses a future in which hybrid teaching and learning at U-M is interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and interprofessional. This extension of our current university mission toward one of global scale and impact will be led by faculty innovators who are committed to transformative change at scale,” DeVaney said.

Gerber developed ViewPoint with the center in 2016 as she was looking for a way to use technology to run complex simulations in her public policy courses. The tool, which received the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in 2019, has been used across colleges and departments within U-M, as well as at Boston College, Georgetown, Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and even high schools across the country.

She will lead efforts to integrate online and hybrid learning experiences with interactive educational technologies and will lead the design of open learning initiatives that showcase U-M’s interdisciplinary strengths.

“I look forward to exploring new applications for the center’s educational technology tools in the residential, online, and hybrid learning spaces, as well as serving as a connector between the center and faculty across the university,” Gerber said.

Mangrulkar’s new positions will each center on innovating education to improve health. He will stay on as executive director of RISE — Research. Innovation. Scholarship. Education. — an innovation unit he founded within Michigan Medicine in 2019. It aims to improve innovation, collaboration and risk taking in health sciences education that ultimately leads to improved health outcomes.

At CAI, he will focus on growing a community of practice of faculty innovators through faculty engagement initiatives ranging from innovator networks and development activities that identify and support leaders in designing the future of education that can improve health outcomes.

“The culture of innovation in the Center for Academic Innovation is exactly what we should strive to build across U-M’s campus,” Mangrulkar said. “As this pandemic has reminded us, health, whether individual or in our communities, is one of our most important values. The power of this great university is to recognize how all units can have an influence on improving health.”

As the center works to foster a culture of innovation throughout the university, it has often identified and partnered with innovative faculty, but this will be the first time those faculty will hold official appointments within the center.

“The continuing advances in our understanding of how people learn and in the technological tools that support learning, provide a tremendous opportunity for educational innovation,” said Susan M. Collins, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I’m pleased that Rajesh Mangrulkar and Liz Gerber are bringing their expertise, imagination and energy to U-M’s growing work in this area.”

This article was written by Sean Corp, Center for Academic Innovation