1. VP for Government Relations Cynthia Wilbanks announces year-end retirement

    Mark Rivett posted July 15, 2020

    Read Full Story on The Record

    Cynthia H. Wilbanks, who has served as the University of Michigan’s vice president for government relations for 22 years, will retire at year’s end. She shared the news with colleagues this week.

    Wilbanks, a U-M alumna, directs the university’s government relations efforts at the local, state and federal levels. She also serves as special adviser to President Mark Schlissel on the development and growth of the University Research Corridor as well as non-research based external economic development activities.

    Cynthia Wilbanks

    Cynthia H. Wilbanks: Vice President for the Office of Government Relation

    “It’s been an incredible privilege to work with the leadership of U-M, across the institution and across the state, to expand and promote the impact of this university on the people of our great state,” Wilbanks said.

    “It has also been an honor to work with so many others in higher education and with those in local, state and federal government to expand the reach of U-M and to help improve the lives of state residents.”

    Her responsibilities as vice president include planning and developing the institution’s response to proposed legislation, developing and maintaining effective relationships with governmental agencies and officials, and analyzing and assessing legislative, administrative and regulatory activities as they pertain to university programs, activities and operations. State outreach activities, and the Economic Growth Institute also report to her.

    Read Full Story on The Record

  2. Midland dam failures, flooding and evacuations: U-M experts available

    Mark Rivett posted May 21, 2020

    Read Full Story on Michigan News

    Thousands of central Michigan residents living along the Tittabawassee River are evacuating after rapidly rising waters overtook dams there. The Michigan governor warned that downtown Midland could be under about 9 feet of water Wednesday. The evacuations come as Michigan remains under a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    University of Michigan experts are available to discuss various aspects of this situation.

    Richard K. Norton

    Professor, Urban and Regional Planning Program, Program in the Environment

    734-474-4052, rknorton@umich.edu

    Richard Norton, professor of urban and regional planning, trains local officials and residents on coastal management to help them better understand the threats posed by climate change, especially when building near Great Lakes coastlines and within floodplains.

    Allen Burton

    Professor, SEAS and the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences

    937-272-9577, burtonal@umich.edu

    Allen Burton is a professor of environment and sustainability and of earth and environmental sciences, director of U-M’s Institute for Global Change Biology, and editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

    Sue Anne Bell

    Assistant Professor, Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership

    734-272-5515, sabell@umich.edu

    Sue Anne Bell is an assistant professor of nursing and expert on disaster response, community health and emergency care.

    Ben van der Pluijm

    Bruce R. Clark Collegiate Professor of Geology and Professor of the Environment

    734-678-1397, vdpluijm@umich.edu, vdpluijm55 (Skype)

    Ben van der Pluijm, a geologist and professor of earth and environmental sciences, is an expert on the societal impacts of geohazards.

    Drew Gronewold

    Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainability

    919-452-6593, drewgron@umich.edu

    Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist and associate professor of environment and sustainability, says the floodwaters in Midland will eventually flow into Saginaw Bay, contributing to ongoing record-high Great Lakes water levels. He can discuss historical, current and future Great Lakes water levels, including the hydrologic conditions that contribute to water level variability.

    Amy Schulz

    Professor, Health Behavior & Health Education


    Amy Schulz, professor of health behavior and health education, can discuss the impact of the floods on low-income residents. Her research focuses on social factors that contribute to health with a particular focus on social and physical environmental factors and their effects on health, health equity and urban health.

    Read Full Story on Michigan News

  3. Campaign encourages checking on others during pandemic

    Mark Rivett posted May 6, 2020

    Read Full article on The Record<

    Social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic call for maintaining a distance of 6 feet between yourself and other people.

    A campaign launched in partnership with the Detroit Police Athletic League and U:Link — a collective of governing agencies at seven Michigan public universities including the University of Michigan — wants to ensure that the physical distance does not translate to social isolation.

    The campaign, called 6˚ of Separation, encourages people to commit to checking in on six people on the 6th, 16th and 26th of each month through the end of June.

    LaSonia Forte
    “Our community needs timely, factual information we can trust as well as safe and caring human contact during this unprecedented test of our willingness to love our neighbors as ourselves,” said LaSonia Forte, associate director of state outreach in the Office of the Vice President for Government Relations.

    Forte said the campaign launched in April after a March conference call between the Detroit PAL and U:Link members, along with Ashleigh Johnson of Poverty Solutions, Jade Burns, assistant professor of health behavior & biological sciences in the School of Nursing, and Diana Seales, a Ph.D. candidate who works at the Ginsberg Center and teaches in the Semester in Detroit program.

    To date, more than 1,000 people have visited the Detroit PAL website to pledge to connect with six people three times a month.

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