President’s Bicentennial Colloquia on the Future University

University of Michigan’s bicentennial logoTo commemorate the University of Michigan’s bicentennial, President Mark Schlissel will sponsor and host a series of three colloquia to deeply explore topics related to the future of the University.  Since its establishment in August of 1817, the University of Michigan has actively played a role in shaping the uniquely American model of the great modern public university: an institution that combines research, education and public service; that stresses both the life of the mind and the life of practical achievement; that is broadly accessible while devoted to educating the leaders of the future.  The president has appointed distinguished faculty leaders to serve as Presidential Bicentennial Professors to organize and oversee these colloquia, as well as surrounding discussions and activities.

Today the university and higher education in general face a number of challenges.  The President’s Bicentennial Colloquia will engage the broader higher education community in discussion surrounding these challenges, drawing meaning from the university’s past as its future is imagined. In conjunction with each colloquium the president and provost together will encourage university deans to organize workshops on the topics in question, within individual schools or in clusters of schools as appropriate, to explore ideas for Michigan’s future.

The Future University Community

Presidential Bicentennial Professor: Martha S. Jones

Monday, January 30, 2017

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Who will be the University’s future students, faculty, staff and alumni, and how will they engage in the work of the university?  As an institution long committed to the idea that diversity is fundamental to learning and the advancement of knowledge, how should we think of diversity in our third century and what will be the challenges to sustaining it?  Furthermore, how will we constitute an academic community across a diverse spectrum of ideas, experience, and points of view?  How will we take up the challenge of learning that extends over a lifetime? This colloquium examines what sort of community we want our future university to be.

Tickets to the Presidential Bicentennial Colloquium on The Future University Community have been sold out but the discussion will be live streamed at the Michigan League.

Michigan League Ballroom
Doors open at 9:30am
Capacity is 500 and will be filled on a first come, first served basis

A full video of the discussion will also be available for viewing following the event on The Future University Community website.

If you have any questions about tickets/ticketing please contact Kristen Jensen at

Special Invitation for Faculty

If you are including the January 30 discussion between Justices Sotomayor and Baer as part of a class assignment, you may reserve tickets for your enrolled students.

Requests for class-related tickets must be submitted no later than January 16th, 2017. Tickets will be delivered by campus mail the week of January 16th. Questions about class-related tickets, please contact: Presidential Bicentennial Professor Martha S. Jones, at

Visit the Future University Community website for more information.

The Evolving Bargain between Research Universities and Society

Presidential Bicentennial Professors: Sue Alcock and Paul Courant

Monday, June 26, 2017

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In conjunction with the annual Tanner Foundation meeting, which will bring together an extraordinary group of university leaders and which will take place in Ann Arbor, this colloquium explores the future public missions of the University – the University’s roles, in Harold Shapiro’s phrase, as “servant and critic of society.”  How can the University best engage with the many public interests, concerns and controversies that are inevitably part of its work?  What should society expect from the University, and how should the University respond to those expectations?  How do we assure that the rich life of the mind is recognized as essential to any successful contract between the University and society at large?

The Campus of the Future

Presidential Bicentennial Professors: Mika LaVaque-Manty and Joanna Millunchick

Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Exploring the meaning behind being a place-based, residential university entering its third century, this colloquium examines what is special and unique about the residential experience – bringing together people (students, faculty, staff) from different areas and putting them next to one another.  It explores the multiple functions of the University and how the University’s learning experiences can be designed to take advantage of the co-location of different people and different functions.  What are the various places of the university – locally, national, globally – and how do they fit together in an overall mission?  How do we create places designed for third-century learning and pursuit of knowledge and how should the physical places and spaces of the university link to the digital spaces of the University?

Visit the Campus of the Future website for more information.