The "Third Century"--University of Michigan Invests in Innovation

Oct 06, 2011

University of Michigan will launch a new initiative to develop innovative ideas about global challenges and opportunities, and to advance the greater good, President Mary Sue Coleman announced this week in her third annual fall address.

"We see the Third Century Initiative as expanding action-based, immersive learning that will give students the skills and experiences they need to be effective leaders — leaders with the confidence to innovate, be entrepreneurial and reinvent themselves," Coleman said. "Our graduates must be able to work effectively with others who are different from themselves and in settings that are much different than anything they've experienced."

The goal of the initiative is to stimulate creative thinking among students and faculty, and develop programs that will intensify students' immersive experiences in and beyond the classroom, including international experiences, undergraduate research, service learning, entrepreneurial activities and innovative courses that encourage the role of creativity in critical thinking.

In addition to the Third Century Initiative, Coleman announced another new innovative endeavor: the Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (MINTS) initiative. For the first time, the university will directly invest in its own startup businesses. By diversifying funds that the university continually invests — not new money — U-M could inject up to $25 million in businesses created by U-M researchers during the next 10 years.

"Michigan has long been at the forefront of the social sciences, engineering, medicine and more. Entrepreneurship must now be among our accomplishments," Coleman said. "To continue being leaders, we must galvanize innovation across our campuses. MINTS is one more way to quicken that work."

Throughout her talk, Coleman cited countless examples of the university's continued impact locally, nationally and globally in areas ranging from economics, entrepreneurship and health care to sustainability, the arts and service to society.

For more on the Third Century Initiative and the Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups, visit U-M's article, or the Inside Higher Education's coverage of the announcement.