For nearly 200 years, the University of Michigan has provided an unparalleled experience for hundreds of thousands of students. With stellar faculty in every field, it has created an academic atmosphere that is enlightening, worldly, transformative and accessible to all.

As the university prepares to celebrate its bicentennial in 2017, the president and provost established the Third Century Initiative, a $50 million/five-year initiative to develop innovative, multi-disciplinary teaching and scholarship approaches. The Third Century Initiative is a powerful testament to our belief in the excellence and creativity of the human capital that is the University of Michigan. This multi-year investment will deliver new leaders and new ideas for an unpredictable, changing world, and will be a critical, relevant contribution to society.

As part of this initiative, the university charged two faculty committees with providing recommendations to the president and provost regarding the allocation of funding for the action-based learning and global challenges components of the initiative.  Both have launched grant programs.  The university has also launched M-Cubed, a two-year program to seed interdisciplinary research projects that are innovative, high-risk and transformative, and the Learning Analytics Task Force.

Student Learning

The Student Learning Advisory Committee has launched grant programs aimed at intensifying immersive and innovative educational experiences through academic programs that expose students to the kind of complexity and volatility that they will increasingly face when they leave the university.  See Student Learning for additional information on this part of the Third Century Initiative.

Global Challenges

The Global Challenges Advisory Committee has launched grant programs to stimulate creative thinking across the Ann Arbor campus about how to approach some of the foremost challenges facing our world.  See Global Challenges for additional information on this part of the Third Century Initiative.


MCubed is a two-year seed-funding program designed to empower interdisciplinary teams of University of Michigan faculty to pursue new initiatives with major societal impact. The program minimizes the time between idea conception and successful research results by providing immediate startup funds for novel, high-risk and transformative research projects. The funds are intended to generate data for groundbreaking, high-impact publications, or preliminary results for new, innovative research proposals. The program also includes high-visibility, campus-wide research symposia to showcase the resulting groundbreaking research.  See MCubed for additional information.

Learning Analytics

A new field of learning analytics has emerged in recent years. Its goal is to deploy technology to collect and collate the richest possible portrait of the progress of students, to mine this data for new insights into what affects student success, and to support an array of interventions aimed at optimizing teaching and learning. To help the University of Michigan take advantage of this new opportunity, the provost’s office, based on advice from the SACUA Academic Affairs Advisory Committee, has created an ad hoc Learning Analytics Task Force, charged with designing a program of activities to draw out, support, and execute the best ideas in learning analytics at Michigan.  See Learning Analytics Task Force for additional information.