Project Ideas

Ideas & Projects

Here are some ideas, challenges, and opportunities that staff have submitted. If there’s something that you want to learn more about or get involved with, click the “I’m Interested” button beneath each topic.

Do you have an idea? Please submit it and we’ll add it to the list. There’s no obligation to actually work on an idea you submit. We just want to get wheels turning.

Once 3-8 staff from different CoE departments have expressed interest in working on a project, we’ll send them an email introduction and help kickoff some collaboration.

Submit an Idea

“A creative environment where employees are encouraged to contribute ideas and participate in problem-solving results in increased staff morale, greater productivity, increased employee engagement, and better teamwork and team bonding.” – Lois Sapare | Addicted2Success


Caregiving and work culture at the College

The Idea

One of the invisible things is that the 40-hour work week convention started when men were breadwinners and women were home full time to cook, take care of kids and elders, and run errands when businesses were open. But that is not true to life for most working parents anymore (and if it is, the employee is almost certainly male). We have 2-working-parent families, single parents, grown children caring for their own parents, and “sandwich” parents who also do elder care.

This also extends to parents who aren’t comfortable with the fact that their kids spend more of their waking week in daycare than with them, or grown children who are struggling to care for a parent (perhaps in addition to their own kids).

Let’s connect people who are interested in this problem. A solution could be as simple as making it easy to find out about other modified schedules so that caregivers who are struggling can see that there are precedents, and it’s not like they need “special treatment.”

Also, there is interesting research about 4-day weeks or 6-hour workdays and productivity. The cost to the university may not be especially high to make these accommodations.

Join this project?

Connect international students with CoE staff, faculty, and families

The Idea

The program would match international students who are interested in establishing a mentoring and friendship relationship with a local family (or single individual) using a simple matching plan. The objective is two-fold: 1) to help students acclimate to Ann Arbor and campus life upon arrival and help them establish a supportive local network (outside of their friends) while they are away from home; and 2) to encourage cultural exchange between students and staff/faculty and to inspire learning and appreciation for diversity and cultural differences.

Staff/faculty participants would commit to reaching out to ‘their’ student on a monthly basis (or more frequently if desired). Calls or emails are great, but ideally we will create opportunities for 1-1 meetings. For example, taking the student out for coffee, lunch or dinner; invite the student to join for church; invite the student to our home for a holiday dinner (many students don’t have the resources to go home during Thanksgiving, etc. ); invite the student to a family outing; take the student shopping, provide support during a medical procedure, etc.

Join this project?

Mentor/colleague shadowing program

The Idea

Staff could exchange knowledge by working with a mentor or colleague in one of our ‘sister’ departments at Engineering or at another college. For example, you could spend 1 day working along side your counterparts in Mechanical Engineering, and maybe the next month they could spend 1 day working along side your department staff, and so on.

Join this project?