The Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan, and Delta College in University Center Thursday announced a collaboration to develop an interdisciplinary innovation and education hub in Midland.
“We are bringing together U-M’s recognized leadership in higher education in sustainability, technology and innovation with Delta’s regional expertise and teaching excellence – and uniting these education innovators with Dow’s ambition to be the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive, and sustainable materials science company in the world,” says Jim Fitterling, CEO-elect of Dow. “This collaboration will empower teachers and students to develop sustainable solutions to address local, regional, and global challenges, while cultivating a robust manufacturing workforce pipeline – efforts that build on our commitment to the Great Lakes Bay Region.”
The hub will accelerate Dow and Delta’s focus to build the workforce of tomorrow and innovate sustainable solutions in the Great Lakes Bay Region through the promotion of STEM education. The Down Chemical Co. Foundation will supply a grant of $4 million, while The Dow Corning Foundation will supply a grant of $2 million, both over three years, toward the construction of a new Delta campus building in downtown Midland.
The facility will include science and computer labs, classrooms, educational and training technology, special-use training rooms, multi-se rooms, and student services and administrative space. Enrollment at the Delta Midland Center is expected to reach 700 students. Delta college is aiming to break ground by fall 2019, and the construction timeline is estimated to take 12-18 months.
“Delta College is extremely grateful to The Dow Chemical Co. for its support of this facility. The combined $6 million total gift is the largest ever made from the private sector to Delta and will truly make a difference to the economic growth of our area and in the lives of local citizens,” says Jean Goodnow, president of Delta College. “The new Delta College Midland Center, home of the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute, will enhance Delta’s long-standing ability to offer area residents opportunities for career and transfer education, using the latest technology and teaching strategies. Graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce or take the next step as they transfer to a partner university.”
Dow and U-M also announced the inception of the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute, a collaboration to provide Midland area teachers an immersive learning environment of focused programming in advanced manufacturing, sustainable innovation, and global citizenship. The Dow Chemical Co. Foundation will provide $1.5 million in funding to U-M over a three-year period toward staffing and programming in support of the Institute’s mission
“The U-M School of Education is eager to bring its expertise in curriculum design, program evaluation, and professional development to this promising partnership,” says Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the School of Education, George Herbert Mead collegiate professor of education, and Arthur F. Thurnau professor. “Our Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) specializes in these collaborations, and I anticipate exciting outcomes from this work. Dow’s investment in local teachers is a smart way to leverage a powerful community of professionals to further the company’s STEM, manufacturing, and sustainability commitment.”
The institute, which is named to honor Dow’s CEO upon his retirement, will be located on the first floor of the new Delta Midland Center.
“I am honored to continue my involvement in the community and in the advancement of the industry through the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute,” says Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow and director and former executive chairman of DowDuPont. “I have long been a strong advocate for the criticality of innovation in manufacturing to create social and economic impact, and I look forward to engaging with the Institute’s strategy development, as well as serving as an ongoing instructor and counselor to pass along the many learnings and experiences I have collected as a collaborator in our industry and as a champion of sustainability, innovation, manufacturing and citizenship.”
Dow and U-M will also create Dow Innovation Fellows, a program designed to develop educational experiences for Midland-area teachers and high school students. Dow will share its expertise in manufacturing and sustainability, while U-M’s CEDER will provide expertise on education topics. Dow Innovation Fellows builds upon the long-term Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, an academic program established through a partnership between Dow and U-M for the preparation of future leaders.