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University of Michigan School of Information


Paul Courant named Distinguished University Professor

Wednesday, 07/31/2019

Paul Courant
Paul Courant

University of Michigan School of Information professor Paul Courant is one of six new Distinguished University Professors approved by the U-M Board of Regents at their July 2019 meeting. Since 1947, these professorships have recognized senior faculty with exceptional scholarly or creative achievements, national and international reputations for academic excellence and superior records of teaching, mentoring and service. 

Paul Courant is University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Economics, and Professor of Information at the University of Michigan. In addition, he is an adjunct professor of law at the Law School and a faculty associate at the Institute for Social Research.

Traditionally, Distinguished University Professors choose the name for their professorship. On September 1, Courant will become an Edward M. Gramlich Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Public Policy.

In choosing to honor Edward Gramlich, Courant explains: 

“Ned Gramlich embodies what a policy-oriented social scientist (and, especially, economist) ought to be.  His focus was on using economics to develop and improve the quality of life in a large variety of areas, including poverty, subprime mortgages, local and state fiscal policies, and many others. He served in a variety of important positions in government and in the university.

“Ned was also good-natured, kind, and fun to be around. And he was my friend and close professional colleague; we wrote about a dozen papers together and he was a terrific and tireless coauthor. He and I and several others (including UMSI’s Michael Cohen) were instrumental in the development of the Institute for Public Policy Studies into the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.” 

From 2002-2005 Courant served as Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, the chief academic officer and the chief budget officer of the University. He has also served as the Associate Provost for Academic and Budgetary Affairs, Chair of the Department of Economics and Director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies (now known as the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy). 

Courant has authored half a dozen books, and over seventy papers covering a broad range of topics in economics and public policy, including tax policy, state and local economic development, gender differences in pay, housing, radon and public health, relationships between economic growth and environmental policy, and university budgeting systems. More recently, his academic work has considered the economics of universities, the economics of libraries and archives, and the effects of new information technologies and other disruptions on scholarship, scholarly publication, and academic libraries.

Along with his fellow Distinguished University Professor recipients -- John Ayanian, Judith Irvine, Earl Lewis, Anna Suk-Fong Lok and Scott Page--Courant is invited to give an inaugural lecture. 


- UMSI News Service