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University of Michigan School of Information


UMSI Theme Year

Each year, the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) identifies a social concern to serve as the focal point for Theme Year, an initiative that creates a common educational experience for our students through a variety of learning opportunities connected to the chosen theme.

We are excited to announce that the 2024-2025 theme is Future of Work.

Why Future of Work?

The Future of Work theme will focus on the ways in which technological advancements, shifting societal norms and global trends will shape the nature of employment and redefine the concept of work itself. This theme embodies UMSI’s commitment to exploring the intersection of technology, society and employment in the rapidly evolving landscape of the modern workplace. From the benefits of increased flexibility and skill development to the complexities of automation and job displacement, the Future of Work theme promises to ignite insightful discussions, foster innovative solutions and inspire meaningful action. 

Check out the Theme Year Brief for more information about the concepts and topics that will be explored through the Future of Work Theme Year.

Get Involved

We are seeking organizational partners who are contending with matters related to the Future of Work theme to provide real-world perspectives and context to our students through projects, guest speaking, co-curricular activities and more.

The engagement opportunities for which we are seeking collaborative partners for UMSI’s Future of Work Theme Year are outlined below for your consideration.

If you are interested in getting involved, complete this form to let us know how you would like to participate. After expressing your interest, our team will reach out to you for further discussion and next steps.

Theme Year Engagement Opportunities

  • SI 500: Problem-solving with people, information and technology: In this graduate course, students learn and apply interdisciplinary problem solving to identify and investigate information problems and design potential solutions. We are seeking organizations who can provide a well-defined information problem statement related to the Future of Work theme and connect students to contacts with domain expertise for interviews as part of students’ qualitative research. Students will work in teams to explore the problem and propose solutions.
  • SI 305: Introduction to Information Analysis: In this undergraduate course, students learn and apply core principles of information analysis. We are seeking organizations who can provide and contextualize datasets related to the Future of Work theme for students to analyze and derive insights. Examples include data related to labor unions, workers’ rights, federal labor programs, work models, etc.  
  • SI 307: Introduction to User Experience Design: In this undergraduate course, students learn and implement the principles of user experience in the context of problem solving. We are seeking organizations who can present students with a digital information system or tool related to the Future of Work theme for which students will create design solutions. Examples include workplace collaboration software, interactive gig work websites, etc. 
  • Guest speakers: A variety of UMSI faculty are interested in guest speakers who can talk to a class about their unique insights, experiences and skills related to the Future of Work theme in the context of information. Examples include talks about skill development programs and challenges, hybrid work environments, four-day work weeks, using AI for work enhancement, etc.
  • Co-curricular programs: The Engaged Learning Office is looking for collaborative partners who are interested in participating in co-curricular programming with students to enrich their understanding and application of the Future of Work theme. These programs could include, but are not limited to, design jams, data dives, hackathons or case study competitions.

We look forward to engaging with you in the exploration of the Future of Work theme and witnessing the impactful contributions that will emerge from our collaborative efforts.

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.