“The Digital Media Commons provides the U-M community with access to evolving technologies supported by experienced and passionate staff. We enable new ways to research, teach, learn, create, and explore in a student-centric environment that is interdisciplinary, inclusive, collaborative, and that promotes climate and social justice.”
(The staff of the DMC prepared this mission statement in the Fall of 2020)
The Digital Media Commons (DMC) is a unit of the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation (VPAI) with direct reporting responsibility for the overall operations of the Duderstadt Center. Our role is stewardship, helping to coordinate the services provided by multiple partner organizations, and seeing that the Duderstadt Center’s resources reflect the priorities of the DC’s Executive Committee and the OVPAI for serving the academic community.
The Digital Media Commons also provide specialist expertise to support the technologies, spaces, and curricular programs of the advanced digital media resources and studios in the DC. DMC staff prepared the following introductions to their services.
The administrative team is intentionally small and works to coordinate the various activities and teams in the Digital Media Commons (DMC) while bringing the larger Duderstadt Center (DC) community together as a cohesive whole.
We ensure that inclusiveness, diversity, and equity, as well as the mission of the University and its internal controls, are considered and kept foremost in all DMC efforts.
We monitor the budget, perform event planning and coordination, and highlight the DC in social media.
The Emerging Technologies Group (ETG) works to bring to life the vision of the Duderstadt Center as a place that is always changing. To be an interface for the campus community seeking to explore and experiment with leading edge technologies and apply the tools to their specific discipline. The team’s mission is constantly shifting and continuously evolving to understand where research and industry are heading – both in developing content for XR platforms and in creating educational tools utilizing XR to revolutionize the way class content is taught and research is conducted. Though the XR Initiative is one of our current points of focus, our role is to also understand and address other paradigm shifts.
ETG offers access to facilities and expertise for advanced visualization, extended reality (XR/VR/AR), photogrammetry, motion capture, and other technologies found nowhere else on campus in an unrestricted format available to students, faculty, and staff in any discipline. We enable research and design project development as well as course instruction that would not otherwise be possible without the services and support that we provide. Access is not limited to formal coursework — users are welcome to pursue personal interests.
The technology is sometimes a means for teaching a variety of subjects, and sometimes an end focus itself. Besides offering instructional resources, we also hire many students to assist in project development and studio operations, affording them a unique opportunity for deeper professional skill development in pipelines associated with cutting edge technology applied to a variety of multidisciplinary situations.
Our team incorporates a variety of backgrounds to bring a wealth of facility experience and knowledge to our projects and tasks which expand far beyond typical facilities management of a building. This is due to the wide variety of stakeholders and patrons that we support on a day-to-day basis and requires a great deal of creativity and planning to juggle the vast amount of responsibilities. We provide support for events, assistance with renovations, coordination of staffing moves/changes, and furniture/equipment maintenance, etc.
We find our work very rewarding. The management of the Duderstadt Center keeps our spaces in proper operating conditions through routine and scheduled maintenance. A well-maintained facility creates a safe working environment, reduces energy output costs, and ensures all building functions run smoothly and efficiently. Every day is different for us. We build skills that can be utilized outside of work, such as using power tools, assembling furniture, designing spaces, understanding HVAC, etc. and consider our jobs a great learning experience.
Our team requires collaboration to accomplish multiple tasks and to be successful. With the volume of activity in our building, teamwork is essential. We hold regular meetings with other facilities maintenance groups, departments and stakeholders. Our approach to caring for this facility generates an understanding of themes and ideas that cut across disciplines and of the connections between different disciplines. We support students and their activities and we employ/empower many students each year.
Ground Connections builds relationships with diverse partners to advance the innovative integration of DMC resources in curricular, co-curricular and civic activities.
Centering students from all disciplines and backgrounds in all of our work, we support courses and provide a wide range of learning opportunities in the Design Studio, Fabrication Studio, Groundworks and Gallery. Our services include consultation, mentoring, instruction and project management, especially for projects that use multiple DMC resources. Our programmatic offerings include public events, grants, fellowships and special projects.
To address our immediate and critical responsibility to promote climate and social justice, we engage, empower and learn from constituents, including those who might not otherwise find their way to the DMC; and we work to carry DMC resources into communities where they might not otherwise find their way.
At the simplest level, our team provides robust and reliable computing environments including both hardware and software. Our core technologies, frameworks, and infrastructures are designed according to the specific requirements of the areas within the Duderstadt Center that
serve students, faculty, and staff. Our team focuses on those requirements to integrate and support specialized computing environments. We are committed to exploring alternative options and all possibilities within the University’s computing resources.
The Media & Studio Arts (MSA) team at the Duderstadt Center is at the nexus of interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative research, and ideation for media creation and performance technologies at the University of Michigan. Empowering world-class productions, the MSA team supports students, staff, and faculty within state-of-the-art facilities through consultation, creative guidance, and production support. Technology-rich and always evolving based on the input and needs of the diverse communities we serve, the MSA studios are a resource for the entire University community.