Alumnus, DHS director named UM-D associate provost

Ismael Ahmed

Ismael Ahmed

DEARBORN — Ismael Ahmed has been named associate provost for integrated learning and community partnerships at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, pending U-M Board of Regents approval.

He will join UM-D on Jan. 3.

Ahmed will be responsible for connecting academic initiatives with the community. He will work closely with deans and faculty to foster an institutional perspective that engenders collective leadership and builds support for academic programs that engage community partners far and wide.

Ahmed currently serves as director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and will continue in capacity until Jan. 1. Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed him to that position in 2007.

Ahmed leads the state’s second-largest agency, overseeing nearly 11,000 employees and administering an annual budget of $6 billion. His department handles 2.3 million adult and child welfare cases and provides 1.7 million recipients with food assistance. Departmental responsibilities include: administering the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Assistance programs; determining eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security disability services; child and family services; foster care; adoptions; and domestic violence prevention, along with many other services that improve the lives of Michigan residents.

“Ismael Ahmed led the Department of Human Services during some of the toughest economic times in Michigan history when demand for assistance skyrocketed,” Granholm said. “He focused on eradicating poverty, implemented training to get challenged citizens into the workforce, helped create an online assistance system and oversaw the biggest reforms ever in child welfare. Ismael’s concern for people and his skill in building community partnerships will serve him well at UM-Dearborn.”

A nationally-recognized expert on poverty, immigration and social reform, Ahmed served as executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. During his 38 years with ACCESS (24 as director), he advocated for low-income, new immigrant and other marginalized communities across metropolitan Detroit and beyond through a range of social justice, human services and arts activist programs focused on accessibility and equality.

ACCESS began as a volunteer organization that translated documents, taught English and helped new immigrants find assistance among Michigan’s social services. Today, the center is the largest Arab-American human services organization in the United States, with an operating budget of more than $17 million, a full- and part-time staff of 300 and affiliates in 11 states.

“As a student, alumnus, long-time advisory board member and eventually an employee, I welcome the opportunities to contribute and make a difference with my fellow colleagues at UM-Dearborn,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from UM-D. He serves on the boards of a number of organizations and is a Vietnam-era veteran, having served an Army tour of duty in South Korea.