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Theatre and Dance honors Jeffrey Seller with 2019 Apple Award at Hamilton

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, a program within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, is honoring Michigan native and Tony Award-winning producer of "Hamilton," Jeffrey Seller, with the 2019 Apple Award on March 27 at the Fisher Theatre. On March 28, Seller will meet with Wayne State Theatre and Dance students for a conversation about his Michigan roots and his rise to one of Broadway's most-celebrated producers. This event will take place in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry at 11:30 a.m. The Apple Award, named for Sarah Applebaum Nederlander, is given by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University on behalf of the Nederlander family. Previous Apple Award winners include Garth Fagan, Neil Simon, Carol Channing, Stephen Schwartz, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Marvin Hamlisch, Elaine Stritch, Tom Skerritt and Natasha Katz.
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Wayne State launching new program for librarians

As fewer and fewer students are meeting literacy standards in Michigan there’s a problem that experts say could be connected: Too few schools have certified librarians. In Michigan only 8-percent of school librarians are staffed with a full-time certified library media specialist, more than half don’t even carry a library staff. Kari Kumasi, an associate professor at Wayne State, believes that it’s a crisis that isn’t being discussed. “It’s unfortunate, but we see correlation between the decline of certified librarians and the decline in our students literacy scores,” explained Kumasi. It’s not that the literacy concern isn’t being acknowledged.
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Two generations of Levins talk state of American politics

The Levin family is one of the most powerful political dynasties in the history of Michigan — and, perhaps, the United States. Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin is one of the longest-serving members of the Senate. Now, his nephew, Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) is one of the newest members of Congress. Both Levins appeared on “Detroit Today” for separate conversations about the state of politics in America. Carl Levin will be a featured speaker today at an event organized by the Journal of Law in Society and the Levin Center at Wayne Law. The event — “Gerrymandering: The Power of Boundaries” — will convene national experts including Sen. Levin to talk about the practice of partisan drawings of political lines. 
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Activists host faith, WSU leaders for ‘World Water Day’ in Detroit

Dozens of grassroots organizations on Friday are hosting interfaith leaders in Detroit to speak about water shutoffs, concerns over environmental contamination and other water-related issues across the state. Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders plan to speak at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History about water access and affordability, privatization, environmental contamination and Line 5 — an Enbridge oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. Wayne State University also has agreed to offer a 90-minute workshop at the event, with professors and graduate students educating attendees on how to “advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources,” according to the university.
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Addressing rural Michigan's high infant mortality and poor maternal health

Michigan’s rural areas have high infant mortality and poor maternal health, fueled in part by substance abuse, lack of access to healthy food, and dwindling birthing hospitals and OB-GYNs. The root causes may be different from those in Michigan's urban communities, but the results are the same: Michigan's African-American and American Indian babies are three times likelier than white babies to die in their first year of life. Addiction is one of the biggest challenges for Michigan's rural mothers and infants. In Michigan’s rural areas, more pregnant women smoke cigarettes and abuse opioids than pregnant women in urban areas. "Cigarettes are the most commonly used substance during pregnancy and are at least as powerful a contributor to infant mortality as any of the other substances," says Dr. Steven Ondersma, a professor in Wayne State University's departments of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and obstetrics and gynecology. 
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New program offers free tuition to children of WSU employees

Wayne State University will offer free tuition to its employees’ children. The program is called "Born to Be a Warrior." It's a pilot scholarship program for freshmen and transfer students who do not have a bachelor’s degree. Officials say the program is for children of full-time employees who meet GPA and standardized test criteria. Dawn Medley is the associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State University. She said that student recruitment is very competitive in the state of Michigan. "We just want to stay competitive, we want to make sure that our employees know that we want their students to come here," she said.
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Program offers $75,000 loan repayment to Michigan medical graduates

Four Michigan universities have teamed up to develop a program offering upcoming medical graduates a $75,000 loan repayment to work in rural and urban underserved communities. Michigan Doctors, or MIDOC,  is a partnership between Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University and Central Michigan University. The program has developed select residency openings for graduating medical students. "There is fierce competition nationwide for a limited number of residency slots each year," said Jack D. Sobel, M.D., dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, in a statement. "We must find innovative ways to increase the number of resident training positions if we are to successfully meet the state and nation's growing needs for more physicians."
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Roxbury's Bonstelle Theatre lease OK'd as part of boutique hotel project

The Wayne State University Board of Governors approved Wednesday a long-term lease of the to-be-decommissioned Bonstelle Theatre as part of Detroit-based developer The Roxbury Group's planned West Elm hotel project. David Di Rita, principal of Roxbury, said the 45-year lease also includes a number of options to renew and that the property would be renovated and restored with things like updated HVAC systems and interior, auditorium and finishes. A specific budget for the theater renovation project has not been calculated, but the overall effort to restore it and construct the West Elm hotel on Woodward Avenue on the edge of Midtown and Brush Park is expected to cost $50 million. Wayne State is decommissioning the Bonstelle and a building at 95 W. Hancock St. as part of the $65 million Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex project.
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The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article about the murder of 50 people in New Zealand, which he described as “another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what race or nationality they belong to.” Javanbakht, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist specializing in fear and trauma, offers some evidence-based thoughts on how fear is abused in politics. 
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Archaeologists excavate site of demolished Civil War-era log cabin in Detroit

The City of Detroit demolished an abandoned house that the Hamtramck Historical Commission wanted to save. As a concession, the city gave a team of archeologists one day to excavate the site and learn as much as they could. Wayne State associate professor of anthropology Krysta Ryzewski led the dig. "We're hoping today to find a couple of different sources of information. We're hoping to find artifacts that date to the period when the log cabin would've been occupied," Ryzewski said. 

5 big lessons from Slovakia’s presidential elections

Kevin Deegan-Krause, associate professor of political science at Wayne State University, co-wrote an op-ed about Slovakia’s presidential elections. On March 16, Slovakia held the first round of voting for its largely ceremonial Slovak presidency, with 13 candidates competing for the slot. Even though the country’s real executive power lies with a prime minister, the presidential election reveals the mood and changing politics of Slovakia. Two candidates are left standing: an anti-corruption crusader and a candidate promoted by the ruling party, Smer. The pair will face-off in the March 30 second round.
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WSU offering assistance to students affected by abrupt closure of Argosy University

Wayne State University is offering assistance to students affected by the abrupt closure of California-based Argosy University. Argosy University had more than a dozen campuses in 11 states and a large community of online students across the country, including those in Michigan. Wayne State officials say affected students are invited to schedule appointments with financial aid counselors to discuss issues related to financial aid and credit transfers. If a student wants to apply, Wayne State will waive the application fee. “We have great empathy for these students,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management. 
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Are controversial programs in Detroit actually reducing crime?

Detroit’s Project Green Light now has 500 businesses signed up around the city. Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James Craig and other officials say there’s no question the program is helping businesses keep crime away. But is that backed up by data? A new study from researchers at Wayne State University’s Department of Criminal Justice shows blight demolition in Detroit neighborhoods has reduced crime. Charles Klahm and Matthew Larson are the Wayne State researchers who conducted the study. They discussed their findings on Detroit Today.
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Walking on Water with STEM at Wayne State

Getting students engaged in and excited about science education early is the key to help preparing them for the jobs of the future. Educators at Wayne State University are doing their part by hosting the third annual STEM Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 12. Julie Hasse, associate director of marketing and communications, and Sarah Brownlee, associate professor of geology, stopped by the Fox2 News studios Saturday morning to preview the event and to showcase a science experiment that allows one to walk on water... for a short time anyway. 
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Jewish, Muslim migration explored in lecture series

Years and generations separated Jewish and Muslim migrations to the United States in the last century. Now, a Metro Detroit lecture series starting Wednesday explores how both groups faced similar, sometimes hostile, views of foreigners that affected their acclimation. “When reflecting on it, there are some real parallels between the debate over Muslim immigration now and the debate over Jewish immigration maybe 80-90 years ago,” said Howard Lupovitch, an associate history professor at Wayne State University. “There are a lot of similarities and in the way those communities transplanted themselves.” He and his academic colleague at the school, Saeed Khan, are exploring those common characteristics during a three-part series this month.
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Wayne State to offer artificial intelligence certification courses

Wayne State University is partnering with Ann Arbor’s Amesite Inc., an artificial intelligence software company, to create new online professional certificate programs intended to further skills in artificial intelligence and blockchain. The programs are tailored to those in engineering, law, health care, accounting, and business. “These training modules are being developed to address the gap that exists between academia and industry,” says Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering at WSU. “Our expert instructors, in conjunction with Amesite staff members, will deliver the six-week courses and be available to answer any questions the participants may have.” One of the classes, Blockchain: Cutting Edge Data Management, will teach students the fundamentals of data storage, including security and privacy issues, regulatory questions, and ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The class starts March 18 and runs through April 21.
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Study shows what happens after blight is removed from Detroit neighborhoods

Violent crime and property crime drop in areas where blighted homes are razed in Detroit — and the more vacant, dilapidated houses that come down in an area, the greater the crime reduction. That's according to a study done by two Wayne State University criminologists who examined nearly 9,400 home demolitions throughout the city over a five-year period. The study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Criminal Justice, provides the first data-driven examination of the connection between the city's massive demolition program and its impact on crime. Matthew Larson and Charles Klahm IV, associate professors in Wayne State's Department of Criminal Justice, reviewed 9,398 demolitions completed by the city from 2010 to 2014, then looked at violent and property crime statistics from 2009 to 2014 in the same locations down to the "block-group" level, a U.S. Census Bureau designation equating to a group of five to 12 city blocks, usually contiguous, that contain between 600 and 3,000 people.
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America’s schools are crumbling – what will it take to fix them?

When I was asked to support a federal lawsuit that says Detroit’s deteriorating schools were having a negative impact on students’ ability to learn, the decision was a no-brainer. Detroit’s schools are so old and raggedy that last year the city’s schools chief, Nikolai Vitti, ordered the water shut off across the district due to lead and copper risks from antiquated plumbing. By mid-September, elevated levels of copper and lead were confirmed in 57 of 86 schools tested. Safe water isn’t the only problem in Detroit schools. A 2018 assessment found that it would cost about US $500 million to bring Detroit’s schools into a state of repair – a figure that could grow to $1.4 billion if the school district waits another five years to address the problems. A school board official concluded that the district would have to “pick and choose” which repairs to make because there isn’t enough money to make them all. 
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Med students learn empathy and skills in Detroit street care programs

The Michigan State Medical School's Detroit Street Care program and Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit are helping medical students see past stereotypes to build relationships between homeless people and medical professionals to improve their quality of care, put them in touch with other resources like housing, and overcome some of the structural problems that make being homeless in Detroit especially deadly. In the process, the students themselves are engaging in a form of back to basics medicine that puts patients first. These programs allow medical students to reach out to homeless people on the street, carrying backpacks with medicine and diagnostic equipment, as well as necessities like hats, gloves, and food. They also meet with patients at places like the Tumaini Center, working under the tutelage of other medical students, nurse practitioners and doctors. On the street, they go out with a "peer support specialist," a formerly homeless person who helps them approach people.