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Wayne State mandates flu vaccine for fall, winter semesters

Wayne State University in Detroit issued a flu vaccine mandate for all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus any day during the fall and winter semesters. All students, faculty and staff who the mandate applies to are required to get the vaccine by Oct. 20. “As we continue to navigate the pandemic, vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu play a crucial role in keeping our community safe and allowing us to offer in-person classes and on-campus events. Thank you for your continued cooperation and commitment to your fellow Warriors,” said WSU in a letter sent to students on Monday. WSU in addition to other colleges and universities around Michigan and the country have also mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all students. Students at WSU were required to show proof of vaccination by Aug. 30 ahead of the fall semester. 
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Wayne State, faculty union agree to new 3-year contract

Wayne State University in Detroit and a faculty union have reached an agreement on a new three-year contract. Members of the Wayne State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT Local 6075) will receive a 2% lump sum salary increase in the deal’s first year, the university said Wednesday. “We regard our world-class faculty and academic staff highly, and it’s important as a university that we compensate them fairly in recognition of the groundbreaking work they do,” Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said. “We also have a responsibility to our students to provide them with the best and most innovative instruction available at an affordable cost, and we feel this agreement succeeds on all counts.” 
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Wayne State basketball to host Michigan in exhibition to open new arena

Wayne State will open its new basketball arena with a flourish. The Warriors will host Michigan in an exhibition in the inaugural game at the new arena on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. It’s a collaboration between Wayne State athletic director Rob Fournier and Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel for a high-level opponent in the debut of the new arena for the Warriors, who play in Division II. "I truly appreciate the willingness of Coach (Juwan) Howard and Warde to provide this opportunity to open our arena with the state's premier Division 1 program," Fournier said in a statement.  "To me, it underscores their genuine support for the City of Detroit and our community.” Wayne State also has a partnership with the Pistons on the new arena, which also will house the Pistons’ G League franchise, the Motor City Cruise. The Cruise will begin their first season in the G League in the fall as well. In the past, Wayne State has played against Michigan in games at Crisler Center. This time, the Wolverines are returning the favor. "I want to personally thank Coach Howard and his staff for helping us open our new basketball arena," Wayne State coach David Greer said. "It certainly has been a long time coming (with the new arena) and the partnership with the Detroit Pistons made it happen. To have a Division I program in Michigan be a part of our celebration of opening our new arena will make it a big event for our young men since Michigan is a big part of Detroit basketball.”
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Wayne State establishes infectious disease research center to aid in future pandemics

Wayne State University announced Monday the opening of a new center focused on the study of infectious diseases and strategies to combat future pandemics. The Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases will enhance training and research in the field of public health. The center is not a physical building but a collection of doctors, researchers and professors at the Detroit-based university. "The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered local, state and national mindsets toward infectious disease threats, including pandemic diseases," Dr. Mark Schweitzer, dean of Wayne State's School of Medicine and vice president of health affairs for the university, said in a news release. "The pandemic revealed deep and broad gaps in our clinical and public health infrastructure that responds to pandemics. "In line with the mission of WSU to support urban communities at risk for health disparities, the center will have the expertise and capacity to support and collaborate with neighborhoods, hospitals and public health agencies to deliver state-of-the-art diagnostics, treatments and preventive strategies for the benefit of all residents in Detroit and other communities." Work done at the center will focus on vaccine development, clinical vaccine evaluational, deployment strategies for the vaccine in underserved populations and research on pandemic mitigation efforts. Directors of the new center include: Dr. Teena Chopra, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases; Dr. Paul Kilgore, associate professor of pharmacy practice; Dr. Marcus Zervos, head of infectious diseases division for Henry Ford Health System, professor of medicine and assistant dean of WSU Global Affairs. Key faculty include Dr. Phillip Levy, professor of emergency medicine and assistant vice president of translational science and clinical research at WSU, and Matthew Seeger, professor of communication.
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Dorm rooms that make college students feel right at home

After more than a year of uncertainty, kids are heading to college hoping for some sense of normalcy. For students who plan to live on campus, the latest dorm room storage and décor can make a modest space live large and feel more like home. According to Zia N. Felder, community director at Wayne State University, the pandemic has added some other items to the list like Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and paper towels. Since some students may not be comfortable dining out, she says it’s important to know what cooking tools their dorms allow like crockpots. For pieces that need to be shipped, Felder suggests timing their arrival with your move-in whenever possible, whether you want curtains or chairs to make a temporary space your own. “That’s our motto: Housing That’s Home,” she says. “We want them to personalize their dorm room.” Felder recommends reaching out to roommates in advance to have an honest conversation that includes how you feel about other people using your stuff. “You don’t need four sets of pots and pans,” she says. “You also need a sense of the space or you could end up with really cramped living.” The dimensions of each unit are on their website. From family photos to removable wall decals, there are plenty of ways to decorate a dorm room that won’t damage the walls. Check Pinterest for visual inspiration like removable wallpaper and fabric tapestries that make a space feel less sterile. “It’s a blank canvas when you move in and you want to make it feel less blank,” Felder says. Lastly, she adds, “Come with an open mind and get to know your RA (Resident Assistant). Go to their events and ask them the big questions. They know so much about the student experience and they try to give you good advice and to make life easier.”
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Wayne State to require vaccinations for fall return to campus

Wayne State University will require everyone on campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this fall and must provide proof by Aug. 30 to be allowed on campus, President M. Roy Wilson announced Tuesday. The university will also require masks indoors at least through Sept. 15 amid a surge of cases linked to the delta variant and lagging vaccination rates. "As we have from the beginning of the pandemic, we are today revising our campus response to respond to emerging evidence and local data," Wilson wrote to the campus community. "To best protect the health and safety of our campus community, Wayne State will require all students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus during the fall semester to receive their COVID-19 vaccination." Wilson noted that COVID-19 cases are increasing across the nation and positivity rates locally have grown recently from 2.4 to 3.3 percent. "The latest data regarding the delta variant is concerning," Wilson wrote. "This variant spreads more easily and may be transmitted by vaccinated individuals with rare breakthrough cases. Thankfully, the data also show that vaccines continue to be highly effective, particularly in protecting against serious illness, hospitalization and death. Full vaccination of our campus community will eventually eliminate the need for masks and allow a renewed sense of normalcy in our interactions," Wilson wrote.
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WSU to require COVID-19 vaccines for students living in dorms

Less than five weeks before students move back to Wayne State University, officials said Monday that residents of its dorms will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. WSU President M. Roy Wilson made the announcement in an email that accompanied results from an online survey showing 86% of respondents reported being vaccinated. Those who responded included 9,106 people, a 29.5% response rate out of the 30,853 members of the campus community. There were 23,052 students enrolled during winter semester. "We are mindful of the particular risks of congregate living," Wilson wrote. "Therefore, we are implementing a targeted mandate for students living in university housing for the fall 2021 semester ... This targeted mandate — which is similar to those implemented by several Michigan universities — will help protect those who live in close proximity to each other. It will also help us prevent spread of the virus on our campus while allowing students to interact and engage face to face — a vital part of the college experience," Wilson added. Wilson wrote Monday that more information, including how to provide proof of vaccination, would be forthcoming "in the near future." WSU has told students they would make a decision by July about whether a vaccine would be required for students living in the dorms based on case trends, said Laurie Lauzon Clabo, WSU's campus chief health and wellness officer. "We felt we couldn't wait any longer," said Clabo, who is also dean of the College of Nursing. "The timing is always tough. We believe we acted responsibility." WSU is following COVID case numbers in the city and state, and two surveys were done to assess the percentage of those vaccinated. While the number of people in the WSU community who have gotten the vaccine is good, Clabo said, the lowest level of uptake is among undergraduate students. Another survey of those living in WSU residence halls showed "overwhelming" support for a mandate, Clabo added. WSU, she said, will work with students if they are not fully vaccinated by move-in, which begins Aug. 26.

Wayne State University and Corvias announce recipients of 2021 Scholarship Award

Corvias and Wayne State University  today announced the two recipients of the 2021-2022 Wayne State Corvias Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship program is made possible by an endowment established by Corvias to help students overcome financial obstacles and achieve their academic aspirations. Students who are awarded the scholarship will receive $6,250 per semester, for a total of $12,500 for the academic year. This year’s scholarship recipients are Jennifer Gonzalez and Nicole Wallace. A luncheon in their honor will be held in the spring of 2022 when WSU returns to full post-COVID operations. “We appreciate our partnership with Corvias and their continuing commitment to our students,” said Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, PhD, Wayne State’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We look forward to Jennifer and Nicole joining the WSU community this fall and to the contributions we are confident they will make as Corvias Scholars on campus in the coming year.”
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Two Michigan universities expect enrollment rebound while others still see declines

Mallory Terpstra has spent summer days visiting Michigan colleges as she enters her senior year at Byron Center High School south of Grand Rapids. Terpstra is among the students that the state's universities are trying to recruit as they seek a rebound a year after college enrollment fell 6.4% in Michigan after the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world. Regional schools are reporting fewer newer admissions and declines in returning students, while the state’s two largest research universities expect to approach or surpass 2019 admissions. Among the Michigan public universities that suffered the most in the fall of 2020 were Central Michigan and Ferris State with 17,344 and 11,165 students, respectively, 11% declines from the previous year, according to a report by the Michigan Association of State Universities. Not far behind were Eastern Michigan University, with 16,324 students enrolled, a decline of 8% from fall 2019, and the University of Michigan-Flint, with 6,829 students, a drop of 6%. Least affected were the state's Big Three public universities. Enrollments at UM, MSU and Wayne State declined 0.4%, 0.2% and 2.2%, respectively. At Oakland, enrollment dipped 2.4% to 18,555 students in fall 2020.
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Wayne State University and Henry Ford Health System announce new initiative in cardiometabolic health and disease

Wayne State University and Henry Ford Health System announced today the launch of a basic and translational research initiative in Cardiometabolic Health and Disease as a thematic focus for program growth. The Integrated Research and Development Initiative in Cardiometabolic Health and Disease will focus on program strengths at both institutions that directly addresses health issues of cardiac disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity metabolism and kidney disease that are of particular relevance for the broad communities that the two institutions serve. “We are excited and pleased to be bringing our two institutions together to better serve our community’s cardiovascular needs,” said Mark E. Schweitzer, M.D., dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Michigan, and by joining forces with the excellent team at Henry Ford Health System, we aim to reverse this trend.”
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Kornbluh assumes role as Wayne State University provost

Mark L. Kornbluh, Ph.D., who most recently served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky (UK), begins his new role as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wayne State University on July 1. Kornbluh, who served as a history professor at UK, is a nationally respected educator, author and administrator whose extensive research spans U.S. history, oral history and academics in the age of the internet. Prior to his roles at UK, Kornbluh taught at Michigan State University from 1994 to 2009, rising from assistant professor to professor and department chair. He has also held positions at Washington University, Rice University and Oklahoma State University. "We could not have hoped for a better-qualified candidate for the provost's position, and are delighted that Mark Kornbluh will be joining the university," said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. "I have tremendous confidence in his ability to help us advance our mission and look forward to his guidance and leadership in all academic matters at Wayne State University."
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Wayne State University raises tuition for undergraduate, graduate students

Wayne State University's Board of Governors unanimously approved a tuition increase of 3.9% for both undergraduate and graduate students on Friday. The new tuition rate will result in a $15 increase per credit hour for lower-division undergraduates, officials said. The university also increased its commitment to financial aid, bringing total institutional support to almost $100 million. WSU board Chair Marilyn Kelly said as the governing body of the university, officials are keenly aware of the financial burdens many students face. "This is a decision not arrived at easily or without reservation," Kelly said in a statement. "We have committed the university to making its programs financially accessible to all, including those of limited means. We have not wavered from that commitment. We have provided financial programs to aid students." Wayne State will finalize its university budget in the fall, officials said. University officials say they remain hopeful the Michigan Legislature will increase appropriations to universities this year but is awaiting passage of the state budget. Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said WSU is the only Michigan public university that has not had its budget restored to fiscal year 2011 levels after significant cuts were made to higher education that year. “No matter what the financial circumstances are, our priority remains the same,” Wilson said in a statement. “As stewards of the university, we will provide a high-quality education to as many students as possible, while continuing to feed the talent pipeline to ensure Michigan’s workforce and economy are strong in the years ahead.”  
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University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State boosted state’s economy by $19.3 billion in 2019

Three of Michigan’s top research universities combined to boost the state economy by $19.3 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, according to an independent analysis. This is more than 20 times the funding University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University receive from the state, according to a report by Anderson Economic Group released Monday, June 7. The three universities make up Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC). While the report doesn’t account for losses during the pandemic, the billions in net economic impact demonstrate their continued importance to Michigan’s economy, said Patrick Anderson, CEO and president of AEG. “Over the past dozen years, Michigan went through the Great Recession, saw an extended period of job and income growth, then entered the pandemic year of 2020,” he said in a statement. “This report is based on data from just before the pandemic started, so it does not capture pandemic-related losses. But it does demonstrate conclusively the importance of the URC to jobs and income in this state, through good times and bad.” The economic impact includes providing qualified graduates for the workforce, innovating through research and local community contributions, according to the AEG release. The $19.3 billion is a 50% increase from $12.8 billion in 2007, when AEG first conducted its analysis for the three universities. The URC increased the state’s tax revenue by $640 million, and Michigan households earned about $10.8 billion more through university operations and capital spending, the report stated. There were 141,000 students enrolled in the URC in the 2019 fiscal year, which constitutes a growth of 16,600 over the last decade. With 70% of those students staying in Michigan, the state economy has benefited from the talent retention, the report stated. The three universities almost completely made up for all federal funding spent on their research, attracting 94 cents for every federal dollar spent in 2019, according to the report. URC schools conduct $2.7 billion in research and development annually, the release stated.
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Wayne State to Anchor Detroit’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in Corktown

Wayne State University will be working with the city of Detroit to provide economic development initiatives to the greater Corktown neighborhood as the city deploys the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant it received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deployment. “Wayne State University is pleased to serve as an anchor institution for the city’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the transformation of Clement Kern Gardens and the Greater Corktown Neighborhood,” says M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU. “Wayne State has been a critical partner in the planning process and is excited to continue working with the city during implementation of the grant by providing evaluation services and committing $3.7 million of leverage to support neighborhood residents.”
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Detroit awarded $30 million grant for affordable housing around Corktown

Detroit has been awarded a $30 million federal grant to build hundreds of new affordable housing units west of downtown. The Choice Neighborhoods funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was announced Wednesday. It would be used to help fund a development of what is currently envisioned as 841 units of mixed-income housing primarily for rent, but also for sale, across sites in the city's Corktown and North Corktown neighborhoods. The project would cost more than $200 million and be built in phases over the next six years. The HUD document also says that Detroit Public Schools Community District, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Detroit Economic Solutions Corp., the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Ford Motor Co., the Detroit Economic Development Corp., Illinois Financial Fund, Michigan Department of Transportation, VIP Mentoring, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, Wayne State University, the Wayne State Center for Urban Studies and the Wayne State College of Education are all involved in the project in various capacities. In addition to the housing component, things like street and park improvements and a community empowerment center, which would house critical support services, are expected.
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Editorial: Per-pupil funding puts elite colleges at risk

Don't hate the University of Michigan because so many students from around the world covet a spot on its campus. Nor Wayne State University because it sits in the midst of a city that is red hot with young people and has unique academic offerings. It's not a bad thing for the state to have institutions with such international appeal. And while serving Michigan students should be job one for a state school, moving to a funding formula that only considers residency rates would be bad for Michigan and for the universities. The House passed a budget bill that ties funding to state universities to the percentage of in-state students they enroll. If enacted, it would make Michigan the only state that uses a per-pupil formula to fund higher education. Typically, the Legislature has increased university appropriations across the board, while occasionally applying other benchmarks such as graduation rates or the percentage of students receiving need-based financial assistance. The Senate's budget bill sticks with the 2% universal hike recommended by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Under the House formula, most of Michigan's 15 public universities would see an increase in state support, with at least eight in line for their appropriations to grow by 10%. But the House isn't making the total higher education budget pie larger. It's remaining flat. So any increases the other schools receive will come out of the money that UM and WSU expected. UM would get a 12.2% cut, or nearly $40 million of its $283.5 million state subsidy. Wayne State would lose 4%, or $8.2 million of the $195 million it gets from the state. Nearly half of the 46,000 students on UM's Ann Arbor campus are from out of state, and at WSU non-residents make up just under 10% of enrollment. 
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Wayne State to pilot holistic defense partnership for law and social work students

Wayne State University Law School and School of Social Work are launching a holistic defense partnership for J.D. and M.S.W. students beginning in fall 2021, with the goal of addressing clients’ legal and social support needs in tandem. Holistic defense – also referred to as community orientated or comprehensive defense – is a term used to describe an innovative approach that employs an interdisciplinary team to consider both the individual and community needs when working with a person charged with a criminal offense. Unintended or collateral consequences of arrest and conviction can include loss of housing, removal of children, and even deportation. The holistic defense approach brings lawyers and social workers together to achieve positive legal and social outcomes for criminal defendants. “Holistic defense is an underutilized opportunity to effect real change in the lives of people navigating the criminal justice system,” said Wayne Law Dean and Professor Richard A. Bierschbach. “Lawyers and social workers have the same goal – to achieve the best possible outcome for their client. By training lawyers and social workers together, we open the door for future professional collaboration that can make all the difference.” In fall 2020, Social Work students embarked on the initial holistic defense pilot year, completing an immersive field placement experience and Social Work courses focused on the intersection of the criminal legal system and the behavioral health needs of their clients. Five students who recently completed the initial requirements in May 2021 worked with lawyers and fellow allied health professional teams to assess client needs, provide resources and information, and serve as an advocate for their client as they navigate complicated social systems. “The holistic defense model encompasses much of what we do each day as social workers – working in tandem with our clients, colleagues and community partners to provide comprehensive care and empower change in our community. What is unique about this approach is the integration into the criminal legal system, which has resulted in shorter client sentences, a reduction in pre-trial detention and ultimately saved taxpayer dollars,” said Social Work Dean and Professor Sheryl Kubiak.
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Mich. House pushes plan to slash UM, Wayne State funding

Michigan's 15 public universities are bracing for a potential change that would severely alter how state aid is divided up among them, with most schools expected to see increases at the expense of two of the state's top research institutions. The Michigan House of Representatives this month passed controversial legislation that would tie the annual appropriation for the state's public universities to the number of full-time Michigan students enrolled. The House plan does not include an increase in funding for higher education — unlike the 2% increase passed by the Senate and recommended by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Instead, it would keep the appropriation around $1.3 billion but shuffle how much each college gets while phasing the changes in over three years. Under the House plan, UM's Ann Arbor campus stands to lose the most: $39.5 million, or 12% of its state funding, in the first year and nearly $125 million over the first three years. Wayne State would lose $8.2 million, or 4% of its state aid, in the first year and nearly $29 million in three years. Both universities, respectively, educate a larger percentage of non-resident students. Michigan would become the only state in the nation to use resident enrollment as the sole basis for state funding, said Britany Affolter-Caine, executive director of the University Research Corridor, an alliance of UM, WSU and MSU that promotes research as a driver of the state's economy. Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said a cut of $28.6 million over three years would dramatically impact tuition and services at the urban research institution where 2,135 of the 24,155 enrolled students are not from Michigan. The proposed funding change is a similar mechanism that is used to fund K-12 education in Michigan, which pays a set amount per student to schools each year, but it costs more to educate graduate and professional students, Wilson said. Some universities can put 300 undergraduate students into one lecture hall whereas a medical school class may not have that many. "There is a difference of scale here," Wilson said. "There needs to be a more sophisticated mechanism that better recognizes the unique missions of the 15 public universities in Michigan." Wilson added there is an underappreciation of research universities' contributions to the state's economy and residents' health and wellbeing. "Michigan has not historically appreciated the value of research," Wilson said. "There is a huge (investment) return on research. ... Research has a multiplier effect. The kind of technologies that come out of research universities: the life-saving discoveries and the improved quality of life is also really important. It's not just the financial benefit."
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Wayne State University requiring masks to be worn indoors

Despite CDC recommendations, one Michigan University is mandating masks to be worn inside. Wayne State University says the school has no practical way of differentiating vaccinated and unvaccinated people. WSU also says it will not require masks to be worn outside of campus buildings. “We need to operate in a manner that protects the safety of every member of our campus community. Therefore, masks will still be required indoors on Wayne State’s campus. Mask wearing outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, will no longer be required. We do ask that people continue to exercise caution and avoid large outdoor gatherings if the vaccination status of all participants is uncertain,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson.