Campus news in the news

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Opinion: Incoming freshmen, don't panic. Colleges will support you

Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management, wrote an opinion piece reassuring incoming freshmen during the COVID-19 crisis. “Today, my entire enrollment management division is working remotely as is 95% of our university. I spend my days at a laptop, with headphones, and managing in a time unlike any other. First we focused on making sure that our current students had their needs met. For some, they went home. For others, we are their home. Now we are taking events designed around the “in person experience” and turning them into “experiences for the person.” Our faculty are moving mountains to take all of their experience and plans for coursework and distill it into educational, engaging and electronic forms…Parents and students, higher education institutions will support you. No, we don’t have all the answers yet because the questions and landscape change daily, but we are adapting rapidly.
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Free drive-thru virus testing Sunday for Detroit, Dearborn first responders

Health care workers and first responders in Detroit and Dearborn with symptoms of COVID-19 can get a free virus screening Sunday. The Wayne State University Physician Group is partnering with  WSU Health Sciences and social service organization ACCESS to provide drive-thru screening from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at ACCESS Community Health and Research Center in Dearborn. Volunteer clinicians are providing nasal tests at no charge to health care workers, police officers, firefighters, and medics from across the region who are displaying COVID-19  symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. “Wayne State has long played an integral role in the health and well-being of the Detroit community, which is why it’s critical we step up and help test those who are involved in caring for others,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. “Testing is an important measure toward controlling the spread of the virus, and we’ve made this drive-through testing process as accessible as possible for those on the front lines of care who have symptoms suggesting that they may be infected.” 
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Wayne State University postpones spring commencements due to coronavirus concerns

Wayne State University has postponed spring commencements amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) scare. As Michigan government officials increase measures to enforce social distancing, WSU officials say they had to postpone the event due to the large crowds that attend. “We understand that commencement is an important milestone, one worthy of the traditional pomp and circumstance,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Keith Whitfield. “You have worked long hours to earn a degree and we, like you, looked forward to celebrating this day with you and your family and friends. Know that this news [is] as disappointing to us as it is you.” Students that have met their requirements will still receive their degrees, however, according to officials. WSU students can learn more about how COVID-19 affects them here
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Paid sick leave limits can lead to coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes: Union leader

As Michigan health professionals prepare for the worst, other states and Michigan institutions are eyeing the downfalls of perfect attendance, too. In Michigan, some universities are canceling study abroad programs and urging students not to travel to countries in which the virus is prevalent. In a letter to Wayne State University faculty sent Wednesday, Provost Keith Whitfield asks professors to "consider reviewing your attendance policies so as to strongly encourage sick students to stay home and recover." "We also recommend that you begin to consider ways to continue your teaching responsibilities should the spread of COVID-19 necessitate limits to people meeting in large groups (or) even the possibility of closure of the campus," the letter said.
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Michigan workers should get Election Day off, Benson says

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is urging businesses to give their workers the day off on Election Day by making it a company holiday. Benson said she’s encouraging Michigan companies to give employees the day off work on Nov. 3, so they can vote and work as poll workers. She praised Wayne State University for recently announcing such a move, MLive.com reported. Keith E. Whitfield, Wayne State’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said that Nov. 3 will be a university holiday, with no classes held and only essential employees reporting to work. “We hope that faculty, staff and students will take advantage of the Election Day holiday to exercise their civic duty and participate in these important national elections,” Whitfield wrote.
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Wayne State to observe Election Day as a holiday

The day of the next general election will be an official holiday at Wayne State University. “I’m very pleased to announce that this year, Wayne State University has officially declared Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, a university holiday,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson on Thursday. “This means there will be no classes, and the university will be closed, with the exception of essential personnel who must report to work. This holiday will afford faculty, staff and students the liberty to put their civic duty first.” The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law also is now home to the first-ever polling location on campus. Keith was a longtime federal judge who died last year at 96 and was known as a champion of civil and voting rights. The WSU Student Senate took action on a new polling site after students said the off-campus location was a barrier to voting in 2016.
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Vote now: Should Michigan's primary election be held before Super Tuesday?

The Iowa Caucus debacle is raising new questions about how the political parties should structure their elections to nominate a presidential candidate. So we're asking: Should Michigan's primary election be held before Super Tuesday? Not everyone thinks that by taking part earlier in the process a state has more influence on who will win. “The conventional thinking is that you are better off if you have your primary earlier, but that depends on the number of candidates in a race at a given time,” said Wayne State University Professor Marick Masters. Masters says even with our primary happening March 10, Michigan is important because it has 16 electoral votes and only 7 other states have more.
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Wayne State University unveils on-campus polling location in time for March primary

Wayne State University has established a polling location to serve Detroit's Precinct 149, a little over a month before the presidential primary election March 10. All voters of Precinct 149 will now cast ballots at the university's polling location inside the Wayne State Law School, 471 West Palmer. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined university officials and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey for the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. In November, Wayne State University was recognized for student voting engagement, with a student rate of over 50 percent, earning the university a platinum seal — one of 61 institutions in the country to do so. Student voting at Wayne State increased to 53 percent in 2018 following the midterm elections, up from 27 percent in 2013, while the national average institutional voting rate was 39 percent in 2018, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement. The university Board of Governors also declared Election Day in November a campus holiday, canceling classes and making it easier for students, staff, and faculty to hit the polls. “The university has gone to considerable measures to ensure every student’s voice is heard,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said. “This student-led initiative celebrates the life and legacy of Judge Damon Keith by making voting and civic engagement more accessible to campus residents. I believe (Keith) would be delighted with today’s announcement.”
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Jackson College, Wayne State University partner for business management degree

Jackson College students wishing to pursue a business management degree from Wayne State University soon can do so without the commute. Starting May 4, business tools and applications and advanced organizational behavior classes from Wayne State’s Mike Ilitch School of Business will be available for enrollment for the summer semester at Jackson College. “We hope to expand our schedule in the future to include additional majors within the Ilitch School,” said Carol Baldwin, WSU’s manager of marketing and communications of educational outreach. “Students also have the option of enrolling in online courses.” The Mike Ilitch School of Business faculty will teach all courses, including Prity Patel, who is available to meet with Jackson College students from Monday to Wednesday and by appointment. “Jackson students can transfer up to 82 credits to Wayne State by following an articulation agreement that is in place between our two institutions,” Baldwin said. WSU Provost Keith Whitfield believes the partnership is equally beneficial for them. “As a public institution, we are thrilled about this new partnership with Jackson College because it will allow us to serve a new group of students that we haven’t previously reached directly,” Whitfield said in a news release. “Most of our partnerships are in the tri-county area, so this is a big and exciting step west for us. We’ve had great conversations with President Phelan and Jackson’s leadership team, and the idea of bringing a four-year business degree to this campus is exciting. We are proud of what we do in Detroit and we believe this partnership will be an asset in Jackson as well.”
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Wayne State brings business classes to Jackson

Wayne State is now open for business in Jackson. Today people packed into Jackson College to learn about a new partnership between the two schools. The partnership allows students at Jackson College to obtain a degree in Business from Wayne State University without leaving Jackson. The president of Jackson College says this will help change the lives of young people across the Jackson area, and give students new opportunities while keeping tuition costs low. Students will start at Jackson College by taking some of the basic courses then transition in Wayne State classes. Advisers will work with students to make sure they are on the right track, and to make the transition as smooth as possible. “We try not to let students fall between the cracks. Our goal is to make sure that we get students across the finish line. Having a great start at Jackson College, and then being able to finish at Wayne State University is just a perfect pairing,” said Provost, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wayne State University, Keith Whitfield.
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Wayne State University names Dr. Mark Schweitzer new School of Medicine dean, VP of Health Affairs

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson today announced the appointment of Mark Schweitzer, M.D., as dean of the university’s School of Medicine and vice president of Health Affairs for the university. Schweitzer, a preeminent radiologist and chair of the Department of Radiology at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, will join the university and School of Medicine on April 27. “We conducted in-depth interviews with a number of outstanding candidates during a yearlong national search, and Schweitzer’s experience, enthusiasm and vision made him a perfect fit for Wayne State University,” Wilson said. “Our faculty, our students, and the people of Detroit and the surrounding region will see great advances with Schweitzer’s leadership and energy. He will quickly become a leading contributor to our great city’s ongoing renaissance.” In addition to his leadership role in the School of Medicine, as vice president of Health Affairs, Schweitzer will work with the deans of WSU’s College of Nursing and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on clinical training issues. In this role, he will develop avenues to strengthen collaboration between the three schools to advance interprofessional, team-based approaches to healthcare. “I attended inner-city public universities during my undergraduate and medical school training, and I served at public safety net hospitals,” Schweitzer said. “My passion throughout my career has been education at all levels. The DNA of Wayne State University and the city of Detroit are intertwined, and the university’s national reputation is illustrious. I’m very much looking forward to serving the people of greater Detroit and Michigan.” An outstanding medical scholar and educator, Schweitzer is a talented administrator who has served in many hospital and medical practice roles, including vice chair for clinical practice and chair of the Information Management Group for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Extensively published and a lecturer for Harvard University Medical School, he holds a number of medical patents. “The Board of Governors is extremely pleased to be hiring someone the caliber of Dr. Mark Schweitzer to assume what is a critically important leadership position,” said Marilyn Kelly, chair of the board. “Wayne State’s health-related education and community programs are a vital part of the university’s identity and mission, and we think that Mark is the right person to lead us into the future.”
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Program to address urgent need for STEM educators in Detroit, Dearborn

Wayne State University has launched a teaching residency project for the Detroit and Dearborn public school districts that aims to address the state's shortage of STEM teachers and support workforce development. The $2.5 million program, Metro Detroit Teaching Residency for Urban Excellence (TRUE) Project, will seek recent college graduates and mid-career professionals with STEM expertise in the metro Detroit region, especially those in the automotive and technology industries who may be impacted by plant closures. Program officials said the project will prepare 36 professionals as K-12 STEM teachers over an 18-month period, during which they will complete a master’s degree and receive their teaching certification, followed by a two-year induction period of mentoring and professional development. Keith Whitfield, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and professor at Wayne State University, said he applauds the project’s innovative approach toward building pillars of sustainability in the region. “Having highly qualified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educators in the classroom is vital to the development of our nation’s and region’s workforce," Whitfield said. "Through our investment in the Metro Detroit TRUE Project, coupled with other efforts at the university, it is our aim to provide students in Detroit Public Schools Community District and Dearborn Public Schools with the STEM educators and experiences that spark learners’ curiosity to explore STEM related concepts that they can apply in the classroom, community and the world of work so they can thrive in the new knowledge economy.” 
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Wayne State University Word Warriors have some new (old) words for you

For Michiganders hoping to expand their vocabularies in 2020, Wayne State University has some suggestions. The Oxford English Dictionary estimates there are about 170 thousand words in current use in the English language. But there are more than a million words in the language overall. Wayne State’s Word Warriors have come up with a list of 10 words to reclaim from the linguistic cellar. The list is composed of submissions from both WSU administrators and from people around the world. Though you may wish they left the cellar door closed. For example, you may struggle to add cachinnate to a casual conversation. Cachinnate means to ‘to laugh loudly.’ Somnambulant describes a person who resembles a sleepwalker, which is a common sight on a Monday morning in any office. You might consider this list to be rubbish (or mullock) but understand, the reason behind the list is simply to show the versatility of the English language. To see all the words WSU administrators hope to bring back from the brink of obsolescence in years past, go to wordwarriors.wayne.edu.
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Crain’s Newsmaker: M. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., is entering his seventh year as president of Wayne State University with a portfolio of accomplishments. Wilson, an ophthalmologist and researcher who has published papers on glaucoma and blindness in populations from the Caribbean to West Africa, previously has served as deputy director for strategic scientific planning and program coordination at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of National Institutes of Health. He also was dean of  the medical school at Creighton University in Omaha. Of all his achievements during his tenure, Wilson has said he is most proud of how Wayne State has increased graduation rates. Since he took office, Wayne State has nearly doubled its graduation rate to 47 percent from 26 percent. Wilson has said the school has more work to do to reach its goal of a 50 percent graduation rate before 2021. In 2020, Wayne State expects to complete several construction projects , including the STEM Innovation Learning Center, which will bring all of WSU’s science, technology, engineering and math programs into one building. He also has pointed to moving the historic McKenzie house on Cass Avenue to the other side of the block on 2nd Avenue, allowing the expansion of the Hilberry Theater, which will allow the complex to house a new jazz center. Last year, Wayne State established a partnership with the Detroit Pistons that will allow for the construction of a new $25 million arena for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The arena also will serve as the home of the Piston’s G League team. Wilson also oversaw a turnaround of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
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Beaumont Health exec returns to WDET as general manager

The estate of prominent Judge Damon J. Keith, who was the grandson of slaves and a figure in the civil rights movement, made a $100,000 bequest to a scholarship fund in his name, West Virginia State University announced Wednesday. Keith, who was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps, died in April in Detroit at 96. He spent more than 50 years on the federal bench. Before his death, he still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. He was a 1943 graduate of what was then West Virginia State College and went on to graduate from Howard University Law School in 1949 and Wayne State University Law School in 1956.
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Estate of Prominent Federal Judge Leaves $100,000 to School

The estate of prominent Judge Damon J. Keith, who was the grandson of slaves and a figure in the civil rights movement, made a $100,000 bequest to a scholarship fund in his name, West Virginia State University announced Wednesday. Keith, who was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps, died in April in Detroit at 96. He spent more than 50 years on the federal bench. Before his death, he still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. He was a 1943 graduate of what was then West Virginia State College and went on to graduate from Howard University Law School in 1949 and Wayne State University Law School in 1956.
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M. Roy Wilson: Michigan needs more college graduates

Investing in higher education meets the needs of employers for growth and positions students for successful and rewarding lives. But Wayne State University is Michigan's only public, urban research university not to have its state funding level restored to 2011 levels and is still down $1.8 million, said WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D. Adjusted for inflation, WSU is down $1 billion a year in funding based on fiscal year 2002, he said. "Our students" and the university are negatively affected, said Wilson. "The reality is, if we are going to meet the needs of employers, we need more four-year college graduates." Wilson said he is optimistic that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer understands the importance of long-term support of higher education. She announced a statewide goal of 60 percent of Michiganders earning a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030. Wilson said students have stepped up in various ways to help inner-city residents. For example, medical students volunteer at Street Medicine Detroit, a free health clinic for the city's homeless. This year Wayne State expects to complete several construction projects, including the STEM Innovation Learning Center, which will bring all of WSU's science, technology, engineering and math programs into one building. "The state will benefit as these students graduate and meet future talent demands that will keep Michigan competitive and growing," Wilson said. "The project also offers opportunities to expose K-12 students from the Detroit area to hands-on learning situations that can ignite their interest in science and technology and inspire them to pursue STEM-related careers." Since Wilson took office in 2013, Wayne State has nearly doubled its graduation rate to 47 percent from 26 percent. The achievement was recognized in 2018 by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' prestigious Degree Completion Award. "I am extremely proud of this accomplishment ... (but) we are not resting on our laurels. We are working hard to further reduce educational disparities and improve graduation rates. I am confident that we will reach a 50 percent graduation rate before 2021."
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Wayne State University launches new Office of Women’s Health

Wayne State University launched its new Office of Women’s Health, a comprehensive approach to improve the health of women overall, through a deep dive into medical research affecting more than half the population of Michigan and the nation, a segment often unintentionally overlooked in research. The Office of Women’s Health marked its official debut with an inaugural symposium Dec. 3 at the university’s McGregor Conference Center that brought together more than 130 researchers from across the university, community and grassroots partnering organizations, and a keynote address from Janine Clayton, M.D. Clayton, the National Institutes of Health’s associate director for Research on Women’s Health and director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, delivered the address, “Putting Women at Center Stage in Biomedical Research,” the very purpose of the new WSU office. “We have the resources and a wonderful research culture at the university,” WSU President M. Roy Wilson told the attendees. “That, coupled with our concentration on health equity, means we can come together with a focused effort on women’s health.
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Wayne State student athlete save's strangers life with bone marrow transplant

It's game day for the Wayne State University Football team, and number 42 kicker Luke Bevilacqua. While some try to be a hero on the field, Luke is a hero off the field. How far would you go to save a stranger's life? Luke didn't think twice about his sacrifice for a stranger. It is very rare when someone becomes a match for donating bone marrow. Which is why when a Wayne State student athlete got the call he was one after joining the Be The Match registry, he couldn't pass it up. "For me, I just did it because everyone else was doing it, and then like I said I didn't think much of it. My stuff got sent in and I didn't hear anything for a few months," he says. Luke was a busy student-athlete at WSU when he suddenly got a call he'll never forget about a woman he's never met. "They want you to know that you are someone who can save someone's life and there's sometimes not another option." Luke was told a 61-year-old woman in Texas needed his bone marrow to survive. Luke says the sacrifice was well worth it and that he'd do it again if he ever got the call again. Luke has been honored by the Allstate American Football Coaches Associaton Good Works Team. 
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Chamber Honors Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson with “Excellence In Education Leadership Award”

The Detroit Regional Chamber founded the “Excellence in Education Leadership Award” to recognize educators who demonstrate outstanding public service and leadership on behalf of the region. The award was inspired by the legacy of the outgoing University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor, Daniel Little, who was the first recipient in 2018. This year, the Chamber’s Greg Handel, vice president of Education and Talent Initiatives will award Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson as the second inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Education Leadership Award. Wilson has demonstrated exceptional commitment to better serving his students – Detroit’s future talent base – and fulfilling the important role his institution has in catalyzing regional economic development. Under his leadership, Wayne State has garnered national attention for their new approaches that has lifted the university up as one of the most innovative universities in the country.