Campus news in the news

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Robot food delivery service launches at Wayne State University

Robot delivery is now available on the campus of Wayne State University. The service through Grubhub just launched this week, and the school says it’s the first university in Michigan to bring automated delivery to campus. The service launched Tuesday and delivers from a handful of university-affiliated restaurants. Students use their phone to place an order and when it arrives, they use their phone again to unlock the compartment and get their order. “We’re in the early stages, but I’ve seen a lot of excitement,” Alex Mackenzie with Wayne State Dining Services said. “People use it, ask a lot of questions.” Mackenzie says the robots have mapped out campus and can adjust to traffic patterns and construction, navigating their way around bumps in the road. “It’s smart enough to know when to stop at a stoplight, when a human is coming, a bike is coming, all of those things.”  
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Wayne State, Karmanos to build cancer research, medical towers in Detroit’s Midtown

The Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announced plans Monday to build a pair of towers in Midtown Detroit for medical education and research. The project, estimated to cost between $350 million to $450 million, would replace aging Wayne State medical school facilities and be an expansion of research space for the cancer institute. A joint committee is working to determine a precise location for the two adjacent and connected towers. The decision could come in the next three to four months, said Dr. Mark Schweitzer, vice president of health affairs for Wayne State. “The goal is to provide state-of-the-art medical education facilities and state-of-the-art research facilities,” Schweitzer said.  
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2022 Michiganians of the Year: M. Roy Wilson improved graduation rates at Wayne State

By Kim Kozlowski   Wayne State University was getting national attention for having one of the worst graduation rates, especially among African American students, in 2013 when President M. Roy Wilson arrived. In the years before his tenure, WSU’s six-year graduation rate hovered in the 30% range and sunk as low as 26% in 2011. Graduation rates for Black students were markedly worse. Graduation rates were slowly improving when Wilson arrived. The year before, in 2012-13, the six-year graduation rate for all students overall was 27.6%, more than three times the 9.2% of African American students who were graduating in six years. Wayne State has since increased its overall six-year and African American graduation rate to 55.8% and 34.6%, respectively, in 2021. The APLU bestowed the 2018 Degree Completion Award on Wayne State for using innovative ways to help students complete degrees and having the most improved college graduation in the nation. The disparity among African American students leaving WSU without a degree was especially concerning, Wilson says, because beyond the impact on the student it also “has intergeneration effects if you can’t break the cycle.” “If you don’t have a diverse workforce and have one segment of society that is making it and getting the good jobs…you not only widen the income gap between minorities and non-minorities, you also widen other gaps,” Wilson said, pointing to quality of life, life expectancy and health. “It’s not just an issue of lifetime income, it’s an issue of what kind of life you are going to lead.” Before he arrived, WSU committed to investing $10 million over five years to retain students. Wilson said the university also had to change its culture. Wilson says the next step is to close the graduation gap between white students and students of color. “You bring in kids, schools are obligated to graduate them,” he said. “They incur debt and then they don’t graduate. You are doing a disservice to the students, and a disservice to society. It’s an issue of justice.”   
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UM, Wayne State name new business school deans

By Kurt Nagl Two business schools in Southeast Michigan have appointed new leadership. Wayne State University named Virginia Kleist as the new dean of the Mike Ilitch School of Business, taking over for Robert Forsythe, who has held the position since 2014. Kleist, who comes to Detroit from West Virginia University, begins her new role July 11. Forsythe will take an administrative leave before returning to the faculty. In her previous job, Kleist was associate dean of Graduate Programs, Research and Academic Affairs and professor of Management Information Systems at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. “We had a number of outstanding candidates for this highly-coveted position, but Virginia’s extensive leadership experience and her preparedness stood out,” said Mark Kornbluh, Wayne State provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
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Wayne State President reveals deeply personal experiences in new memoir

By Jake Neher  Wayne State University President Dr. M. Roy Wilson is turning inward with a new memoir that is both reflective and at times deeply revealing. “The Plum Tree Blossoms Even in Winter” looks back on Wilson’s troubled childhood starting in Japan. It then journeys through his accomplishments, setbacks, and terrifying medical troubles as an adult. The book will be released on May 4. President Wilson will host a book signing and meet-and-greet that day at the Wayne State University Barnes and Noble from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “The book is about challenges and not giving up and even in the darkest of times that you can persevere,” said President Wilson. 
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Wayne State University sets five-year plan to support student, institutional success

Wayne State University has launched its strategic plan for 2022-2027, called “Our Moment in Time,” which will serve as a guide for future initiatives. The plan, approved unanimously by the WSU Board of Governors, seeks to build on the school’s commitment to student success and its connection with Detroit and Michigan. “Wayne State has been an anchor in Detroit for more than 150 years, and we’re not going anywhere. Our commitment to the community has provided opportunities for our university to have a positive impact on many people and in many ways – most importantly in providing a world-class education to students from all walks of life,” said WSU president M. Roy Wilson. “We remain steadfast in this commitment to our students, our community, and our state.” 
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Wayne State students positive about booster mandate for winter semester

Wayne State University officials announced that boosters will be required for all students, faculty and staff beginning Jan. 3. In a letter to the campus community, school officials said the decision was prompted by the alarming spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Recently, both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University made similar decisions. The Campus Health Center is offering all vaccines and boosters, with several booster clinics scheduled in the near future. 
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WDET’s new transmitter goes live. So long, static on Detroit public radio

The static and buzz had become so severe at Joan Isabella's house in Farmington Hills that she had stopped listening to WDET-FM (101.9) on the radio. Since she is the station's program director, the annoyance must clearly have been considerable — and the relief was evident Tuesday as the public radio mainstay's new, $150,000 transmitter, funded by the Kresge Foundation, replaced one machine that's old enough to drink and a backup that's nearly old enough to run for president. As WDET served celebratory donuts and cider in the shadow of its 550-foot-tall Midtown tower, Isabella and other staffers said the lengthy replacement process helped tell a tale of both the condition of the station's city and the devotion of its listeners. Under previous and prescient leadership, said General Manager Mary Zatina, the station made significant digital investments in the past few years, crafting platforms such as podcasts and music on demand and hiring staffers to oversee them. While a new transmitter might seem like a giant step toward the past, she said, "We think about 80% of our listening happens on traditional radio. While people might have been well-intentioned to think about a digital future, we're not there yet." 
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WDET's new transmitter goes live

By Neal Rubin  The static and buzz had become so severe at Joan Isabella's house in Farmington Hills that she had stopped listening to WDET-FM (101.9) on the radio. Since she is the station's program director, the annoyance must clearly have been considerable — and the relief was evident Tuesday as the public radio mainstay's new, $150,000 transmitter, funded by the Kresge Foundation, replaced one machine that's old enough to drink and a backup that's nearly old enough to run for president. As WDET served celebratory donuts and cider in the shadow of its 550-foot-tall Midtown tower, Isabella and other staffers said the lengthy replacement process helped tell a tale of both the condition of the station's city and the devotion of its listeners. Under previous and prescient leadership, said General Manager Mary Zatina, the station made significant digital investments in the past few years, crafting platforms such as podcasts and music on demand and hiring staffers to oversee them. While a new transmitter might seem like a giant step toward the past, she said, "We think about 80% of our listening happens on traditional radio. While people might have been well-intentioned to think about a digital future, we're not there yet."  
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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.”