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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. 
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Wayne State to require masks inside campus buildings

Wayne State University will require masks to be worn indoors in spite of recently-released guidelines from the federal government and state health department, President M. Roy Wilson announced Monday. Wilson wrote in a letter to the campus community that he supports the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which announced last week that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask unless required by local laws or workplace requirements. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration lifted mask mandates for fully vaccinated residents as of Saturday. "However, the practical limitation in the CDC guidelines is that we do not have the ability to differentiate those who have been vaccinated from those who have not," Wilson wrote. "This information is important, particularly if everyone is unmasked indoors. 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." Relaxing the CDC guidelines on mask-wearing for fully vaccinated residents is a hopeful, and pivotal moment in the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson said. "The key to a fully open and healthy campus is the degree to which our campus community is vaccinated," Wilson said. "If you have not yet been vaccinated, I urge you to do so as soon as possible."  Wayne State's on-campus mandate also comes after the university offered a $10 incentive to students if they provide proof that they have been vaccinated by May 7. Of Wayne State's 27,000 enrolled students, 2,659 students participated, or about 10%. WSU spokesman Matt Lockwood said others likely have been vaccinated and did not take advantage of the incentive. Wilson will host a town hall meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss fall plans. He urged students to get the vaccine and said that the university Campus Health Center offers the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Said Wilson: "I look forward to seeing you all on campus soon – unmasked."
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Business, education leaders blast House cuts to big universities

Business leaders from across the state and the University Research Corridor (URC) of Wayne State University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan say that the House budget plan for higher education “picks winners and losers.” House Republicans passed House Bill 4400 last week that would better fund universities with more in-state students for Fiscal Year 2022 using a per-resident student formula, leaving two of the state’s larger research universities with budget cuts. U of M-Ann Arbor would see a 12.2% budget cut, $39.5 million less, and Wayne State University would see a 4% budget cut, or $8.2 million less, from the FY ‘21 budget. MSU would see a 1.2% increase. The three universities in the Upper Peninsula will not see any change to their state funding and the other nine universities will see an increase in funding ranging from 1.2% to 10%. The funding will largely be redistributed among universities, as the total House Higher Education budget will not see an increase. During a press conference Monday, business leaders and the URC shared support for the GOP Senate-passed plan, which mirrors Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive budget recommendation, to increase one-time funding by 2% for all of Michigan’s state universities. “It’s a budget under which all students at all 15 universities benefit and would set up businesses and our state to benefit. Unfortunately, the budget passed by the House is very different. It picks winners and losers and will have a negative effect on students, businesses and Michigan’s economic future,” URC Executive Director Britany Affolter-Caine said. 
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Wayne State community pushes for vaccine mandate for fall

Another university community is lobbying for a vaccine mandate for those returning to campus in fall. More than 700 Wayne State University professors, staff and students have petitioned the administration to require a coronavirus vaccine for students, faculty and staff to avoid outbreaks and promote safety. Campus leaders presented Wayne State's petition, dated April 8, to President M. Roy Wilson and Provost Laurie Lauzon Clabo two weeks ago and added their support to the university's efforts so far, said Fabrice Smieliauskas, a Wayne State assistant economics professor. But they have not received a formal response. WSU spokesman Matt Lockwood said university officials are surveying students, staff, faculty anonymously to assess the magnitude of who has been vaccinated among its community, which includes 24,000 students who enrolled in winter semester. It also needs to analyze the impact of the incentive the president offered to buy lunch for students if they got vaccinated. “We will consider this data and other COVID-related metrics before we consider taking any additional actions," Lockwood said. Wilson recently said during a radio interview that, "we may be heading into a mandate" but added that the lunch incentive was showing positive results. "I’d like to try to do anything possible to not issue a mandate," said WSU's president.
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Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson aiming for a 90% campus vaccination rate

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases throughout Michigan has dampened hopes of a prompt return to normalcy. Schools and universities are once again having to navigate reopening plans for the fall as the state endures significant community spread. Some universities in Metro Detroit, including Oakland University, have announced that they will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus. M. Roy Wilson is the President of Wayne State University. He says that Michigan was once seen as a leader in managing the racial disparities present in the spread of COVID-19. Now, he says, that progress has dramatically diminished. “Michigan really was a model early on in terms of what can be done … in terms of deaths and racial disparity. … Obviously, the overall situation has really deteriorated … it hasn’t gone back to as bad as early days … but it’s disappointing,” says Wilson on the disparate outcomes of COVID-19. With the benefit of hindsight, Wilson says while he wouldn’t enact a complete state shutdown at this point, perhaps he wouldn’t have opened the state back up when the governor did. On the criticism Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing, Wilson says it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback. “It’s easy to pick one or two things and say this is the cause … overall, I think the governor has done a good job,” says Wilson. As for Wayne State University, Wilson says he hopes incentives will encourage more students and staff to get vaccinated before the fall. He adds that to open safely, a large majority of the campus must be vaccinated. “We may be heading into a mandate … I don’t want to jump into that, but it’s a possibility for the fall … right now, I’d like to try to do anything possible to not issue a mandate. … I’d like to see about a 90% campus vaccination rate,” says Wilson on a potential vaccine mandate for the fall.
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COVID-19 pandemic causing increase in nursing & medical school applicants

We’ve spent more than a year battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and doctors and nurses are among the heroes on the front line every day. The U.S. will need nearly 140,000 doctors by 2033 and around 500,000 nurses by 2030. Thankfully, the determination we’ve seen during the pandemic is inspiring an explosion of interest and applications for nursing schools and medical schools across the country and right here in metro Detroit. That sense of commitment and desire to help others is what schools are looking for in future doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. "I think most people are good at heart and they want to make a difference," Wayne State School of Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Schweitzer said. He said you can make that difference with these professions but you also get a reward. "To have a profession where you go home every night and you said that I helped patients X, Y and Z today is a righteous thing to do," he added. Wayne State’s medical school received 1,000 additional applications - up 10%. But the school can only increase the size of the class by 3%. The size of medical schools is regulated by their accrediting body, and there are only so many clinical spots for med school students and nursing students. Schweitzer says it would be easy to fill up an incoming med school with people with perfect GPAs and from the right zip codes. He says Wayne State’s mission is to train people who might not be able to get that training elsewhere.
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Wayne State students who show proof of COVID vaccine will get money added to campus card

Wayne State University is offering a monetary incentive to students who receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Students who show proof of immunization will get a $10 credit added to their OneCard, the university announced. The credit can be used for Grubhub or used on campus. "As we announced last month, we expect the majority of our fall classes to be offered in person. There is nothing we would like more. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 numbers in Michigan are currently at an unacceptably high level," said President M. Roy Wilson. "The best way to ensure a return to campus in September is to get a vaccination if you haven’t yet done so."