Student life in the news

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Former radio talk show host now a ‘LawStart’ student at Wayne State

Eric Decker once reached a large audience as a radio talk show host under the name Eric Thomas. He launched his career at Banana 101.5, a rock radio station in Flint, then worked all over the country, including several years blogging and hosting at 97.1 The Ticket sports radio station in Southfield where he covered the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. Now Decker hopes to reach people as an attorney. Recently wrapping up his 1L year at Wayne State University Law School, he is clerking this summer at Maiorana PC, a small patent law firm in St. Clair Shores. “Radio was certainly good preparation for the public speaking aspect of law, but I really benefitted from all the show prep I did over the years,” he says. “The time I spent researching in radio was a good warm up.” A political science major at WSU after studying at Mott Community College and Oakland Community College, Decker is one of two “LawStart” students who were the first in the program to be accepted into Wayne Law. The highly competitive program allows students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to earn both their bachelor's degree and law degree from Wayne State in six years, instead of the usual seven.  
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First look at Wayne State’s master plan

Midtown and Detroit are changing fast. Wayne State University is trying to keep up. In August 2018, to help better position itself for these changes, the university began the creation of a new master plan that will shape the future look and function of its campus. It hired the planning firm DumontJanks, which has extensive experience working with universities, to be the lead consultant on the project. The firm and university officials have given a series of public presentations over the last few months. The general shape of the plan is becoming clear, but there’s still many more details yet to be released. The plan itself is not prescriptive—there’s no timeline and the recommendations are largely form-based that can be implemented as resources become available. “This is a framework that will allow us to have flexibility and includes a lot of data so we can understand impacts,” said Ashley Flintoff, director of planning and space management for Wayne State. “We’ll soon have a tool to make better, informed decisions.” Several developments on the campus are already underway and were decided on prior to this planning effort, such as the massive Gateway Performance Complex, relocation of the Mackenzie House, and a new basketball arena built in partnership with the Detroit Pistons. However these plans roll out over the next months and years, it’s clear Wayne State will be in a much better position to grow and adapt alongside the city.
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Michigan has 1.6M college dropouts. Debt forgiveness may lure them back

Statewide, nearly a quarter of adults over the age of 25, 1.6 million, have “some college” but no degree, according to the U.S. Census. Lakeshia King was among them until taking advantage of  “Warrior Way Back,” a Wayne State program that started last year to forgive up to $1,500 in past due tuition. Henry Ford College and Oakland University are set to announce Tuesday that they will join Wayne State in a cooperative agreement to offer college debt forgiveness incentives. Any student who takes advantage of up to $1,500 in debt forgiveness would be able to transfer between the colleges. The initiative is part of an effort announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and supported by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce to improve the state’s post-secondary education attainment rate from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2030. The partnership is an extension of the Wayne State program and debt forgiveness that Henry Ford started offering six years ago. 
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Wayne State launching new program for librarians

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

Wayne State University is set to offer a new experimental school library certificate to address student demand and a general shortage of certified school librarians in the state. The university plans to offer a 15-credit program through its School of Information Sciences, said Matt Fredericks, academic services officer for the school. The course load is designed to equip students with the necessary media specialist skills without requiring the typical 36-credit master's program.
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Do student-athletes make good doctors?

In 2012, researchers published the results of a retrospective study looking at which candidates admitted to a otolaryngology residency program turned into the most successful clinicians as ranked by faculty. What they found was that those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an “established excellence in a team sport.” While the researchers cautioned that not all residency program directors should rush to look for student-athletes, the study did isolate two traits of student-athletes that might translate into success in medicine: time management skills and teamwork. Indeed, it’s not specific athletic skills that matter, says M. Roy Wilson, M.D., president of Wayne State University and former chair of the AAMC Board of Directors, but the ability to juggle sport and academic responsibilities and excel at both. “Learning how to manage time efficiently is critical, and the main complaint that medical students have is just the volume of material they have to digest. So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student-athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.” 
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OnlineMasters.com Names Top MBA in Human Resources Programs for 2019

OnlineMasters.com announced the release of their Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs for 2019. The research identifies the top programs in the nation based on curriculum quality, program flexibility, affordability, and graduate outcomes. In addition to insights gained from industry professionals, OnlineMasters.com leveraged an exclusive data set comprised of interviews and surveys from current students and alumni. Each online degree program was analyzed with only 50 making it to the final list. The methodology incorporates the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Only programs from accredited nonprofit institutions were eligible. Wayne State University is included among the 2019 Best Master's in MBA in Human Resources Degree Programs.
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Chris Pratt gives a shout-out to Detroit's Wayne State University

Chris Pratt, the star of "The Lego Movie," "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Jurassic World" movie franchises, just happened to send some online love to Wayne State University on Tuesday. In a video posted on Twitter and Facebook, the actor stands next to Wayne State psychology major Rachel Zelenak and says, "Hi, I'm Chris Pratt. I love Wayne State University." Pratt then pretends to be interrupted by a Sigmund Freud doll that he's holding next to his ear. Dubbed Siggy, it's the Wayne State psychology department's unofficial mascot. "Thank you, Rachel Zelenak and Chris Pratt for making everyone's day!" raved a tweet from Wayne State's official account. 
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Going back to school as an adult? Here’s what you need to know

Like roughly 40 percent of students who enter college, life got in the way of Shawnte’ Cain completing her degree. Cain, 39, began her college career in 1997 at Wayne State University. She successfully made it through three years at the school, but just as she could see her degree on the horizon, her grandmother fell ill. School fell by the wayside as Cain cared for her and her own financial obligations rose. For years, Cain, who works as a casino host at the MGM Grand Detroit, toyed with returning to college, but work and family obligations kept getting in the way. “I was finding barriers to stop me from finishing,” she said recently. But in 2018, Cain finally re-enrolled at Wayne State thanks in part to a new program at the school called Warrior Way Back, which forgives up to $1,500 in debt former students owed to the school if they return.
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Colleges delay tuition, offer aid as shutdown hits students

A growing number of colleges and universities are postponing tuition payments, waiving late fees and providing emergency grants to students whose finances have been tied up by the longest government shutdown in history. Most of the offers come from schools along the East Coast and other areas with heavy numbers of federal employees, including Denver and Detroit. “We wanted to make sure students knew early on we were right there beside them,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment at the public school of 27,000 students. “Maybe they need rent money or money for transportation. We can help with that.” 
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Here’s how Wayne State nearly doubled its graduation rate in six years

Federal data show that Wayne State University has the fastest-improving graduation rate in the nation among public universities with more than 10,000 students. In fact, the percentage of students who earned a degree within six years of enrolling at Wayne State nearly doubled from 2011 to 2017, jumping from 26 percent to 47 percent, according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. While Wayne State’s graduation rate increased by 21 percentage points in six years, national graduation rates have increased only two percentage points over the last decade. Wayne State’s emphasis on boosting graduation rates began in earnest in 2011, when it launched a Student Retention Initiative. Over the next five years, the university invested more than $10 million in student success projects. “The core of the initiative was an overhaul in academic advising, which has led to proactive, individualized advising driven by state-of-the art technology and comprehensive professional development,” says Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success. 
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WSU has lowest law school tuition, high success rate

Thinking about going to law school in Michigan? Wayne State University is worth a look. An investigation by the USA Today Network looked into passage rates for the bar exam at U.S. law schools, including those in Michigan. The network looked at each school's share of 2015 graduates who passed the bar within two years. The data shows that of the five law schools in Michigan, Wayne State University Law School has the lowest annual tuition, $31,956, but one of the highest rates for students passing the bar — 96 percent. 
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OnlineMasters.com names top MBA in human resources programs for 2019

OnlineMasters.com announced the release of their Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs for 2019. The research identifies the top programs in the nation based on curriculum quality, program flexibility, affordability, and graduate outcomes. In addition to insights gained from industry professionals, OnlineMasters.com leveraged an exclusive data set comprised of interviews and surveys from current students and alumni. Each online degree program was analyzed with only 50 making it to the final list. The methodology incorporates the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Only programs from accredited nonprofit institutions were eligible. Wayne State University is included among the 2019 Best Master's in MBA in Human Resources Degree Programs.
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Michigan feeling the pinch of federal shutdown

Wayne State University has begun offering financial assistance to students who have been impacted by the partial government shutdown. "It's going to be determined on a case by case basis, depending on the situation," Matt Lockwood, director of communications for Wayne State, told The News. "It could look like waiving a late fee, emergency loans or setting up student on a payment plan to allow them to continue on with their classes and not interrupt their studies." Lockwood said this is the first time Wayne State has made such an offer to his knowledge.  "This has drug on. It's coming up on three weeks, fairly long," he said ."We were doing so many other things to ensure our students education is not interrupted. One of faculty members actually bought this up that so many of our students work and also rely on parents that any portion of their financial income stream being interrupted would impact their ability to stay in school. We've already received some information from students that have been interested in finding out if they qualify.” 
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State struggles to connect kids aging out of foster care with educational, vocational opportunities

A recent national report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Michigan is behind the rest of the country in helping young people move out of the foster care system and onto a successful adult life. In West Virginia, 70 percent of youth transitioning out of foster care got education financial assistance. The national average was 23 percent. Here in Michigan? It was just one percent. Matt Gillard, president and CEO of the advocacy group Michigan Children, said there are initiatives helping young people aging out of foster care in Michigan, but they don’t have the funding they need. He pointed to university-led supports for kids who have been in the foster care system, as well as state efforts like the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative (MYOI). Arielle Duncan is an 18 year old freshman at Wayne State University who has been helped by the MYOI. Her story is an example of what can happen when the guidance and resources are there to support foster kids aging out of the system. Her time in MYOI helped teach Duncan the skills she’d need as an adult, like balancing a checkbook and doing her laundry. And it helped connect her with educational assistance programs and scholarships specifically targeted toward youth who have spent time in foster care. After graduating high school, Duncan was accepted to Wayne State University through a bridge program. That meant she was able to raise her GPA and receive a scholarship to pay for a semester of housing. "There are scholarships and there is money to be given to these kids that age out, but I think the biggest thing is they need that help. They need that person behind them guiding them, kind of giving them a little bit of help in the beginning to kind of push them and say, 'hey you can do this, you can accomplish this,'" said Duncan.
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Wayne State recognizes two former county stars in football

The Wayne State University football team held its 2018 banquet on Sunday afternoon at The Dearborn Inn. Head coach Paul Winters concluded his 15th season by announcing several individual team honors. Graduate student Shane Hynes was selected as WSU's Special Teams Most Valuable Player for the season. He was named to the Honorable Mention All-GLIAC Team after playing in all 11 contests despite joining the squad just a few days prior to the start of the season. Hynes equaled the second-best mark in program history with an 82-yard punt against Northwood and concluded the campaign with a 40.6 yards per punt average with four inside the 20. He gained two first downs on fake punts, totaling 41 yards against Ferris State and Grand Valley State. During the season, he had 13 kickoffs go for touchbacks. Hynes also served as the holder for PATs and field goals during the final five games. The Defensive Rookie of the Year award recipient was true freshman safety Tieler Houston. He played in all 11 games, starting the last nine contests, and was named to the Honorable Mention All-GLIAC Team. Houston tied-for-sixth in the GLIAC with two interceptions, and was eighth with 50 interception return yards. He tallied a game-high and a season-best 11 tackles (8-3) against Northern Michigan, including one for loss along with his second career interception to earn WSU's Defensive Player of the Week award. He is the second consecutive member of the secondary to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year recognition since Jamiil Williams in 2012 (Myron Riley in 2017).