Student life in the news

News outlet logo for favicons/wilx.com.png

Jackson College and Wayne State University set to partner in new equity initiative

Jackson College is partnering with Wayne State University to place effort into Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI). This Equity Transfer Initiative is led by the American Association of Community Colleges to improve transfer success. This is to help students who may face barriers when it comes to transferring from community colleges to universities. The two-year Equity Transfer Initiative awards up to $27,500 to partnerships to increase transfer and completion for underrepresented student populations, including African American, Hispanic, adult, and first-generation students. “I’m delighted that Jackson College is one of 16 higher education partnerships chosen nationally to participate in this project. This forward-looking project is designed to enhance the academic completion of under-represented students and ensure their successful transfer to a baccalaureate-granting institution – in our case, Wayne State University,” said Dr. Daniel J. Phelan, president. “We are deeply grateful to Dr. Ahmad Ezzeddine from Wayne State for his leadership and partnership in this important work.”
News outlet logo for favicons/forbes.com.png

Tackling hunger and homelessness on campus

Many months into the pandemic, we have witnessed extraordinary economic disruption and devastation. The effects have been far-reaching and prolonged, including across higher education. On four-year college campuses, recent survey data suggests that 15 percent of students are facing homelessness due to the pandemic and 38 percent of students are experiencing food insecurity. Imagine trying to focus on school when you’re not sure where you’ll find your next meal or even if you’ll have a safe place to sleep at night. Sadly, these aren’t academic questions for millions of students. They’re an everyday reality. Yet as we take stock of the pandemic’s extraordinary toll, we’re also reminded that hunger and homelessness are challenges not just in this moment but every moment. That’s why this week we recognize National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week: to spotlight the scale of the need, identify possible solutions, and marshal public support to solve these long-standing societal challenges. Public universities also see a crucial role to play in addressing student hunger and food insecurity. To help address homelessness, Wayne State University has helped precariously housed students find housing during the pandemic through a long-running program. The university’s Helping Individuals Go Higher Program started in 2013 with the aim of helping homeless and precariously housed students persist in their studies by providing financial support and other resources.
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Michigan sees 'dramatic' increase in young voters casting ballots as colleges mobilize

Young voters in Michigan may be breaking some records. Among 14 key states, Michigan has seen the most "dramatic" increase in young voters ages 18-29 casting their ballot at this time of year, according to an analysis released by Tufts University last week. The analysis found 9.4% of all early votes have been cast by youth this year, as compared to only 2.5% in 2016. Nationally, more than seven million young voters have already sent in their ballots. “With the pandemic, I think a lot of younger voters and younger generations overall feel very energized to make their voice heard,” said Riya Chhabra, a Wayne State University senior and student government president. Wayne State University opened its own polling location in 2019, an initiative spearheaded by former student government president Stuart Baum, when he realized in 2016 the nearest polling location was 45 minutes away by foot and shared with three precincts. The new polling location near The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law helped more voices get heard from Wayne State, he said. The student government is continuing Baum’s work, launching the voter website Motivote. “Even though we have really difficult schedules, we still put in the time and the work to get students engaged,” said student government member Sailor Mayes, a sophomore. Motivote allows Wayne State students to complete bite-sized action items, such as making a voting plan, for points, Chhabra said. These points allow students to enter a raffle. She said her team had an extensive “Get Out and Vote” plan for students this semester but was quickly interrupted by COVID-19 — Motivote became the second-best option. 
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Wayne State tells campus community: Take Oct. 30 as a mental health day

The disrupted college lifestyle is weighing on Wayne State University students, its leaders have found. So, on Oct. 30, they want a pause in activities, including classes, for a mental health day. "We've been checking in on students and they're feeling pretty stressed," Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Laurie Clabo told the Free Press. "We know they're tired. We're seeing students who are feeling isolated. We're just worried about them." So the university will drastically slow down on that day. "We want them to take a day to just take a pause and recharge so they are ready to finish out," Clabo said. M. Roy Wilson, the university's president, said in a pair of emails sent Thursday morning to the campus community. "The purpose of this day is to allow you time to focus on your health and emotional well-being during these challenging times, connect with fellow students, learn more about the resources available to help you cope and thrive, or close the laptop and dedicate the day to self-care. Faculty are being encouraged to give students some leeway on assignments, and even cancel classes for the day, if feasible."  Wilson encouraged faculty and staff to give themselves a break as well. "Many faculty and staff have not been on campus since March, and continue to face additional stresses, from Zoom/Teams fatigue' and balancing work and child care, to the loss of working alongside our colleagues and the benefits that come with in-person engagement and collaboration. Many are working harder — and longer — and are not taking earned vacation time. While the changes in how we work were made with safety in mind, they bring new challenges, some of which can be unhealthy if not addressed." If Oct. 30 isn't feasible as a mental health day, leaders should consider allowing people to use another day, Wilson said.
News outlet logo for favicons/yahoo.com.png

Sean Anderson Foundation donates $10,000 for Wayne State's HIGH Program

The Sean Anderson Foundation has donated $10,000 to benefit the Wayne State University HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) Program. These emergency resources will benefit the program, which has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Big Sean, a native Detroiter, established the Sean Anderson Foundation to provide better opportunities for those in need. Big Sean previously exemplified his commitment to assisting young people’s lives when the foundation created a $25,000 endowment for HIGH Program in 2016. Wayne State first lady Jacqueline Wilson founded the HIGH Program in 2013, when she met a medical student who had experienced homelessness while attending school. The HIGH Program offers a strategic response to the homelessness issue on Wayne State’s campus. The program assists financially challenged, precariously housed, and homeless students reach their goal of earning their college degree.
News outlet logo for favicons/chronicle.com.png

The new rules of engagement

Online learning during the coronavirus pandemic has proved to be a particular challenge for some lower-income students and students of color, whose communities have been hit hardest by the virus. Technical and personal challenges can make it difficult to connect with their classmates, literally and figuratively. If students are logging on with data plans and phones, have little privacy, or are caring for others, turning on cameras for online classes can be awkward, even impossible. At Wayne State University, which has a similarly diverse student body, Karen Myhr, an associate professor of biology, has also been thinking about inclusivity. Many of her students are considered at risk academically, she says: Low test scores placed them in her course, called “An Introduction to Life,” instead of in a more advanced biology sequence. Even in normal times, she says, her students have needed a lot of support. To help them build connections, virtually, she has grouped them into teams of their choice, and then put those teams into private channels online. Her five undergraduate learning assistants can enter. But she stays out, knowing that having the professor listen to their conversation could cause some to freeze up. Instead, she monitors their written work, which is done through collaborative online software. A typical online class might include a few minutes of instruction, followed by group work, and a debrief, as she shares examples of what they came up with in their teams.
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

MSU, U-M, Wayne State presidents: In-person classes likely won't resume until fall 2021

The presidents of Michigan's top three research universities said it’s likely it will be another year before their students return to classrooms full-time. Most students at Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University are taking their courses remotely this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each university's president expects online classes to continue through the academic year, with students returning in person in the fall of 2021. "The truth of the matter is that this is going to be with us for a while," said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, who spoke with the MSU President Samuel Stanley and U-M President Mark Schlissel during a Lansing Economic Club panel on Thursday. "I anticipate that the winter semester will be basically the same as it is this semester."
News outlet logo for favicons/msn.com.png

The psychology behind why some college students break COVID-19 rules

Going off to college is, for many young adults, their first real plunge into freedom and adulthood. It’s where they’re encouraged to take risks and find new connections in dining halls and laundry rooms. But those collegiate rites of passage aren’t possible if they’re largely confined to an extra-long twin bed in a stuffy dorm room, peering out at the world through barred windows. The fall 2020 semester looks a lot like that for some undergraduates who’ve returned to campus during the pandemic. And as anticipated, some of those undergrads have already started to rebel. CNN spoke with experts about the drivers behind these risky decisions, including Hannah Schacter, assistant professor and developmental psychologist at Wayne State University. Teens are also particularly sensitive to the potential rewards of risky decisions at this stage in their life. It’s not that they don’t understand the negative consequences, but they struggle to regulate those impulses that lead them to take risks because the potential reward is too great, said Schacter, who leads a lab at Wayne State University on adolescent relationships. “It’s this combination of being restricted from social contact for a while at an age where spending time with peers is so essential to development, to making teenagers feel good, and so, there’s some sort of calculation going on where the perceived benefit — ‘I get to spend time with friends’ — seems to be outweighing the potential costs,” Schacter said. When you plop students back on campus after a spring and summer spent cooped up in their childhood bedrooms, many of them will take those opportunities to connect with their friends and strangers. Their fear of the virus may be overtaken by their eagerness to connect, she said. “No one’s going back to college because they want to sit in their dorm all weekend by themselves,” Schacter said. “Peers are so essential that it’s no coincidence that we’re seeing these behaviors more and that they’re particularly peer-oriented,” Schacter said.
News outlet logo for favicons/yahoo.com.png

Wayne State University enrollment up; Black graduation rate soars

Officials at Wayne State University announced that as of Aug. 19, Fall 2020 undergraduate enrollment is up 2.3 percent compared to Fall 2019, and despite uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic it is trending toward being the largest freshmen class in the school's 152-year history. In addition, Black undergraduate enrollment for first-time college students at Wayne State is up an astonishing 58.7 percent. Overall Black enrollment is up 3.6 percent over last year. "These numbers speak to the commitment we have made to making a Wayne State education accessible and affordable to all students, regardless of racial or socio-economic background," said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. "We're focused on increasing enrollment and the diversity of our student body, through targeted strategic efforts to recruit students of all backgrounds. And it's working." Wayne State also exceeded its strategic plan goal of a six-year graduation rate of 50 percent one year early, and is anticipating it will hit 52 percent by September. The six-year graduation rate for Black students has tripled to 25 percent, from 8 percent in 2011. Wayne State's progress on boosting degree attainment and improving graduation rates has become a national model. "I'm especially gratified that these positive enrollment numbers are coming at a time when so much is up in the air because of the pandemic," Wilson said. "I think our cautious but forward-looking approach to our return to campus has inspired confidence in our students, faculty and staff. Moreover, students and parents continue to recognize the value of a Wayne State education and are determined to see it through to degree completion, even in these uncertain times."
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

5 reasons to let students keep their cameras off during Zoom classes

Tabitha Moses, MD/PhD candidate at Wayne State University, wrote an article for The Conversation about the challenges that online instruction can pose for students if they are required to keep their cameras on during class. “As the 2020-21 school year gets underway – both at the K-12 and college level – many students find themselves attending online classes via Zoom or similar teleconferencing platforms. Although sticking with remote instruction may be the correct decision from the standpoint of public health, it is not without problems. As a researcher who studies behavior and the brain, I have found the evidence suggests that online instruction can pose a range of challenges for students if they are required to keep their cameras on during class. Here are five reasons why I believe students should be allowed to keep their cameras off instead: Increased anxiety and stress; ‘Zoom fatigue;’ Competing obligations; Right to privacy; and, Financial means and other kinds of access
News outlet logo for favicons/universitybusiness.com.png

How 2 campuses share advanced software with students

College and university tech leaders are providing new ways for remote students to do hands-on work as online learning remains the predominant platform for instruction on most campuses. When Wayne State University went online this spring, students went home to a wide range of devices—from powerful Macs to Chromebooks. Not all of those computers could handle the advanced software that fine arts, drama, communications and music students need to work on hands-on projects, says Chris Gilbert, an applications technical analyst at the Detroit institution. The university expanded its use of the Splashtop platform to allow students to access advanced design applications by logging into campus computers remotely, Gilbert says. Students can access the software during scheduled class time. And, the university created a remote computer lab that students can log into any time of day. Students can create designs for instructors to begin fabricating during class, Gilbert adds. “The students who really want to learn a program can use it as much as they want,” he says.

It takes a village: How coalition work is transforming lives in detroit

“Life happened.” That’s the short version of why Shawnte Cain left Wayne State University with only one class left to take before completing her degree. The longer version: she was working multiple jobs and taking care of her grandmother, who was ill. “I just didn’t end up going back,” Cain says now. Even with only one class remaining, a lot had to happen for Cain to complete her degree. When she inquired about going back, in 2017, she learned another class had been added to the requirements for her program. She also owed Wayne State money. “I didn’t even know what my outstanding balance was, I just knew that I had one,” she says. That debt would have to be settled before she could re-enroll. In 2018, the Lumina Foundation designated Detroit as a Talent Hub, in recognition of ongoing coalition work led by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Wayne State University, and Macomb Community College. Together, they had set a goal of re-engaging the region’s 690,000 adults who had completed some college but hadn’t gotten a degree. The Talent Hub designation recognizes communities that are doing innovative work to increase post-high school learning and training, with a focus on eliminating educational disparities for communities of color. Talent Hubs receive grants to support their work. “The Talent Hub [designation] brought us to this point,” says Dawn S. Medley, the associate vice president for enrollment management at Wayne State University. Medley says the city had applied to the program and been rejected, which made the coalition realize, “We had to bring our A-game.” Medley created one of the programs that enabled Cain to re-enroll and complete her degree: Wayne State’s Warrior Way Back program. She realized that outstanding educational debt often created compounding problems for students: “We just locked people out of higher education and locked them out of the opportunity to ever pay off that debt.” “I’m an English major,” Medley says, but she found the math simple: forgiving some former students’ outstanding debt would allow them to re-enroll and start paying tuition again. That insight became the Warrior Way Back program, in which students with less than $1,500 in outstanding debt can re-enroll and “learn” off their debt at a rate of $500 for each semester completed. Medley says the program has generated roughly $750,000 for the university. “The opportunity to do what is right for the student has become an opportunity to do what is right for the institution,” she says. When Cain did re-enroll at Wayne State in 2018, she took advantage of both Warrior Way Back and a tuition reimbursement program provided by her employer, the MGM Grand Detroit. Warrior Way Back representatives “were kind of like my concierge team to make sure I had the best experience going back to school,” she says. With all this support at her back, Cain actually went on to take another two classes after completing her degree in public relations, allowing her to update her social media skills—and keep her son in WSU’s preschool, which is free for students. 
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Wayne State announces mixed plan for fall return of classes

Wayne State University announced Wednesday that classes for fall will look very different amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter emailed to students, WSU President M. Roy Wilson detailed the plans saying 20 percent of courses will take place traditionally on campus and about 46 percent will be remote or online. About 2 percent will be a hybrid combination of online and in-person. As many as 32 percent of classes may be individually arranged. Wilson said the university is preparing to adjust if necessary. Campus housing has remained open during the pandemic and will be open for the fall semester. "Campus life and learning will look different than they did in February, and we have new guidelines and procedures in place … to accommodate physical distancing and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus," said Wilson. "Although things have changed, we remain firmly committed to our academic mission." Wilson said he will hold a town hall meeting 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday where students may pose questions and comments to the restart committee and him. He also highlighted that the WSU Board of Governors approved a 0% tuition increase "to allow our students to focus on their studies without added financial stress." "The university will also continue to develop new and innovative ways to make an education affordable for everyone," Wilson said.
News outlet logo for favicons/clickondetroit.com.png

Wayne State University to announce plans for fall semester amid pandemic

Wayne State University is set to announce Wednesday exact plans for the fall semester. The university is one of the last such schools to announce return plans amid the coronavirus pandemic. “I said from the very beginning that we weren’t going to make any definitive decisions until as late as possible, based on the science and based on the public health at the time,” said President M. Roy Wilson. We do know a couple of the university’s plans already. For one, masks will be nonnegotiable. “That’s going to be mandatory for us,” said Wilson. “If you’re in a closed environment, in any of our buildings, you’re going to have to a wear a mask, period.” Here’s what else we know: There will be in-person, online and remote classes. Students will have to take a mandatory campus health and safety online course. There will be daily screenings and barcodes giving access to campus. Students living on campus will receive a COVID-19 test. The full plan will be sent via email to students and community members.
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

Wayne State University responds to new ICE policy

Wayne State University is responding to new guidelines put in place by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for international students. The new policy, according to the university, would "impose restrictions that put undue burdens on students and institutions as we continue to deal with uncertainties caused by the pandemic." This would require international students to be enrolled in at least one in-person class (which can be a hybrid) to maintain their visa status during the fall semester. The decision was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WSU has about 1,500 international students. "We have joined higher education institutions and associations from across the country who are calling for changes to these unfair and impractical policies and are mobilizing to advocate on behalf of our international students," associate vice president of educational outreach and international programs Ahmad M. Ezzeddine,  said in a press release. "As these efforts continue, we are also reviewing the specifics of these guidelines to identify areas that will require changes in our fall plans to ensure compliance with the new rules. The planned hybrid model (a combination of on-campus and remote/online classes) we were already considering for the fall term should provide some flexibility in that regard."
News outlet logo for favicons/clickondetroit.com.png

Michigan universities trying to prevent deportation of international students

Wayne State University and Oakland University will join the likes of Harvard, MIT and the University of Michigan in a fight to keep international students from being deported. The White House said if colleges don’t reopen, international students will have to finish their studies online from their home countries. The universities are now creating in-person courses to keep talent in the U.S. Rather than letting their international students be deported if schools go to a 100 percent online learning model -- they are figuring out how to make courses with the minimum bar of accommodation to keep those students’ visas safe.
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Michigan university students flock to virtual summer classes

Students at Michigan’s public universities are filling their summers with online coursework at record rates — marking an unexpected windfall for several schools strapped for cash as the coronavirus pandemic transforms campus activities. Nine of the 10 institutions that shared data with the Free Press projected year-over-year growth in summer enrollment. Two-thirds of these schools anticipate a boost of at least 4% for one or more of their summer periods. At Wayne State University, only about a third of “spring/summer” credit hours — scheduled for May through August — are normally taken online, according to Registrar Kurt Kruschinska. This term, with nearly all instruction shifting to virtual in light of social-distancing guidelines, participation is up nearly 6%. Dawn Medley, the school’s associate vice president of enrollment management, said she thinks these “pretty amazing numbers” are especially driven by incoming freshmen. Wayne State recently launched its Kick Start College program, which is slated to give around 700 new students a chance to get ahead on their graduation requirements with a free class. The offering is particularly geared toward helping students prepare for the possibility of virtual learning come fall. “The courses are designed to launch them into and make sure that they are successful and comfortable in an online or virtually distant environment,” Medley said. “And that's why we selected English and the communication course — so that students would gain those foundational skills as we look to fall, and as we look to what our fall semester may look like.”