Student life in the news

News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

WSU to reduce number of people on campus, citing increased COVID numbers

Wayne State University said Saturday it is planning to reimpose restrictions to reduce the number of people on campus, citing increased coronavirus cases across the state. Starting Wednesday, the following measures will be taken unless case numbers fall within an "acceptable range," according to an email from President M. Roy Wilson to the WSU community. Face-to-face instruction on campus will be canceled with the only exception being clinical rotations in licensed health professions. All athletics practices and competitions will be suspended. Teams may resume practice after 10 days if 80% or more of team personnel have received their full COVID-19 vaccination. Laboratory research units must take steps to reduce current time-on-site activity for authorized personnel by 25% effective Wednesday. They must also prepare a contingency plan for an additional reduction of time-on-site as the situation evolves. The reduced level does not apply to fully vaccinated individuals currently involved with authorized on-site research activities. Guest access to student housing will be restricted. Students currently living in campus housing are permitted to continue doing so and must continue to follow campus health and safety guidelines. Towers Cafe will move to takeout only. Campus libraries will remain open but may be subject to increased restrictions. The Student Center Building is closed except for individuals attending the vaccine clinic. The W Food Pantry will remain open and will facilitate technology loans to students in need. With the exception of critical infrastructure employees, those who can work from home should do so. Metrics on campus, in the region and across Michigan will be reevaluated in 10 days, according to Wilson. If the situation has improved, Wayne State will reinstate the suspended activities. If the numbers still remain high, the period of limited on-campus activities will be extended accordingly, he said. Students and faculty are asked to monitor their communications and check the Wayne State coronavirus website for follow-up information or to contact a supervisor with specific questions.
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Wayne State joins parade of universities headed back to near normal in fall

Wayne State University has joined the parade of Michigan universities and colleges planning on a fall that will look almost like a normal fall on the Midtown Detroit campus. "With COVID-19 vaccines more readily available — and all Michigan residents age 16 and older eligible for vaccines beginning April 5 — I believe this fall will see a return to many of our beloved campus activities, events and traditions," school president M. Roy Wilson said in a message to the campus community on Tuesday. "All students, faculty and staff will be expected to follow on-campus health procedures and guidelines. We will continue to monitor and adapt these guidelines based on emerging scientific evidence and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials." Wayne State joins the bulk of Michigan universities and colleges who have made similar announcements, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Oakland University. The announcement said: Classes will largely return to face-to-face instruction. As allowed by the state, fans will be allowed back at sporting events. Campus events will start running again, but still may be modified based on requirements in place this fall. More Wayne State employees will be coming back to work on campus to provide services to students. That matches the announcements made by other universities as well, all of whom are optimistic their campuses will return to somewhat normal life.
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Wayne State announces plan for fall classes

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson announced Tuesday that the majority of classes will resume in-person in the fall, on-campus housing will open and athletics will resume with spectators in the stands in compliance with state guidelines. The university also will offer more virtual learning options as a result of lessons learned from the year-long COVID-19 pandemic. "We are excited to return to more of our classrooms," Wilson wrote in a letter to the campus community. "With COVID-19 vaccines more readily available — and all Michigan residents age 16 and older eligible for vaccines beginning April 5 — I believe this fall will see a return to many of our beloved campus activities, events and traditions." Wilson encouraged the Wayne State community to get a COVID-19 vaccine. "This will play a major role in allowing us to offer a more open campus this September," Wilson said. He said many parts of campus will resume with health and safety measures in place including campus dining, retail, student activities and celebrations. More employees will also be returning to work and the Campus Health Center will continue its Campus Daily Screener program to monitor campus cases of the virus.
News outlet logo for favicons/legalnews.com.png

Wayne State University’s Board of Governors recognizes National Gun Violence Survivors Week

The Wayne State University Board of Governors voted unanimously over the weekend to declare the first week of February as National Gun Violence Survivors Week. The action was taken following a request at the Jan. 29 meeting by Megan Dombrowski, president of the WSU Students Demand Action of Gun Sense in America group. The board will ratify its vote and consider if the designation will be recurring at its March 12 meeting. WSU first commemorated National Gun Violence Survivors Week last year, to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence. National Gun Violence Survivors Week is also recognized by the State of Michigan, following a proclamation by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Gun violence is an all-too-common occurrence here in Detroit and in our nation,” said Marilyn Kelly, chair of the WSU Board of Governors. “The board respects our students’ initiative in raising awareness of this issue and in honoring those lives lost to gun violence. We are proud to stand with our students.”
News outlet logo for favicons/dbusiness.com.png

Wayne State receives $1.2M to help veterans complete college

Wayne State University has received $1.2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to supplement student success services for military veterans over five years. The $1.2 million Veterans — Student Support Services grant enhances services provided by the Office of Military Veterans Academic Excellence. The grant will serve 120 currently enrolled student veterans each academic year and provide intensive advising, career preparation, financial aid information, and benefits assistance. “Given the unique needs of our undergraduate veteran population, the VET-SSS grant will provide WSU with the additional resources needed to fully actualize our vision of truly comprehensive veteran academic support services on campus,” says Matthew McLain, assistant director of OMVAE. The grant is a collaborative effort between OMVAE and of the Office of Federal TRIO Programs’ Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program, which helps veterans transition from the classroom to the workforce. “The VET-SSS program is designed to make a significant contribution to the student-veteran experience,” says Henry Robinson, senior director of the Office of Federal TRIO. “The Office of Military Veterans Academic Excellence and Veterans Upward Bound provide high-quality services and programs dedicated to meeting the academic support needs of this dynamic group of students.”
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.