Student life in the news

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Wayne State celebrates completion of $151 million student apartment complex

The Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments, a $151 million apartment complex at Wayne State University, has been completed. The 406,800 square-foot 840-bed student housing and retail project is Wayne State's largest student housing structure cost-wise, Tim Michael, associate vice president of student auxiliary services and chief housing officer, said in a statement emailed to Crain's. The first phase of the project — an 11-story center tower with 400 beds — was completed in August 2018. The last phase added two wings of six and eight stories on either side of the central tower. Those towers added apartments for 440 residents as well as a 9,000-square-foot Campus Health Center on the ground floor of the north tower and more retail space, the school's website says. Students moved into the two newest buildings at the start of the fall semester. Wayne State and local officials held a ribbon-cutting celebration Wednesday to mark the end of construction. "We are beyond thrilled that our partnership with Corvias has enabled us to provide quality facilities and resources for our students, while also allowing us to advance financially," Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said in the release. "Wayne State has always aimed to create a positive economic impact on the greater Detroit community. With Corvias' investment, we continue to increase job growth and support local and small businesses."
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Big Sean’s foundation helps tackle student homelessness

Rapper Big Sean’s philanthropic foundation continues to support a program created to deal with student homelessness at Detroit’s Wayne State University. The school recently announced a gift of $10,000 from Sean Anderson Foundation to the HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) Program. The foundation created a $25,000 endowment for the program in 2016 and followed with financial gifts in 2017 and last year. The HIGH Program, created in 2013, provides short-term help to students in need to provide some stability and help them complete their degree. Big Sean, a Detroit native, formed the foundation in 2012 to help improve the quality of life for young people and their families.
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New podcast from Wayne State features stories of Iraqi students studying in Detroit

Twenty one Iraqi college students came to Wayne State for three weeks over the summer to learn about American culture and democracy. They were here as part of the Iraq Young Leaders Exchange Program, an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and funded by the U.S. Department of State. While in Detroit, the students worked on leadership and communication skills. As part of the curriculum they put together a podcast. Colleen Ezzeddine is the communication faculty member who worked with the students on the storytelling project. “The podcast will give you an insight into Iraq’s young leaders of today and what’s on their minds,” says Ezzeddine. Each episode features one of the students telling a personal story from their life. Ezzeddine says the topics touch on death, medical challenges, what to do after high school and more. “The students mentioned that they wanted Americans to know that, on one hand they’re just like anybody else. And on the other hand they’re people that have gotten the short-end of the stick in certain situations but that they’re very dedicated, as one of them put it, to ‘make Iraq great again.’”
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Wayne State’s DetroitEd411 service gives instant access to higher education resources

Got a question about post-secondary education that you need answered right away? With Wayne State University’s newest information service, DetroitEd411, you can access information and resources about vocational training, financial aid, GED opportunities, child care and the like via Facebook Messenger. A collaboration between Wayne State and the Detroit Regional Chamber, DetroitEd411 is meant to support adult learners and promote college attainment and career readiness in Detroit. Search for the service on Messenger and be introduced to Spirit, an innovative blend of artificial intelligence and supervised machine learning, ready to answer all your questions, day or night. “One of the best things about using this adaptive technology is that we’re able to meet people wherever they are and answer questions in real time, without judgment,” says Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s vice president of enrollment management. “The amount of information Spirit is able to provide is limitless, and the database of answers and resources will only continue to grow, adapt and expand as more people take advantage of DetroitEd411.”
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Deiontae Nicholas back for last hurrah, seeks to lift Wayne State from doldrums

Sometimes the hardest part of football is figuring out when to let it go. After injuries limited him to playing in only seven games in the past two seasons, that time seemed to be drawing nigh for Wayne State’s Deiontae Nicholas. Nicholas was a redshirt senior and after a productive five years, he was poised to hang up his cleats for the final time, after an injury in the third game ended his year. Not quite. “After (the injury) happened, for the next two or three months, I was convinced that it was my last year and I was done,” Nicholas said. “Thoughts kept creeping back and things like getting accepted into grad school and teammates talking about our season not going well and next year being better. “Being around the team the rest of the season motivated me to give it another shot.” Nicholas got a medical waiver for a sixth year of eligibility and gets another shot to help Wayne State improve of its dismal 2-9 finish last season. In some ways, the sour taste from a poor showing helped motivate Nicholas to give it another shot.
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Wayne State’s urban innovation district near New Center takes shape

Ever since a working group convened to discuss the matter in 2014, Wayne State University has been working to create an “Innovation District” near New Center. Those plans finally seem to be coming together. Last year, the university purchased the NextEnergy Center, now called the Industry Innovation Center (I2C), on Burroughs Street across from TechTown Detroit. Those three partners have teamed up to create Detroit Urban Solutions, which is taking a multidisciplinary approach to address issues facing cities. One block away, Wayne State opened the Integrative Biosciences Center (IBio) in 2015, which similarly takes a multidisciplinary approach to health research. TechTown was founded by Wayne State in 2000, and though it has since become an independent nonprofit, still works in close partnership with the university’s Office of Economic Development. Wayne State has also begun to release details of its master plan, and Emily Thompson, place-based initiatives manager at WSU’s Office of Economic Development, says this redesign aligns with the aims of that plan. “One goal of the master plan was to create better north-south connectivity across campus,” she says. “With more activity, it’s more likely to draw the university up that way. So whatever we do with I2C on will improve walkability as a whole.”
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New arena approved for WSU basketball and Pistons’ G League affiliate

In May of this year, Wayne State’s board of governors approved plans for the construction of an arena that will host Wayne State men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as contests for the Pistons’ G League affiliate. Rob Fournier, Wayne State director of athletics, expects the arena — which he said will have a seating capacity of about 3,000 — to be completed in July of 2021 on the campus of Wayne State, near the intersection of Warren and Trumbull avenues in Detroit. “Anytime your athletic program can be associated directly with a professional team, there’s no downside to it,” Fournier said. “Can you imagine showing a recruit around the facility and say, ‘Oh, by the way, we have a partnership with the Detroit Pistons of the NBA.’ How does that hurt your recruiting? Those are the kind of intangibles that separate you from other institutions.” The projected cost for the arena is $25 million. “The basic formula is we’re putting the money upfront, and then they’re paying us back money over a number of years to cover that cost,” Fournier said of the lease agreement with the Pistons.
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St. Clair College, Wayne State University expand cross-border partnership

Wayne State University and St. Clair College signed five articulation agreements Wednesday at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, offering students the opportunity to develop their education between both institutions in two countries. Students in the accounting, business administration, computer technology, interior design, and marketing programs will now have the option to apply credits from their two- or three-year diploma toward a university degree in their field at Wayne State and receive both a diploma and degree in four years. Wayne State University president M. Roy Wilson said the partnership will save students time and money while building a résumé “that will make them attractive to employers on both sides of the border.” He echoed the value for business students to gain international experience through education. “I think right now, because of the way the world is and the way education is, you pretty much have to have some sort of international exposure,” Wilson said. “That’s the way business is.” With the enhanced partnership, St. Clair College students will receive Wayne State’s Great Lakes Tuition Award, a tuition break for Ontario students. Through the award, Ontario students will pay 10 per cent more than students in Michigan — around 50 per cent less than other international students. Wayne State is planning to hold an open house in November at St. Clair College to answer any questions from interested students.
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The new battlefront in food insecurity fight

Food insecurity, defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, is currently a situation that 12.3 percent of U.S. households experience. It's defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. However, David Strauss, Wayne State University dean of students, says, “It's not just food – it's all basic needs. With the increasing costs of tuition for college, it's food, shelter, clothing.” Strauss said on the Wayne State campus he has seen an increase in student food insecurity in the last decade. “We weren't talking about this 10 years ago. We weren't talking about food insecurity, homelessness, basic needs challenges. Everyone was always having food drives for Gleaners (Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan,) but that was for other people. Now we're having department food drives for our students.” Strauss and other administrators at area schools of higher education emphasize the reason food insecurity and hunger is such a major issue – and pressing talking point – is because it can be a direct impediment to student success. “If we look at student success, and we focus on student success and graduation, our number one goal is to get them across the finish line – and if we cannot get them nourishment, we can't help them succeed and cross the finish line,” Strauss explained. “If students aren't eating, they're going to class, working part or full-time jobs, they're operating on fumes,” noted Raneisha Williams Fox, coordinator of student wellness at Wayne State University and the W Pantry, Wayne State's food pantry, which during the 2018-2019 school year gave out more than 8,000 pounds of food. It opened in April 2017. “In a week we'll see 25 to 28 students, and between 80 and 100 students monthly. Since we've opened we've serviced 1,500 students, and we've given out more than 20,000 pounds of food.”
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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.