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Wayne State looks to 'create a new culture' to bounce back from two-win season

Wayne State football coach Paul Winters hadn’t experienced a season like 2018’s 2-9 campaign since his first season in 2004 when the rookie head coach got his feet wet at Wayne State with a 1-9 mark. Winters isn’t shy about the team falling short of expectations, describing his 2018 team Monday as struggling quite a bit at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's media day. In order to get back to respectability in the GLIAC, Winters said his team will have to embrace the grindstone, highlighting work ethic as the key to engineering a turnaround. “The GLIAC is the SEC of Division II,” Winters said. “Every week it’s a great challenge. Our guys are all upset with the results of last season. We’ve got guys that are anxious to show that that’s (last season’s record) not us.” Last season’s low win total brought Winters’s career record at Wayne State under .500, but if anyone knows how to steer Wayne State football to the national stage, it’s probably Winters. His 2011 squad was the Division II national runner-up and Wayne State had winning seasons from 2008 to 2012. Plus, Winters has put players into the NFL, including Joique Bell. Anthony Pittman, a linebacker last season, is vying for a spot with the Lions.
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Understanding the ‘why’ of higher water levels in the Great Lakes

Climate scientists may not be shouting from the housetops when it comes to the effect of global warming on water levels in the Great Lakes, but they’re also not saying that everything will be fine. Reaction to a recent study produced by Canada’s federal environmental agency asserts that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and that the country’s northern regions are warming three times as fast. The impact on Michigan has much to do with water levels, which are impacted by many factors, including precipitation, the rate of evaporation and water temperatures. Shirley Papuga, associate professor in the geology and environmental science program at Wayne State, referred to the work done by one of her undergraduate students, Alex Eklund, who has plotted out data on 20-year average temperatures. “For 2019, for instance, compared to the 20-year average minimum temperatures, those were lower in the winter,” said Papuga. “But the minimum temperatures are actually higher now in the spring and summer, which suggests a seasonality is in play.”
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How organized labor can reverse decades of decline

Marick Masters, professor of business and adjunct professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation about the future of organized labor in an ever-changing market. “Collective bargaining has long been one of organized labor’s most attractive selling points. In its simplest form, collective bargaining involves an organized body of employees negotiating wages and other conditions of employment. In other words, unions are saying: Join us, and we’ll bargain with your boss for better pay. Unfortunately, traditional collective bargaining is no longer an effective strategy for labor union growth. That’s because employers and many states have made it incredibly hard for workers to form a union, which is necessary for workers to bargain collectively. My own research suggests unions should pursue alternative ways to organize, such as by focusing on more forceful worker advocacy and offering benefits like health care. Doing so would help unions swell in size, putting them in a stronger position to secure and defend the collective bargaining rights that helped build America’s middle class.”
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Detroit Democratic debate: Local experts name winners, losers

The first of two scheduled debates in Detroit among the wide field of Democratic presidential candidates proved long and feisty. The Free Press asked expert debate coaches for their spot analysis and hot takes on who among the initial group of 10 contenders triumphed or floundered Tuesday night on the Fox Theatre stage. Who won the performance? "If winner is defined as those who are going to move on to the September debates and have solidified their top 5 status, I would say (Massachusetts Senator) Elizabeth Warren and (South Bend mayor) Pete Buttigieg," said Kelly Young, director of forensics (speech and debate) at Wayne State University. Buttigieg "did a good job of framing (himself) as above the fray in a lot of the debates...he didn't have a lot of moments when he went at somebody on the stage, and he's talking about how we need an inter-generational change or these problems are just going to constantly replicate.” Who had the worst performance? Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland. "I think he certainly lost. I think every time he went after one of them, particularly Elizabeth Warren, he lost badly. But maybe he is a candidate who benefits from any attention — good or bad,” Kelly said. Best moment or moments? “The back-and-forths between Warren versus Delaney. Also, the thoughtful answers from author Marianne Williamson. "She (Williamson) is the one candidate who I thought had the best discussion of Michigan when she talked about Flint, and then used that as a moment to expand on much deeper problems nationally."
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Midwives and nurse-midwives may underestimate dangers of prenatal alcohol use

Alcohol use during pregnancy can have harmful consequences on the fetus including restricted growth, facial anomalies, and neurobehavioral problems. No amount of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe. Yet a recent survey of midwives and nurses who provide prenatal care showed that 44% think one drink per occasion is acceptable while pregnant, and 38% think it is safe to drink alcohol during at least one trimester of pregnancy. "Many prenatal care providers remain inadequately informed of the risks of drinking during pregnancy," said John Hannigan, Ph.D., one of the study's authors and a professor of at Wayne State University's Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. 
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Universities across Michigan attract Chaldean students with an inclination for business

Looking at Alaa Kishmish’s current career trajectory, one would never guess that the business major on the cusp of graduating was once pursuing a career in anything other than business. With a refined acumen for all things business, Kishmish, 24, is looking at graduating in December 2019 from the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University with a bachelor’s in business administration. The switch from pharmacy to business came after he took on a part time bank teller position at a local bank in Sterling Heights. In his post as a teller Kishmish’s passion for business presented itself and in turn, flourished. “My journey at Wayne State has been extremely rewarding. I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many different people that I would not have otherwise met,” he explained. “Some of my closest friends, colleagues, and people I network with I met through the school of business. I would not have been able to do any of this if I had not been at Wayne State; it has provided me with several opportunities.”
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Ethnic and minority media to play a key role in 2020 Census complete count

Hayg Oshagan, director of New Michigan Media (NMM) and professor of communications at Wayne State University, recently sat down with The Arab American News Publisher Osama Siblani for a discussion about the 2020 Census and the role of ethnic and minority media outlets in ensuring a complete and accurate count. NMM is a network of  more than 100 ethnic and minority media across Michigan. Organized eight years ago by Oshagan, it includes the “Big Five weekly” of The Arab American News, the Jewish News, the Michigan Chronicle, the Latino Press and the Korean Weekly. `Appointed by Gov. Whitmer to sit on state level committees to ensure an accurate and complete count, Oshagan also sits on other committees in Wayne County and Detroit for the 2020 Census. “New Michigan Media is a collaboration of the five largest ethnic and minority media in the region and it is the only such collaboration in the country,” Oshagan said. “It is not just a symbolic, it is a real collaboration where we get together to help the ethnic and minority communities in our region.” The reason why NMM is keen on ensuring a fair count for the 2020 Census is because, “traditionally, the people who are under-counted are minorities,” Oshagan said. “The reason is because they are usually the ones who do not respond. The Michigan Non-profit Association (MNA) has been trying to raise funds to spread awareness on the importance of the 2020 Census. It has reached out to New Michigan Media in order to reach the minority population across Michigan through the minority and ethnic press that serve them. In cooperation with MNA, NMM will hold three conferences across the state to engage ethnic and minority media and coordinate the efforts for a complete and accurate count 2020 Census. The first conference will be held at Wayne State University on Wednesday, July 24  from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Governor Whitmer will be the keynote speaker, along with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans among other local officials.
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Wayne State researchers look to curb nicotine, tobacco use

A new research division at Wayne State University will focus on ways to improve health by reducing the use of nicotine and tobacco. The unit at the School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences launched this month and it's called the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Division. It offers Wayne State researchers a hub to enhance research communication, collaboration and educational opportunities. Dr. David Ledgerwood, an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is director of the division. The division will encourage multidisciplinary collaboration among scientists who are studying nicotine and tobacco use as well as in the broader academic community. It also will seek to heighten the profile of nicotine and tobacco research by showcasing studies and scientific programs.
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Benton Harbor crisis a tipping point for Gretchen Whitmer, school takeovers

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s attempt to close the struggling high school in majority black Benton Harbor provoked a furious backlash from the city’s 10,000 residents. Her next move has implications for districts across the state. As Whitmer and the board continue negotiating, observers say the outcome could reshape how Michigan approaches struggling school districts far beyond Benton Harbor that are struggling with rising debts, low test scores, and declining enrollment. Even if Whitmer doesn’t manage to change the state’s emergency management law, Mike Addonizio, a professor of education at Wayne State University, said her next move in Benton Harbor has major implications for the future of state interventions. “It is kind of an inflection point,” he said. “What is the state going to do with school districts like this?” Still, solving Benton Harbor’s issues won’t solve the structural problems that have produced similar situations in districts across the state. “It could be Kalamazoo. Could be Battle Creek. Could be Muskegon,” said Tom Pedroni, an activist and education professor at Wayne State University. Pedroni says the struggles of urban districts have been worsened by state policies that allow students to leave for other districts, by a relentless focus on test scores, and by a funding system that doesn’t adequately account for the challenges of educating poor students. “The way that we label schools as failing creates an almost mathematical formula that yields the decimation of school districts of color across the state,” he said. “How do we, as a state, take seriously the mechanisms that cause things like this.”
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Wayne State University president Road Warrior bike tour stops in Ludington

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson will be visiting Ludington during his third annual Road Warrior bicycle tour that includes stops at four different cities in five days. Seven riders will be participating in the entire tour, including Wilson. Others will do segments, like one day, Wilson said. “This year we wanted to focus on and visit with alumni, donors and friends of the university,” said Wilson. Rob MacGregor, senior director of philanthropy at Wayne State Law School, said his daughter is riding a 100-mile segment. (Full access to article requires subscription)
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Wayne State president to ride through Midland, host reception

If there are any Wayne State University alumni or supporters in the area, July 24 will be your chance to reconnect and celebrate during a reception at Midland Center for the Arts, as part of the third annual Road Warrior bike tour. The tour begins Monday, July 22, and will end when the group of about seven cyclists makes their way back to the WSU campus during the afternoon of Friday, July 26. By the end of the tour, the cyclists will have biked 450 miles and visited four communities other than Detroit – Traverse City, Ludington, Midland and Rochester. Among the group will be WSU President M. Roy Wilson who is making the trip for the third year. Wilson, an avid cyclist, said the point of the trip is to get out into the community, gain new insights and network with the university’s supporters. “This idea came to me after the 2016 election because it’s apparent we’re becoming more polarized and I thought that there were segments of the community that we just weren’t reaching,” he said. “And since we’re a state institution we serve the state, we should be serving all communities, including rural communities and other communities that we don’t typically reach out to on a routine basis.” He said biking the state allows him to gain new perspectives and a better understanding of the people and their concerns. Regarding WSU, he said the main concerns he hears is surprisingly not tuition, but the value of attending a university. “With all the talk about tuition and the emphasis on trying to keep tuition down, I thought that would be a more important topic, and it’s not to say it’s unimportant, but really people were concerned about value,” he said. “And they don’t mind paying the tuition if they think they’re going to get good value for their money and they think it’s going to make a difference in their lives or in the lives of their sons and daughters.” And while the previous two years of the bike tour have focused on community outreach, this year’s theme is centered around celebrations with donors, alumni and friends of the university, Wilson said. “We want to make more of a focus on our alumni and donors and hear what they’re thinking and what their priorities are, and what their ambitions are for how the university can best serve them,” he said. Having a significant population of alumni and supporters in the area, Midland made the list of this year’s cities to visit, Wilson said. He added that he hopes once it’s over that the people who participated feel a greater connection to WSU. “I want them to know that we care about them and I hope that by making an effort to reach out and see them that they realize that,” he said. “… To be able to share time and gain some perspective from people who we don’t typically connect with, I think is going to be really important.”
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Detroit, U-M, MSU, and Wayne State Form Economic Analysis Partnership

The University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University will partner to give economic data -- which will be used to evaluate local economic conditions and plan for an improvement in economic opportunities -- to Detroit through the City of Detroit University Economic Partnership. The project aims to accomplish three tasks: provide an economic forecast for Detroit each year; build an econometric forecasting model for Detroit's economy and the city's major tax revenues; and to develop local economic indicators, indices and reports. University of Michigan's Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics will lead the partnership, while Michigan State University will give revenue modeling and forecasting through its Center for Local Government Finance and Policy. Wayne State University's contribution will focus on providing data on housing and property tax modeling. Michigan State and Wayne State have previous experience creating economic analyses using local governments' internal data. Available data will also come from government agencies and initiatives including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Internal Revenue Service and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. "We'll combine the city's internal data with publicly available data to construct Detroit-specific estimates of building activity, measures of activity in residential and commercial real estate, total commerce and tourism activity," Allen Goodman, director of the master's program in economics at Wayne State, said in a press release.
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Road Warrior Bike Tour begins July 22

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson is about to set out on another bike tour of Michigan, and this year he's casting a wider net. Wilson will take the third annual Road Warrior bike tour farther north this summer, biking to four cities in five days. Beginning Monday, July 22 cyclists will bike 450 miles by the time they're done Friday, July 26. By the end of the tour, the cyclists will have biked 450 miles and visited four communities. This year's Road Warrior bike tour will differ from the previous two in terms of theme and focus. Whereas the theme of the first two tours was community outreach and telling the Wayne State story, this year's tour will focus more on celebrations with donors, alumni and friends of the university. Wilson dropped by the Fox2 News studios Saturday morning to talk about his trip and mission. The schedule for the Road Warrior tour stops: July 22 at Chateau Chantal Winery in Traverse City; July 23 at Ludington Bay Brewing Co. in Ludington, 6-8 p.m.; July 24 at the Midland Center for the Arts and Dow Garden in Midland, 6-8 p.m.; July 25 at Rochester Mills Beer Co. in Rochester, 6-8 p.m.; July 26 at Tony V's Tavern in Detroit, 2 p.m.
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Could dropouts be the solution to the education crisis?

The vice president for applied research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), Julie Ajinkya explained many of the underlying causes students dropout or face difficulty coming back to school have to do with the lack of affordable education. “The reasons students drop out are almost always financially related,” Ajinkya says. “Even the personal reasons people cite are financially related, like not being able to find affordable childcare, or transportation to actually be able to take your classes.” In addition to overseeing Degrees When Due, a free program designed to help institutions build their own capacity to help bring dropouts back, Ajinkya and IHEP have also analyzed another program for dropouts, Warrior Way Back, an initiative out of Wayne State University, that uses incremental debt forgiveness as incentive for dropouts. 
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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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Amid an urgent public health crisis, a bid to find better ways to curb opioid abuse

Against a backdrop of steadily-soaring opioid-related death rates in the U.S., state agencies and private funders are pairing up to tackle the complex problem of opioid use disorder. A new program, recently announced by the Michigan Opoid Partnership and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, aims to serve as a model of best practices for other states, especially those with large rural populations, in addressing opioid addiction. The $5 million series of grants will go towards the removal of barriers to effective treatment for opioid use disorder at all levels, from training and prevention to coordination, implementation and data collection. Another $1.5 million of the funds will go to select county jails and Wayne State University's Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, which will coodinate MAT programs and therapeutic behavioral treatments for incarcerated individuals over a 16-month period.
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Wayne State University president to visit Rochester as part of bike tour

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson will bike to Rochester as part of the third annual Road Warrior bike tour later this month. The tour begins Monday, July 22 and will end when Wilson and his fellow cyclists arrive back on campus on Friday, July 26. As part of the tour, Wilson will bike to four cities in five days for a total of 450 miles. The year’s tour focuses on celebrations with donors, alumni and friends of the university.“ We will travel to communities that are home to many donors and alumni,” said Wilson in a news release. “It will be good to hear their thoughts about the university they love, and to interact with them in fun summertime activities.”
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How to make the bus sexy

Can the bus be the “in” thing as far as getting around town? Tastes are changing around the country and here in Detroit. Many younger adults don’t feel the same attachment to the car as previous generations. Today our conversation on the podcast is with Sarosh Irani. He was recently featured in the national publication Streetsblog for his research at Wayne State University to improve Detroit’s bus system. For instance, just by moving the shelters to where people actually need them — not building new ones — 8x more people could have access to bus shelters. And shelters matter as weather in Detroit? As you know, it can be a real thing to deal with.