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The barriers to mobility: Why higher ed’s promise remains unfulfilled

As a college degree became more critical to economic well-being, you might have expected to see a doubling down on efforts to ensure that Americans of all backgrounds would be able to earn one. That’s not what happened. Instead, there’s been a shift at the federal, state, and even institutional level away from programs and policies that helped make college more affordable, especially for the neediest students. The average undergraduate from the bottom quintile of income must find a way to finance an amount equivalent to 157 percent of his or her family income to pay for college, while it costs a wealthy family just 14 percent of its income to send a student to college. Keith E. Whitfield, provost at Wayne State University, says the high price of college can deter low-income students from applying because they think it’s out of reach. “They see the sticker price, and they get discouraged,” he says. Along the way, even small financial setbacks can cause students to drop out. To combat that, Wayne State has begun offering small completion grants — $750 or $1,000 — to keep students on track.
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Beaumont Health exec returns to WDET as general manager

The estate of prominent Judge Damon J. Keith, who was the grandson of slaves and a figure in the civil rights movement, made a $100,000 bequest to a scholarship fund in his name, West Virginia State University announced Wednesday. Keith, who was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps, died in April in Detroit at 96. He spent more than 50 years on the federal bench. Before his death, he still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. He was a 1943 graduate of what was then West Virginia State College and went on to graduate from Howard University Law School in 1949 and Wayne State University Law School in 1956.
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Estate of Prominent Federal Judge Leaves $100,000 to School

The estate of prominent Judge Damon J. Keith, who was the grandson of slaves and a figure in the civil rights movement, made a $100,000 bequest to a scholarship fund in his name, West Virginia State University announced Wednesday. Keith, who was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps, died in April in Detroit at 96. He spent more than 50 years on the federal bench. Before his death, he still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. He was a 1943 graduate of what was then West Virginia State College and went on to graduate from Howard University Law School in 1949 and Wayne State University Law School in 1956.
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M. Roy Wilson: Michigan needs more college graduates

Investing in higher education meets the needs of employers for growth and positions students for successful and rewarding lives. But Wayne State University is Michigan's only public, urban research university not to have its state funding level restored to 2011 levels and is still down $1.8 million, said WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D. Adjusted for inflation, WSU is down $1 billion a year in funding based on fiscal year 2002, he said. "Our students" and the university are negatively affected, said Wilson. "The reality is, if we are going to meet the needs of employers, we need more four-year college graduates." Wilson said he is optimistic that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer understands the importance of long-term support of higher education. She announced a statewide goal of 60 percent of Michiganders earning a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030. Wilson said students have stepped up in various ways to help inner-city residents. For example, medical students volunteer at Street Medicine Detroit, a free health clinic for the city's homeless. This year Wayne State expects to complete several construction projects, including the STEM Innovation Learning Center, which will bring all of WSU's science, technology, engineering and math programs into one building. "The state will benefit as these students graduate and meet future talent demands that will keep Michigan competitive and growing," Wilson said. "The project also offers opportunities to expose K-12 students from the Detroit area to hands-on learning situations that can ignite their interest in science and technology and inspire them to pursue STEM-related careers." Since Wilson took office in 2013, Wayne State has nearly doubled its graduation rate to 47 percent from 26 percent. The achievement was recognized in 2018 by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' prestigious Degree Completion Award. "I am extremely proud of this accomplishment ... (but) we are not resting on our laurels. We are working hard to further reduce educational disparities and improve graduation rates. I am confident that we will reach a 50 percent graduation rate before 2021."
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The power of a subpoena

Kirsten Carlson, associate professor of law, talked about the power and use of subpoenas during the impeachment process. The House moves forward on impeachment, but some subpoenas are still in the air. Energy Secretary Rick Perry declined to provide documents, as did Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Vice President Pence, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In fact, President Trump has often stiffed the U.S. Congress when it sought documents in testimony. Has this Congress made effective use of its subpoena powers in your judgment? “I think they're doing the best they can. You know, the subpoena power is an important part of Congress's investigative power. It's also sort of a last resort. Congressional committees usually try to get the information willingly from the executive branch. And historically, presidents have been willing to negotiate. And so they haven't had to use the subpoena power as heavily as this Congress has had to. We have a president that's on record saying, he's not going to negotiate with Congress, so Congress doesn't have another option. They've got to subpoena the documents and information that they want, and they've got to work it through the courts to get them enforced.”
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New research aims to improve oral delivery of insulin

According to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, the disease is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States, with an estimated 30.3 million people currently with diabetes. Oral insulin is potentially prescribed to patients diagnosed with diabetes to improve their quality of life. However, current oral protein formulations of insulin face multiple obstacles during their gastrointestinal transport and absorption, resulting in lower therapeutic benefits. This includes difficulty penetrating the intestinal mucus layer and the epithelial cell layer to reach the blood. While scientists have made improvements in mucus-penetrating and absorption-enhancing technologies, current oral doses of protein drugs to treat diabetes remains low in absorption and bioavailability, and can increase the risk of leaky gut, autoimmune disease, bacterial infections and inflammatory bowel diseases. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a safe and efficient oral delivery technology that will enhance protein transport, and to increase oral insulin with high bioavailability. With the help of a $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, a team of researchers in Wayne State's College of Engineering will explore ways to address these issues. "The goal of our project is to develop a highly promising oral insulin that will be a life-changing treatment for diabetes patients," said Zhiqiang Cao, Ph.D., associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and graduate program director in the College of Engineering at Wayne State University. "We also hope to develop knowledge of how our delivery platform can address multiple barriers for oral protein delivery above and beyond insulin. This will have the potential to impact and enhance a broad range of oral protein drugs." Cao and his collaborators will aim to develop a mechanism for a novel insulin delivery system that effectively address the above issues.
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Wayne State University launches new Office of Women’s Health

Wayne State University launched its new Office of Women’s Health, a comprehensive approach to improve the health of women overall, through a deep dive into medical research affecting more than half the population of Michigan and the nation, a segment often unintentionally overlooked in research. The Office of Women’s Health marked its official debut with an inaugural symposium Dec. 3 at the university’s McGregor Conference Center that brought together more than 130 researchers from across the university, community and grassroots partnering organizations, and a keynote address from Janine Clayton, M.D. Clayton, the National Institutes of Health’s associate director for Research on Women’s Health and director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, delivered the address, “Putting Women at Center Stage in Biomedical Research,” the very purpose of the new WSU office. “We have the resources and a wonderful research culture at the university,” WSU President M. Roy Wilson told the attendees. “That, coupled with our concentration on health equity, means we can come together with a focused effort on women’s health.
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Wayne State student athlete save's strangers life with bone marrow transplant

It's game day for the Wayne State University Football team, and number 42 kicker Luke Bevilacqua. While some try to be a hero on the field, Luke is a hero off the field. How far would you go to save a stranger's life? Luke didn't think twice about his sacrifice for a stranger. It is very rare when someone becomes a match for donating bone marrow. Which is why when a Wayne State student athlete got the call he was one after joining the Be The Match registry, he couldn't pass it up. "For me, I just did it because everyone else was doing it, and then like I said I didn't think much of it. My stuff got sent in and I didn't hear anything for a few months," he says. Luke was a busy student-athlete at WSU when he suddenly got a call he'll never forget about a woman he's never met. "They want you to know that you are someone who can save someone's life and there's sometimes not another option." Luke was told a 61-year-old woman in Texas needed his bone marrow to survive. Luke says the sacrifice was well worth it and that he'd do it again if he ever got the call again. Luke has been honored by the Allstate American Football Coaches Associaton Good Works Team. 
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Courts have avoided refereeing between Congress and the president, but Trump may force them to wade in

Kirsten Carlson, associate professor of law and adjunct associate professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation about President Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle. Carlson calls these actions “the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.”

The hydration rule that's worked for 400 million years

Despite popular belief, there's no widely agreed upon benchmark for daily water consumption. That "drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day" thing likely derives from a 1945 recommendation by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board. The recommendation stated people should ingest 1 milliliter of water for every calorie they consume. The recommendation was apparently not based on any known research, and the sentence immediately following it, which was that "most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods," was soon forgotten. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began using 2,000 calories a day as an "average" reference point, which translates to 2,000 milliliters of water a day (or about 67 fluid ounces) per the 1945 recommendation. "The origins of that weren't based on any specific series (of studies) or one specific scientific study," says Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of Exercise and Sports Science at Wayne State University whose expertise is in exercise-associated hyponatremia. "And that number actually included other beverages, not just water, and it also included the moisture content in food. But from those origins, it caught on." Hew-Butler refers to our level of thirst as a natural "app" hooked up to our brain designed to protect us from drinking too much or too little water. "Everyone's looking for a perfect guideline that works for every individual in every situation. But thirst is governed in your brain. And it's not just the amount of water that's important to your body—your body doesn't really care about the absolute amount of water. The body cares about the balance between the water and sodium," Hew-Butler says. "There are osmoreceptors in our brain that actually, in realtime, every second, sample the combination between water and salt going through the circulation of our brain. So if the water content goes down and it increases the concentration of sodium, then that triggers thirst, so you can actually replace the water back to the amount that you need."
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Chamber Honors Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson with “Excellence In Education Leadership Award”

The Detroit Regional Chamber founded the “Excellence in Education Leadership Award” to recognize educators who demonstrate outstanding public service and leadership on behalf of the region. The award was inspired by the legacy of the outgoing University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor, Daniel Little, who was the first recipient in 2018. This year, the Chamber’s Greg Handel, vice president of Education and Talent Initiatives will award Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson as the second inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Education Leadership Award. Wilson has demonstrated exceptional commitment to better serving his students – Detroit’s future talent base – and fulfilling the important role his institution has in catalyzing regional economic development. Under his leadership, Wayne State has garnered national attention for their new approaches that has lifted the university up as one of the most innovative universities in the country.
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Is winter miserable for wildlife?

Bridget B. Baker, clinical veterinarian and deputy director of the Warrior Aquatic, Translational, and Environmental Research (WATER) Lab at Wayne State, wrote a piece earlier this year for The Conversation regarding how wildlife adapt to winter weather. Wildlife can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, just like people and pets. In the northern United States, the unfurred tails of opossums are a common casualty of cold exposure. Every so often an unusual cold snap in Florida results in iguanas falling from trees and manatees dying from cold stress. Avoiding the cold is important for preserving life or limb (or, in the opossum’s case, tail) and the opportunity to reproduce. These biological imperatives mean that wildlife must be able to feel cold, in order to try to avoid the damaging effects of its extremes. Animal species have their own equivalent to what human beings experience as that unpleasant biting mixed with pins-and-needles sensation that urges us to warm up soon or suffer the consequences.
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It’s go big or go home in the International Year of the Periodic Table

Volunteers at Wayne State University had been braving the elements for hours on an October morning. The wind chapped cheeks and numbed fingers as volunteers wrangled giant blue tarps with the names, symbols, and atomic numbers of chemical elements painted on them. When gusts kicked up, the workers would joke that they were building the world’s largest kite. They were actually attempting to build the world’s largest periodic table. And they had competition. Four days earlier, on the opposite side of Michigan, at Grand Valley State University, another group of crafty science enthusiasts had assembled what it believed was the world’s largest periodic table. Michigan became the proud birthplace of two gigantic periodic tables within a week. The timing wasn’t an accident, either. It was National Chemistry Week during the International Year of the Periodic Table. Although the groups hatched their schemes independently of each other, they shared the same drive to do something huge to get lots of people—and not just chemists—talking about chemistry and the iconic table. By the end of the day, drones and news helicopters had circled the periodic table at Wayne State, which covered an area larger than three American football fields. CBS News shared a photo of the table on Twitter with its 7 million followers, as did ABC’s World News Tonight with its 1.4 million followers.
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Larry Inman trial to test limits of campaign cash solicitations

Michigan state Rep. Larry Inman is set to stand trial this week on federal corruption charges for doing what many incumbent lawmakers do: asking a special-interest group to donate for re-election. But federal prosecutors contend the Traverse City-area Republican broke the law with his June 2018 solicitations to union officials by offering to sell his vote on a controversial measure to oppose the state’s prevailing wage repeal law for construction workers. For jurors in the Grand Rapids trial on bribery and extortion charges, the case could come down to a question that’s become familiar in politics: Was there a quid pro quo? “That’s always the key in any bribery case,” said Peter Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School and a former federal prosecutor. Prosecutors don’t need to prove Inman followed through on his proposed scheme, only that he attempted to orchestrate one, Henning told Bridge Magazine. Inman ultimately voted for the prevailing wage initiative, bucking opponents from whom he had sought contributions. He later returned an earlier check from the carpenter’s union he had not cashed. “Saying ‘you’ve got to come up with more money’ is sending a message that you better pay up. So that can be enough for an attempted Hobbs Act violation,” Henning said. Inman has maintained his innocence and vowed to fight the charges, but he risks a longer sentence by refusing to consider a plea deal, said Henning. Inman has already likely missed the opportunity for a generous offer, Henning said.
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Sharp decline seen in kids choking to death on household objects

Efforts to reduce choking deaths among young children seem to have paid off: A new report finds the number of kids dying from choking on household objects has plummeted 75 percent since 1968. Regulations, more education about choking hazards and guidelines from organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have likely all played a role in the downward trend, said study author Dr. John Cramer. Cramer said that regulations may have played the most significant role in reducing child deaths from choking on small objects. "Some of the regulations from the last 50 years have forced people to do the right thing. When you buy toys or cribs now, products are designed so that they can't be choked on. If you're a parent and you go buy a crib, you don't have to think about buying a crib with small parts; it's already regulated," Cramer said. He's an assistant professor of otolaryngology -- head and neck surgery at Wayne State University. One example cited by the study authors is a 1979 law regarding products designed for young children. Products made for young children can no longer contain parts small enough to fit into a test cylinder that is approximately the size of the airway of a child younger than 3. Children under 3 are most at risk from choking, and they've also had the most significant drops in choking death rates over time, the study authors noted. "Choking hazard warnings for toys used in children under age 3 have probably had the biggest benefit over time. This is a developmental stage where kids are oral and exploratory, often putting things in their mouths," Cramer said.
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'Unlikely' documentary, about obstacles to completing college, gets free Detroit screening

Starting college doesn't always lead to a degree. An estimated 40 percent of students who started at a four-year university in 2011 didn't graduate in six years, according to federal statistics. The documentary "Unlikely" shows the obstacles students face that can lead to dropping out of college — often leaving people with debilitating debt but without a degree that can lead to higher earning potential and economic mobility. The film follows five students who manage school, jobs to pay for school, parenting, family tragedies and enormous debt on their mission to earn a degree — ultimately showing that dropping out doesn't have to spell the end of one's chances of pursuing higher education. The film's Detroit premiere takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Cinema Detroit. The free screening is presented by the Kresge Education Program at the Kresge Foundation, WDET and Freep Film Festival. After the film, Director Jaye Fenderson will be part of a discussion that will also feature Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management at Wayne State University, and Johnathan Williams, a graduate of Wayne State University's Warrior Way Back Program. Stephen Henderson, host of WDET's "Detroit Today," will moderate the conversation. 
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This emergency manager says better management wasn’t enough

Emergency managers appointed to heal the Detroit district’s finances did little more than apply Band-Aids to a major wound, according to a recent report. Robert Bobb, one of those emergency managers, says Band-Aids were all he had. Like others appointed to run Detroit Public Schools amid a financial crisis, Bobb took out loans to cover the district’s short-term costs, an approach that led to ballooning debt and interest payments. “We couldn’t make payroll. The district could not even pay its utility bills,” he recalled. “Either we close the doors, or we go to short-term borrowing that will have a negative impact in the long term.” The report, which was commissioned by the school board, found “startling mismanagement” by the state officials who largely ran the district between 1999 and 2015. “The whole idea of emergency management is that the school district’s problems are due to poor management and the failure or local democratic governance,” said Mike Addonizio, a professor of education at Wayne State University. “By 2016 it became apparent to policymakers in Lansing that there was no way to manage DPS out of its budget deficit.” Addonizio agrees that a major cash infusion was the only way to solve the problem. He believes it didn’t come sooner because of a political consensus in the Republican-controlled statehouse that the structural issues would be solved by school choice measures. “They were convinced that more choice could resolve problems of educational deficiencies and management problems. I guess maybe they thought that failing schools would close and that children would then enroll in schools that were succeeding. But when students leave schools and districts, the schools don’t close. The children remaining in the district just suffer.”
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Michigan lawmaker kept rare cancer private while running for office

Andrea Schroeder's voice wavers ever so slightly. Somehow, she remains calm, considering the news she'd just gotten. The mother of three was in the midst of an aggressive political campaign for a hotly contested seat for state representative in the 43rd District, an area of Oakland County that includes her hometown of Independence Township. As she drove home from her hairdresser's in Birmingham on the afternoon of Aug. 16, 2018, she got dreadful news. "I have cancer," she said in a voice recording, almost like an audio diary, made just 20 minutes after her doctor called to tell her the results of a test done earlier that week. "I have a very rare form of stomach cancer, and it's gonna kill me." Since symptoms of stomach cancer often do not appear until the disease is advanced, only about 1 in 5 stomach cancers in the United States is found at an early stage, before it has spread to other areas of the body, according to the American Cancer Society. Her prospects were grim. Few people survive stomach cancer because it's rarely caught before it's in its most advanced, and less-treatable stages. The five-year survival rate is 31%, according to the American Cancer Society. "In the United States, there isn't a general screening protocol for it," said Dr. Philip A. Philip, who leads gastrointestinal and neuroendocrine oncology at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. "The majority of the patients we diagnose in this country really do not fulfill the criteria for being very early. And for that reason, the outcome of the disease, is, in general less than what we see, for example, in a country that has screening and early diagnosis." Dr. Steve Kim, chief of surgical oncology at Karmanos and associate professor of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, performed successful surgery on Schroeder removing her entire stomach and attaching her esophagus directly to her small intestine. "The long and the short of it is, it works just like normal," Schroeder said. "I can eat anything, drink whatever I want. I try to be careful about sugars. Really high sugar-content things are hard to digest.
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Report: Detroit faces the most challenges to keeping kids in school

How bad is Detroit’s student chronic absenteeism problem? Wayne State University researchers have identified eight conditions — such as poverty, unemployment, and even cold temperatures — that are strongly correlated to chronic absence, and the city leads all other large metropolitan areas in having the worst outcomes for almost all of those conditions. The findings come with a key takeaway the researchers hope will prompt action: Schools alone can’t solve the problem of getting students to school every day, said Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, an assistant professor in the college of education at Wayne State University. And, the findings come during a critical time as the Detroit school district invests heavily in a number of efforts designed to get students in school. Citywide, across district and charter schools, about half of the students are chronically absent — meaning they’re missing 18 or more days during the school year. Lenhoff said what’s needed is a more coordinated effort that brings together policymakers, school district officials, charter school officials, community organizations, and community members. Without it, the work being done by schools is “unlikely to make the huge difference we need to make,” Lenhoff said.
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Wayne Law holds rank as Best Value Law School

For the sixth consecutive year, Wayne State University Law School has been recognized as a Best Value Law School by The National Jurist and its sister publication, preLaw magazine. Of the 58 law schools on the list for 2019, Wayne Law was the only Michigan law school included. The ranking is designed to recognize the law schools where graduates have excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a ton of debt, according to the publication. Criteria for selection includes ultimate bar pass rating and two-year pass rate, employment rate, tuition, cost of living and average student debt accumulation. preLaw magazine also recognized Wayne Law among the top law schools in the category of Business Law.