In the news

News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Michigan Marvels: Wayne State's Old Main Building

It's now the centerpiece of Wayne State University's Detroit campus, but the Old Main building started out life as a high school. Construction on Detroit's Central High School began in 1894 at the corner of Cass and Warren, and held its first classes in the fall of 1896. It was originally T-shaped, with more than 100 rooms and about 1,600 students. Decorative brickwork, elevators, 20-foot-wide corridors and a clock tower were some of the features of the four-story building. Today, Old Main houses the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which includes the university's planetarium and the anthropology museum. While it is no longer the only building on campus, its age, history and prominent location at the intersection of Cass and Warren make it an emblem of the university.
News outlet logo for favicons/michiganadvance.com.png

Rick Haglund: Absence of viable regional transportation continues to hurt SE Michigan

Metro Detroit is regarded as having one of the worst public transit systems of any major metro area in the country. The region’s 4.2 million residents are mainly served by two unconnected and inadequate bus systems: DDOT in Detroit and SMART in the suburbs. There’s also the People Mover, an elevated train that rings downtown Detroit, and the QLine, a 3.3 mile-long streetcar that runs along Woodward Avenue from New Center to downtown Detroit. “It’s embarrassing and it really financially hurts us,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University in Detroit. Last year, voters across the country approved 47 out of 52 public transit proposals on local ballots, according to the American Public Transit Association. The biggest was in fast-growing Austin, Texas, where voters in November passed a $7.1 billion plan that will pay for new rail lines, a bus rapid transit (BRT) network, a downtown transit tunnel, e-bikes and more. An additional $300 million was approved to prevent transit-related real estate development from displacing low-income Austin residents from their homes. “They’re making investments in their future,” Staebler said about Austin’s ambitious transit plans. “If you don’t invest, you don’t succeed. We’re a case study of that.”
News outlet logo for favicons/secondwavemedia.com.png

What’s the future of the Metro Detroit commute?

Numerous Metro Detroit employers have announced or are currently considering plans to preserve at least some remote work post-COVID-19, and that shift is likely to have significant and varied effects on the area. More than just increasing the likelihood that you'll continue taking Zoom meetings from your kitchen table, the change will affect everything from traffic to real estate to housing. However, less commuting may not mean fewer overall trips or fewer vehicles on the road. Carolyn Loh, associate professor of urban studies and planning at Wayne State University, says people who have flexible or remote work models may choose to make more trips in the middle of the day. "It might not reduce trips overall, but it might spread them out over a distance of time so they're not concentrated at rush hour," she says. Loh predicts that reduced commuting will also prompt some workers to choose to live farther from work. If they only have to commute three days a week, for example, many will be willing to accept a longer commute in exchange for cheaper or more spacious housing. Loh notes that this is all likely to make public transit planning more complicated. housing along bus lines and train lines, if we ever build train lines. I think it's just really, really hard to adequately serve that spread-out of a population with buses."  
News outlet logo for favicons/cbslocal.com.png

Learning a thing or two about jazz with lecturer Vincent Chandler

Vincent Chandler is native Detroiter, who was a protégé in Detroit’s jazz scene during one of jazz music’s peaks in the city. He studied under some of Detroit’s most influential jazz musicians and is now passing on what he has learned as a lecturer in jazz studies, trombone, at Wayne State University. Chandler joined Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about the importance of passing on the history of jazz to the next generation and how jazz music has influenced the Black community since the genre’s conception. While speaking about jazz music’s history, Chandler points out the opportunities that the popularity of jazz gave to Black musicians, as the music helped start a foundation for eroding racial prejudice and breaking down barriers. Although the fight for racial equality continues today, jazz fueled the Civil Rights Movement in a way that no one thought music could. “What the Black community has done for music when it comes to America… you’ll see that throughout history it has given us opportunities that transcend even slavery.”
News outlet logo for favicons/mlive.com.png

University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State boosted state’s economy by $19.3 billion in 2019

Three of Michigan’s top research universities combined to boost the state economy by $19.3 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, according to an independent analysis. This is more than 20 times the funding University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University receive from the state, according to a report by Anderson Economic Group released Monday, June 7. The three universities make up Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC). While the report doesn’t account for losses during the pandemic, the billions in net economic impact demonstrate their continued importance to Michigan’s economy, said Patrick Anderson, CEO and president of AEG. “Over the past dozen years, Michigan went through the Great Recession, saw an extended period of job and income growth, then entered the pandemic year of 2020,” he said in a statement. “This report is based on data from just before the pandemic started, so it does not capture pandemic-related losses. But it does demonstrate conclusively the importance of the URC to jobs and income in this state, through good times and bad.” The economic impact includes providing qualified graduates for the workforce, innovating through research and local community contributions, according to the AEG release. The $19.3 billion is a 50% increase from $12.8 billion in 2007, when AEG first conducted its analysis for the three universities. The URC increased the state’s tax revenue by $640 million, and Michigan households earned about $10.8 billion more through university operations and capital spending, the report stated. There were 141,000 students enrolled in the URC in the 2019 fiscal year, which constitutes a growth of 16,600 over the last decade. With 70% of those students staying in Michigan, the state economy has benefited from the talent retention, the report stated. The three universities almost completely made up for all federal funding spent on their research, attracting 94 cents for every federal dollar spent in 2019, according to the report. URC schools conduct $2.7 billion in research and development annually, the release stated.
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

3 ways schools can improve STEM learning for Black students

James Holly Jr., assistant professor of urban STEM education, wrote an article for The Conversation on improving STEM learning for Black students. “Black people make up just 9% of the STEM workforce in the U.S. As a scholar who studies how STEM educators can more effectively reach Black students, I want to help all people develop an understanding of how anti-Black racism is a significant barrier for Black students learning STEM. Many scholars have argued that our current ways of teaching STEM are bad for everyone because only the experiences and contributions of white people are discussed, but the negative effects are greater for Black people. Teachers frequently question the intellectual ability of Black students and prevent them from using their cultural worldviews, spirituality and language in the STEM learning setting. Still, Black people continue to boost STEM knowledge across the world. It is time to generate new teaching practices in STEM that affirm Black students in a way that connects with their lives.”
News outlet logo for favicons/scienmag.com.png

Wayne State physics professor awarded DOE Early Career Research Program grant

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the awardees for its Early Career Research Program. The program will support 83 scientists, who will receive a total of $100 million in funding that will support critical research to cement America as a global leader in science and innovation. Chun Shen, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Wayne State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded a five-year, $750,000 award for his project, “Quantitative Characterization of Emerging Quark-Gluon Plasma Properties with Dynamical Fluctuations and Small Systems.” The project will focus on elucidating Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) properties — a novel state of matter that existed at the infant phase of our universe — by understanding the dynamical evolution of stochastic fluctuations in relativistic heavy-ion collisions from large to small systems. “My research will provide a quantitative characterization of the QGP properties, how it ripples and flows, and its phase structure by interweaving theoretical many-body nuclear physics, high-performance computing and advanced machine learning techniques,” said Shen. “My work aims to develop a new open-source theoretical framework to decode hot nuclear matter properties from the measured multi-particle correlations.”
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

Next generation COVID treatments: What experts look to change, improve

Pharmaceutical companies are already hard at work to make the next generation of vaccines for COVID-19 easier to administer, less invasive in some cases, and more effective against a wider range of illnesses. Pfizer and Moderna are already conducting trials to evaluate booster vaccines to protect against new variants, the results of which are expected later this year. “They have to be as good or better than the current vaccines that we have," said Dr. Paul Kilgore, an associate professor and the director of research in the Department of Pharmacy Practice within the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University. Kilgore, who is also a senior investigator with Henry Ford Health System's Global Health Initiative, told Action News hitting that gold standard takes time. “The first approach is to develop an mRNA vaccine very similar in design to the original vaccine that Pfizer and Moderna have, but what they will have is a new sequence in the mRNA that corresponds to the new spike protein in the variant," he said. 
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

Supreme Court affirms tribal police authority over non-Indians

Kirsten Carlson, associate professor of law and adjunct associate professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation on police authority over non-Indians. “The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the sovereign power of American Indian tribes on June 1, 2021, ruling that tribal police officers have the power to temporarily detain and search non-Indians on public rights-of-way through American Indian lands. In most communities in the United States, the local government has the authority to investigate and prosecute both misdemeanor and felony crimes. And local police can detain and search individuals suspected of state and federal crimes, at least until handing them off to the appropriate authorities. Tribal governments – the local governments in Indian country – have the power to prosecute tribal citizens on tribal lands. When it comes to non-Indians, though, the situation is different. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that tribal governments could not prosecute non-Indians for any crimes in Indian country. Tribal governments have to rely on state and federal governments to prosecute non-Indians – which doesn’t happen often. Effectively, non-Indians have been able to commit crimes in Indian country with impunity.
News outlet logo for favicons/dbusiness.com.png

Wayne State to Anchor Detroit’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in Corktown

Wayne State University will be working with the city of Detroit to provide economic development initiatives to the greater Corktown neighborhood as the city deploys the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant it received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deployment. “Wayne State University is pleased to serve as an anchor institution for the city’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the transformation of Clement Kern Gardens and the Greater Corktown Neighborhood,” says M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU. “Wayne State has been a critical partner in the planning process and is excited to continue working with the city during implementation of the grant by providing evaluation services and committing $3.7 million of leverage to support neighborhood residents.”
News outlet logo for favicons/salon.com.png

There’s a neurological reason you say "um" when you think of a word

Eishi Asano's latest work sheds light on those seemingly pesky words that litter our speech: uhs and ums. As a neurologist at Wayne State University, Asano works on mapping human abilities to brain regions. One such important ability is the ability to use language. Neuroscientists have discovered that, like many little cogs in a wheel, a wide network of brain regions all work together to produce language. Certainly, the ability to communicate with others affects all aspects of life. Thus, protecting these brain regions during brain surgery is of high priority. Asano has an opportunity few have: to study the brain in action. During a pre-surgical procedure called an electrocorticography (ECoG), an incision is made in a research participant's skull, and electrodes are placed directly on the exposed surface of their brain. He then presents them with photographs of complex scenes and asks them to describe it. When they ran this study, Asano and his team were originally interested in deciphering which regions of the brain were responsible for describing what was in the picture, what they were doing, where and when. But, as his team rummaged through transcripts, what transpired between these words – the uhs – caught their attention.
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

America's first Memorial Day celebration; Charleston, SC race course or Waterloo, NY?

American history is riddled with interesting facts. The earliest Memorial Day celebration is one of them. Waterloo, New York is officially credited with starting our nation's most solemn holiday on May 5, 1866. But in 1966, one hundred years later, Yale University and Pulitzer Prize-winner historian David W. Blight stumbled across a then little known narrative inside boxes of Union veteran archives at Harvard University's Houghton Library. On May 1, 1865, less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered, a crowd of about 10,000, mostly freed slaves, staged a parade around a Charleston, SC race track to honor Union soldier prisoners who had fallen in the brutal Civil War. In a recent interview with Marc Kruman, the Distinguished Service Professor of History at Wayne State University, also educated at Yale University, he recalled the story that reportedly happened in the city where the Civil War began. Special services at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, marked the official beginning of Decoration Day, the forerunner to Memorial Day. And, in 1971, Memorial Day became a Federal holiday which is observed every year on the 4th Monday of May.
News outlet logo for favicons/nbcnews.com.png

Public colleges in 49 states send students' debts to collection agencies, imperiling financial futures

To the surprise of many students and parents, public colleges in every state in the country except Louisiana use for-profit debt collection agencies to retrieve overdue tuition, library fees and even parking fines. Many universities add late fees to students’ bills, and when debt collectors add another 30 or 40 percent, students can end up owing thousands of dollars more than they did originally. Even as several universities have expressed concerns behind the scenes about losing revenue, some say using collection agencies isn’t necessarily more effective than other ways to collect the money. For example, in the fall of 2018, Wayne State University started a program called Warrior Way Back. Former students who owe up to $1,500 are allowed to reenroll, and for each semester they complete, one-third of their debt is forgiven. University administrators say the program has actually helped financially: Wayne State has gained $1.5 million in tuition from these students, after taking into account the debt it forgave. “Think about when you’re 18 years old and what you don’t know about managing debt,” said Dawn Medley, the associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State, who created the program. “We had a lot of students who owed us these past balances — they may have had veterans’ benefits or remaining federal aid money, but they’re caught. They can’t enroll until they pay the debt, and they can’t get aid until they enroll.”
News outlet logo for favicons/wdet.org.png

Wayne State University launches “holistic defense” pilot for criminal defendants

Wayne State University will implement a holistic defense partnership program in fall 2021. The program will pair social work and law students to assist clients in criminal defense offices in Detroit. The students will tackle systemic issues in the criminal justice system under the supervision of licensed attorneys and social workers. Administrators at the university believe that the holistic approach will spur criminal justice reforms and inspire change in their community. Dan Ellman is an externship professor at the Wayne State University Law School. “When people become enmeshed in the criminal justice system, they face a lot of consequences,” Ellman says. For some individuals, he explains, these consequences can include the deprivation of employment, parental rights and housing. Sheryl Kubiak is the dean of the Wayne State University School of Social Work. Kubiak says interdisciplinary partnerships are often fraught with misunderstandings about objectives. “In these offices, we hope to produce lawyers and social workers who are used to working together,” Kubiak says. Though this initiative may prove to be costly, Kubiak says it is a necessary investment to improve the livelihood of citizens. She explains, ”When you look at the unintended consequences of an individual who goes further and further into the criminal legal system, you have to think about what happened to their children, what about their lost revenue, what about the issues of family disruption, and what are those costs to our society?” 
News outlet logo for favicons/crainsdetroit.com.png

Detroit awarded $30 million grant for affordable housing around Corktown

Detroit has been awarded a $30 million federal grant to build hundreds of new affordable housing units west of downtown. The Choice Neighborhoods funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was announced Wednesday. It would be used to help fund a development of what is currently envisioned as 841 units of mixed-income housing primarily for rent, but also for sale, across sites in the city's Corktown and North Corktown neighborhoods. The project would cost more than $200 million and be built in phases over the next six years. The HUD document also says that Detroit Public Schools Community District, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Detroit Economic Solutions Corp., the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Ford Motor Co., the Detroit Economic Development Corp., Illinois Financial Fund, Michigan Department of Transportation, VIP Mentoring, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, Wayne State University, the Wayne State Center for Urban Studies and the Wayne State College of Education are all involved in the project in various capacities. In addition to the housing component, things like street and park improvements and a community empowerment center, which would house critical support services, are expected.
News outlet logo for favicons/yahoo.com.png

Call it the Fauci effect: Interest spikes in health crisis communication

A number of U.S. colleges and universities say they've seen a surge of students who say the COVID-19 crisis inspired them to pursue the public health field, and crisis communication in particular. The pandemic exposed the need for and challenges of well-executed public health messaging — particularly in a time rife with misinformation campaigns and polarizing politics. Government officials have been both lauded and criticized at different turns for their public health messaging over the last year, most recently on confusion sparked around mask guidance. "Historically or traditionally, we never anticipated that pandemics would be such political issues," said Matthew Seeger, a health and risk communication scholar at Wayne State University. "Hopefully we’ll get past this moment and we will return to a time where people will work cooperatively and in a very partnership manner to be able to address these concerns," he said.
News outlet logo for favicons/cbslocal.com.png

Senate Republicans pass bill to block minors from COVID vaccine requirements

The Michigan Senate is getting in the middle of the COVID vaccine debate and working to put laws on the books to keep kids out of it. Tuesday, state senators voted to block minors from COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Wayne State University Infectious Disease Professor Dr. Teena Chopra says the data proves the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for both adults and children. The researcher and medical doctor also states it’s the only way to reach herd immunity. “We are looking forward and hoping that throughout the summer the vaccination rates keep going up; and in the fall when we have school starting and also the fact that in fall, we usually see a surge in viral infections. We want at least 70 to 80 percent of our population fully vaccinated,” said Chopra. Currently students are required to follow state vaccine laws for diseases like polio and the measles to attend school. But Dr. Chopra says the same mandate should not be ordered for COVID vaccines since health care providers only have an emergency use authorization. “We need a full approval on this vaccination and also because we want to give the freedom to parents to find out more about the vaccine, to ask questions and then make an informed decision,” said Chopra.
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Editorial: Per-pupil funding puts elite colleges at risk

Don't hate the University of Michigan because so many students from around the world covet a spot on its campus. Nor Wayne State University because it sits in the midst of a city that is red hot with young people and has unique academic offerings. It's not a bad thing for the state to have institutions with such international appeal. And while serving Michigan students should be job one for a state school, moving to a funding formula that only considers residency rates would be bad for Michigan and for the universities. The House passed a budget bill that ties funding to state universities to the percentage of in-state students they enroll. If enacted, it would make Michigan the only state that uses a per-pupil formula to fund higher education. Typically, the Legislature has increased university appropriations across the board, while occasionally applying other benchmarks such as graduation rates or the percentage of students receiving need-based financial assistance. The Senate's budget bill sticks with the 2% universal hike recommended by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Under the House formula, most of Michigan's 15 public universities would see an increase in state support, with at least eight in line for their appropriations to grow by 10%. But the House isn't making the total higher education budget pie larger. It's remaining flat. So any increases the other schools receive will come out of the money that UM and WSU expected. UM would get a 12.2% cut, or nearly $40 million of its $283.5 million state subsidy. Wayne State would lose 4%, or $8.2 million of the $195 million it gets from the state. Nearly half of the 46,000 students on UM's Ann Arbor campus are from out of state, and at WSU non-residents make up just under 10% of enrollment. 
News outlet logo for favicons/legalnews.com.png

Wayne State to pilot holistic defense partnership for law and social work students

Wayne State University Law School and School of Social Work are launching a holistic defense partnership for J.D. and M.S.W. students beginning in fall 2021, with the goal of addressing clients’ legal and social support needs in tandem. Holistic defense – also referred to as community orientated or comprehensive defense – is a term used to describe an innovative approach that employs an interdisciplinary team to consider both the individual and community needs when working with a person charged with a criminal offense. Unintended or collateral consequences of arrest and conviction can include loss of housing, removal of children, and even deportation. The holistic defense approach brings lawyers and social workers together to achieve positive legal and social outcomes for criminal defendants. “Holistic defense is an underutilized opportunity to effect real change in the lives of people navigating the criminal justice system,” said Wayne Law Dean and Professor Richard A. Bierschbach. “Lawyers and social workers have the same goal – to achieve the best possible outcome for their client. By training lawyers and social workers together, we open the door for future professional collaboration that can make all the difference.” In fall 2020, Social Work students embarked on the initial holistic defense pilot year, completing an immersive field placement experience and Social Work courses focused on the intersection of the criminal legal system and the behavioral health needs of their clients. Five students who recently completed the initial requirements in May 2021 worked with lawyers and fellow allied health professional teams to assess client needs, provide resources and information, and serve as an advocate for their client as they navigate complicated social systems. “The holistic defense model encompasses much of what we do each day as social workers – working in tandem with our clients, colleagues and community partners to provide comprehensive care and empower change in our community. What is unique about this approach is the integration into the criminal legal system, which has resulted in shorter client sentences, a reduction in pre-trial detention and ultimately saved taxpayer dollars,” said Social Work Dean and Professor Sheryl Kubiak.
News outlet logo for favicons/wdet.org.png

Rep. Tlaib on family in Palestine: “They just want to live”

Howard Lupovitch is an associate professor of history at Wayne State University and director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies. He says Israelis were trying to form a coalition government before the current conflict. ”We need to differentiate between the current Israeli government’s policies and what most Israelis actually think and feel.” He says he believes the state of Israel is necessary, but says it also created this conflict. ”Looking at both sides is very important … Zionism and the state of Israel solved a European problem and created an Asian or a Middle East problem … it was created to be not only a Jewish state but also a democratic state … both of those things are necessary.” Lupovitch says Hamas does not represent all Palestinians, and the same goes for the current Israeli leadership and citizens of Israel. ”If we could remove the Israeli right-wing extremists from this equation, the conflict could resolve itself very easily.” Saeed Khan is a lecturer of near east and Asian studies at Wayne State University. He says Palestinians are disenfranchised in multiple ways under Israeli occupation. ”Part of the way to understand what’s happening currently … is that Israel is moving farther and farther to the right.” He says with extremism from Hamas and the state of Israel, it’s becoming more difficult to resolve the conflict. ”We are finding that the space for some kind of return to negotiation is looking precarious because the [political] center is in jeopardy of no longer holding,” Khan says.