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Live or work in Midtown Detroit? You have a new Secretary of State office

By Ben Orner Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood gained a new Secretary of State office on Thursday. Located at 580 E. Warren Avenue, Detroiters will have access to typical offerings like license and registration services, as well as a self-service station that can print tabs, registrations and temporary licenses and IDS 24/7. The new office is located near hospitals and Wayne State University, and will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except Wednesdays, when the hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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Dave Roberts is one of the most powerful executives at ESPN – and he wants more diversity behind the scenes

By Jabari Young Dave Roberts, one of the most powerful executives at ESPN, is pushing for more diversity at the network. Roberts is the network’s head of studio programming who oversees NBA programming, including the NBA Finals. Roberts grew up in Detroit, and graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in mass communications before starting his career at a local Detroit TV station in 1978.

Long COVID still a risk, even for vaccinated people

By Jeanna D. Smiley  Long COVID can cause persistent COVID-19 symptoms including loss of smell, fatigue, mood changes, and brain fog in addition to disorders of the heart, kidneys, and lungs. These symptoms emerge or continue at least one month after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. It is estimated that 7.7 to 23 million Americans may have developed long COVID, a condition also called post-acute COVID or chronic COVID. While researchers have observed that vaccines have been effective in fending off some of the worst long COVID symptoms, they also found that mild breakthrough COVID-19 infections can trigger lingering, severe symptoms of long COVID even in vaccinated people. Dr. Joseph A. Roche, an associate professor in health sciences at Wayne State University agreed that vaccines do not replace other risk reduction methods for COVID-19. He pointed to a paper he authored, which urges “continued nonpharmacological risk-reduction measures…to complement vaccination efforts.” In his research, Dr. Roche cited mathematical models which predicted that such measures should stay in place for a year, even after the population reaches ideal vaccination levels.  
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UAW flexes muscle with strike pay hike ahead of Detroit Three talks next year

The United Auto Workers on Tuesday increased its weekly strike allowance for members to $400 per week from $275, a signal of strength ahead of the union next year approaching the bargaining table with the Detroit Three automakers, according to experts. The Detroit-based union has the funds for it, they say. In March, its strike balance sat at nearly $826 million, according to the union. For context, in 2019, the UAW paid nearly $81 million in benefits to striking members, which included stipends to the 46,000 General Motors Co. employees during a 40-day national strike, the longest again GM in nearly 50 years. "It could have a difficult round of negotiations, and the UAW wants to be as well-positioned as possible," said Marick Masters, a professor at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business. "I don’t think they’re signaling they're more likely to go out on strike than they would otherwise, but they're reflecting their prudence as an organization and have prepared themselves as a membership for any eventuality that may come to pass."

Mass shootings affect our collective mental health – here’s how to cope

By Alyssa Hui  In the U.S., more than 200 mass shootings – events during which at least four people are shot and injured or killed – have taken place so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The most recent incidents in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed during a school day; and Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were killed in a grocery store, have left not only the affected communities but the U.S. as a whole reeling, still trying to process the tragedies. Some people may resort to anger or frustration; others may feel fearful and helpless; while still others may experience feelings of sadness, sorrow, and worry, Arash Javanbakht, a psychiatrist and director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic at Wayne State University said. Dr. Javanbakht also encouraged limiting media exposure. “If you [turn on] the TV, any of the cable news channels for hours and hours are talking about this – the pain and the number of people who got killed,” said Javanbakht. “Some even show pictures and videos of the chaos, and if you get hours of exposure to this, you will feel much worse.”  
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UAW pushes to represent battery plant workers in Ohio

The United Auto Workers said it’s moving forward with attempts to unionize a joint-venture battery cell plant after pushback from Ultium Cells LLC, a company General Motors Co. and partner LG Energy Solution own. UAW-GM leadership attempted to establish a card-check agreement with Ultium Cells that would give the union access to the facility to collect cards as a way to organize the plant, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes told local leaders in a letter. Ultium Cells employees are not covered by the national GM/UAW contract. Rejecting the union’s ability to collect cards from employees to confirm union representation complicates the effort to unionize the plant. Another path would be a vote by employees to decide if they want union representation. The vote would be monitored by the National Labor Relations Board. “The bottom line is that if you go with the secret ballot election route, it’s more difficult for the union to win recognition,” said Marick Masters, a professor at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business.

A new sperm age measurement could predict pregnancy success

According to a recent study conducted by scientists at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, a novel technique for measuring the age of male sperm has the potential to predict pregnancy success and time. The research, which was published on May 13th, 2022 in the journal Human Reproduction, discovered that sperm epigenetic aging clocks may operate as a potential biomarker to estimate couples’ time to conception. The results also highlight the importance of the male partner in successful reproduction. “Chronological age is a significant determinant of reproductive capacity and success among couples attempting pregnancy, but chronological age does not encapsulate the cumulative genetic and external – environmental conditions – factors, and thus it serves as a proxy measure of the ‘true’ biological age of cells,” said J. Richard Pilsner, Ph.D., lead author of the study. Dr. Pilsner is the Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Endowed Chair of Molecular Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Director of Molecular Genetics and Infertility at WSU’s C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development.
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Jan. 6 hearing gives primetime exposure to violent footage and dramatic evidence – the question is, to what end?

Mark Satta, assistant professor of philosophy at Wayne State University said, “The House committee faces the challenge of trying to provide the American public with truthful information about the Jan. 6 attack at a time of deep partisan division and historically low levels of public trust in government.  Confronted with that reality, the committee seems to have decided upon a smart response: Show, don’t tell. Rather than simply telling the American public the facts, the panel’s first public hearing focused on showing what former president Donald Trump’s allies and supporters themselves have said and done. They paired that with the testimony of seemingly nonpartisan figures like Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards and documentary filmmaker Nick Quested.”

How to fix the U.S. baby formula shortage

The ongoing shortage of powdered baby formula in U.S. stores has been caused in part by pandemic-related snags in the global supply chain and high inflation. But it’s also been exacerbated by product recalls from Abbott Nutrition, the largest supplier to the U.S. market. Amid the nationwide shortage, desperate parents have been crossing states and scouring social media for supplies, or making DIY formulas, which can be dangerous to babies’ health. “It is shocking that the U.S. baby formula market is so vulnerable, that the closure of a single factory throws the entire country into a food crisis,” said Kevin Ketels, who researches and teaches supply chain management with a focus on health care at Wayne State University. President Biden has invoked a wartime measure to give formula makers first priority from ingredient suppliers and has ordered military-contracted planes to fly in product from overseas. While it’s difficult to predict how the federal government and industry will prevent a formula shortage from happening again, it is quite possible there will be a shake-up of the players involved. “It seems that more companies will be allowed to sell because of this emergency,” Ketels said, adding that foreign suppliers who already meet the FDA’s nutritional standards (and who have significant production capacity) make ideal candidates.  
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WLAM Foundation names recipients of 2022 Outstanding Law Student scholarships

The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation has announced the recipients of this year’s WLAM Foundation Awards for Outstanding Law Students. Besides their academic performance at Michigan law schools, these individuals endeavor to advance women’s roles in essential areas of law, including STEM, social justice, equality, child advocacy, and domestic violence. The recipients include Wayne Law students Dominica Convertino, Fatima Dakroub and Samantha Mackereth.  
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Mass shootings leave behind collective despair, anguish and trauma at many societal levels

By Arash Javanbakht  Arash Javanbakht, associate professor of psychiatry and a trauma and anxiety researcher and clinician, wrote an article for The Conversation about the societal effects of violence following a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school. “In addition to those who experience direct loss, such events also take a toll on others, including those who witnessed the shooting, first responders, people who are nearby and those who hear about it – yet again – through the media,” Javanbakht writes. “While the immediate survivors are most affected, the rest of society suffers, too.” Javanbakht outlines the impacts on immediate survivors, those close by or arriving later to the scene, and those who are not directly exposed to a disaster but were exposed to news coverage. He also offers that some good can come from such tragedies. “We can channel the collective agony and frustration to encourage meaningful changes, such as making gun laws safer, opening constructive discussions, informing the public about the risks and calling on lawmakers to take real action,” he writes. “In times of hardship, humans often can raise the sense of community, support one another and fight for their rights, including the right to be safe at schools, concerts, restaurants and movie theaters.”  

The ‘best gift’: Alabama school celebrates final graduation before court-ordered closure

By Rebecca Griesbach and Trish Powell Crain  A federal judge recently ordered R.A. Hubbard high school in Alabama to close its doors – a decision that sparked debate and frustration among many community members. Hubbard will close this summer. Younger students and teachers will be moved out of the majority-Black high school to other schools in Lawrence County. It’s a dilemma that hangs over many other rural, small schools in Alabama and around the country. In addition to losing half of its student population in a short time, the school landed on the state’s ‘failing schools’ list in 2019 after earning an ‘F’ on the state report card. The school has been stuck on the list throughout the pandemic, regardless of the progress they made moving their grade from an ‘F’ to a ‘B’ the following year. The superintendent said there are academic and extracurricular opportunities available at the county’s other schools that are hard to offer at a small high school. “What we learned [from Brown vs. Board], was that the burden of school closures was felt, both socially and emotionally, mostly by Black students,” said Erica Edwards, assistant professor of education at Wayne State University. She said educators in closing schools can face certain stigmas, and that school leaders should make sure that they are investing in culturally responsive practices to ensure a smoother transition. “When these schools close the they begin going to white schools, emotionally you have to bear the brunt of the difference: Being othered, being ostracized, having to prove yourself in ways that predominantly white communities don’t always understand or acknowledge or recognize,” Edwards said.
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(Opinion) Are we taking gen ed for granted?

By Jennifer Hart Jennifer Hart, associate professor of history at Wayne State University and chair of the university’s general education oversight committee and a planning and implementation fellow for gen ed assessment, wrote an opinion piece about the steps colleges can take to create more intentional, intelligible general education programs in light of recent survey results that show disconnects and how institutions can invest in general education. “At a base level, it would require viewing gen ed less as a series of requirements (the language used in the survey) and more as a coherent program with dedicated personnel drawn, in part at least, from the faculty and committed to program improvement. An intentional program requires, at minimum, curriculum management, assessment and policy development. A general education program that cuts across multiple departments and engages all undergraduate students is highly complex and requires unique and often much more intensive forms of communication and coordination than a traditional academic department or program,” she writes. Hart says that thinking about different program elements carefully and investing in personnel and support creates opportunities to further engage faculty and highlight the intentionality of a program. Hart writes that the survey results also raise questions about marketing in the event that that students don’t necessarily understand the value of gen ed. “At Wayne State University, we’ve worked with key campus offices to craft materials and share messages about gen ed before and during orientation and crated a new website called “Engaged Gen Ed” with expanding resources to support students, advisers and instructors. These efforts set a foundation and provide support for ongoing conversations students have with their advisers as they advance through their first year and beyond. Early, ongoing and consistent messaging is critical,” said Hart. She also references WSU’s annual award recognizing instructors for their contributions to the general education program as a way of creating a culture of recognition and appreciation, the celebration of student learning outcomes, and ongoing assessment and improvement efforts to support this vital teaching work.
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Levin Center announces 2022 congressional interns

The Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy has selected three Wayne Law students to serve as legal interns in congressional committee offices in Washington, D.D. this summer. Internship recipients are Kawkab (Kay) El-Moussaoui, Bahar Haste and Yesenia Jimenez. Each internship position involves work with congressional staff from both parties and a bipartisan approach to oversight. Students work under the supervision of an experienced attorney who is engaged in conducting oversight on behalf of a congressional committee. This is the seventh year for the 10-week internship. Collectively, 25 Wayne Law students have participated since the program’s inception.

‘Waiting for the next thing’: What it’s like teaching after a mass shooting

By Naaz Modan  On Wednesday morning, teachers and students nationwide filed into school hallways and classrooms less than 24 hours after news of another mass school shooting poured out of Uvalde, Texas. Students were required to take final exams, and teachers were expected to grade papers and continue instruction. From the outside, maybe, it looked like business as usual. But many teachers were experiencing emotions ranging from fear and helplessness to stress and nervousness. Nothing is new about the range of emotional, physical and behavioral side effects reported by educators across the nation in the wake of the Uvalde massacre. It is a ripple effect that many teachers have described experiencing after similar mass school shootings: Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Sante Fe, Oxford. That’ because those reactions are all symptoms of trauma response, according to Addison Duane, a former elementary school teacher with a Ph.D. in educational psychology and now a professor at Wayne State University. Duane’s research and expertise includes trauma and racism in schools. The trauma experienced after a school shooting can be layered on top of pre-existing traumas resulting from systemic racism, especially for those who work in or are members of communities that have been historically marginalized, like Black, Hispanic and low-income students. Robb Elementary School is a case in point: It is 90% Hispanic and 87% economically disadvantaged, according to school district data. Layering of trauma is now “a ubiquitous part of the U.S. experience,” Duane said.  
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19 children, 2 adults killed in Texas elementary school shooting – 3 essential reads on America’s relentless gun violence

By Matt Williams  At least 19 children and two adults were killed when a teenage gunman shot them at a Texas elementary school on May 24, 2022 – the latest mass shooting in a country in which such incidents have become common. A lot remains unknown about the attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a small, predominantly Latino town in South Texas. Police have not as yet revealed a possible motive behind the attack, in which the 18-year-old went classroom to classroom dressed in body armor and carrying two military-style rifles, according to reports. The frequency of school shootings in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the last few years. The Conversation aggregated stories from their recent archives to explain the history of mass shootings in the U.S. and why the government has failed to take action on gun control. Rebeccah Sokol, assistant professor of social work at Wayne State University, along with University of Michigan scholars Patrick Carter and Marc A. Zimmerman shared their research about how the lack of substantive regulation has led to an ever-increasing number of firearms in the hands of U.S. residents. “Since the onset of the public health crisis, firearm sales have spiked. Many of these firearms have ended up in households with teenage children, increasing the risk of accidental or intentional injury or fatalities, or death by suicide,” the scholars wrote. “Most school shooters obtain the firearm from home. And the number of guns within reach of high school-age teenagers has increased during the pandemic.” 
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Wayne State names Virginia Franke Kleist dean of Mike Ilitch School of Business

By Jake Bekemeyer  Wayne State University has selected Virginia Franke Kleist to serve as the next dean of the Mike Ilitch School of Business after a seven-month national search. The WSU Board of Governors approved the appointment that was announced by Provost Mark Kornbluh. She will begin at Wayne State on July 11. Kleist succeeds Robert Forsythe, who will remain as dean until Kleist’s arrival. “We had a number of outstanding candidates for this highly-coveted position, but Virginia’s extensive leadership experience and her preparedness stood out,” said Kornbluh, WSU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “She also has a proven track record in supporting faculty research, creating innovative programs, and growing graduate and undergraduate enrollments. And perhaps most important, she has a passion for students like ours with limited resources, but lots of grit.” Kleist comes to Wayne State from West Virginia University, where she served as the associate dean of graduate programs, research, and academic affairs and a professor of management information systems at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. 
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UM, Wayne State name new business school deans

By Kurt Nagl Two business schools in Southeast Michigan have appointed new leadership. Wayne State University named Virginia Kleist as the new dean of the Mike Ilitch School of Business, taking over for Robert Forsythe, who has held the position since 2014. Kleist, who comes to Detroit from West Virginia University, begins her new role July 11. Forsythe will take an administrative leave before returning to the faculty. In her previous job, Kleist was associate dean of Graduate Programs, Research and Academic Affairs and professor of Management Information Systems at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. “We had a number of outstanding candidates for this highly-coveted position, but Virginia’s extensive leadership experience and her preparedness stood out,” said Mark Kornbluh, Wayne State provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Nation’s baby formula shortage continues even with shipments from Europe

A shortage of baby formula started in the early days of the pandemic and has only worsened after a plant in Sturgis, Michigan was shut down earlier this year. With low stock and high demand, the lack of available baby formula has created a crisis for parents reliant on the infant food source. Supply chain experts point to several factors leading to the shortage – including the concentration of production. Only a handful of companies are approved makers of baby formula in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. To alleviate the crisis, the Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act to boost domestic production of formula. Kevin Ketels, assistant professor of teaching in global supply chain management at Wayne State University, participates in a discussion about what families need to know about the shortage, how the industry operates under a consolidation of production, and what else the Biden administration is doing to alleviate the crisis. Ketels discusses how long it would take for factories to get more formula on the shelves at stores. “What we’re looking at is a consent agreement for the Abbot facility in Sturgis, Michigan to start back up. They have to go through some procedures to get started. Once they get started, they’ve told us it will be about 6-8 weeks before formula starts to hit shelves. The facility hasn’t been restarted yet, it’s expected in the next week or week and a half, so it’s going to take a little bit of time before we start to see the impact,” he said. “They have to line up all the resources and make sure all protocols are followed. They have to go through the production process and the distribution process, and that takes a long time. I think that everyone is going to go as quickly as they can, but they also don’t want to cut corners because we’ve got to make sure that quality and safety are 100%. Everyone’s going to be watching very carefully to make sure we don’t have any more problems and we don’t have any more babies who are adversely affected.”  
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Wayne State baseball’s record-breaking season ends against Illinois-Springfield

The Wayne State baseball team’s record-breaking season won’t include a regional championship. Wayne State spotted No. 21-ranked Illinois-Springfield a six-run lead, including a five-run six, losing 6-3 in the Division II regional championship round Sunday at Harwell Field on the Warriors’ campus. No. 25 Wayne State, which set the program record for victories in a season with a win Saturday over Walsh, finishes at 37-19.