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Wayne State University in Detroit joins national effort to increase college access

Wayne State University is participating in a national effort by 130 public universities and systems to increase college access, close the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands of degrees by 2025. The participating institutions will work in clusters of four-12, and Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson will lead a cluster of 11 urban universities. Together, the institutions enroll about 3 million students, including 1 million who receive Pell Grants, or federal grants for college. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is organizing the effort, which is called Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success.
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Detroit businesses and institutions contributing to employee welfare with on-site childcare

Wayne State University has two on-site childcare centers for faculty, staff, students and community members: the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute Early Childhood Center and the College of Education Early Childcare Center, both serving children ages 2-and-a-half to 5 years old. Even with two centers, WSU still is experiencing an overwhelming need for additional childcare. WSU's Daycare Implementation Committee works to identify options for childcare in the Midtown area, including expanding on-site campus care.
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Wayne State recognized for improving student retention and graduation rates

Wayne State University is being recognized for strides made in improving its student retention and graduation rates. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named Wayne State University the winner of its 2018 Project Degree Completion Award. “We’re an institution that has a lot of support resources for students,” said Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s associate vice president of enrollment management. “We restructured our financial aid programs so over one-third of our incoming freshman class had zero out-of-pocket expense. I think students are responding to these changes, because our freshman class grew 15 percent over last year, which is huge. It’s our largest freshman cohort in the institution’s history.”
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How two women in Detroit neighborhoods are bridging the city’s divide

Sonia Brown — known to many as "Auntie Na" — works with the Kresge Foundation and Wayne State University. She has created a health clinic, food pantry, clothing distribution center, and tutoring center called "Auntie Na's House." The “village,” as Brown refers to it, is on Yellowstone Street on Detroit's west side. “Our programs are community-based. It started off with just trying to help some of the young mothers in the community with day-to-day living and responsibilities: clothes and food," Brown said. Now, the program helps in a variety of ways including babysitting children, providing educational opportunities, and holding meet and greets for neighbors.
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Youth midterm turnout spikes after Michigan campus drives

Young Michigan voters turned out in larger numbers for the midterm election than any time in recent history, thanks in part to campus registration drives by the state and activist groups. At Wayne State University, the Wayne County Clerk's office reported that turnout doubled from 152 voters to 335 at precinct 152, the closest precinct to campus. At Wayne State, groups worked to eliminate the transportation and timing barriers that student voters face on Election Day. The Student Senate partnered with the Detroit Department of Transportation to bus students to the polls, while NextGen Michigan coordinated shuttles to and from campus to precinct 152. Student volunteers also drove voters not only to precincts in Detroit, but also to precincts outside of the city.   
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WSUniversity nationally awarded for improvement in graduation rates

“Ensuring more students have access to college and are fully supported on their path to graduation has always been at the core of Wayne State’s mission,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. “Wayne State has made great strides by working hard to identify and support the differing needs of all students. We know that if our students thrive, then the university — and higher education — will, too.”
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Powerful partnerships fuel Detroit’s rebirth

To realize its dream of returning to its roots as an economic powerhouse, Detroit needs a massive boost in local talent. Using records from the past 15 years housed at the National Student Clearinghouse, Wayne State University and Macomb Community College have already identified nearly 53,000 “comebackers” for whom the schools have contacts. The institutions are reaching out on social media and working with business and community groups. They’ve placed stories in newspapers and on television, and they plan to post ads on buses. This academic year, Wayne State is offering comebackers perhaps its biggest carrot yet — a debt-forgiveness program called Warrior Way Back. The program waives past-due balances of up to $1,500 for all students seeking to complete their degrees. For full-time students, the first $500 will be waived the first semester, the second $500 the next semester, and so on. The ultimate goal is to eliminate students’ outstanding debt as they make academic progress. “We have been holding transcripts hostage,” says Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, “because it’s the only leverage we have.”
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What the first Thanksgiving dinner actually looked like

Julie Lesnik, assistant professor of anthropology, wrote an article about the menu of the first Thanksgiving held nearly 400 years ago in Massachusetts. Lesnik points out that there is only one original account of the feast chronicled in a letter written by Edward Winslow on Dec. 11, 1621. In it he described the first Thanksgiving event held by the pilgrims. Winslow describes how the Puritans celebrated by feasting on waterfowl, eating goose and duck rather than turkey. The letter also recounts that the Wampanoag leader Massasoit Ousamequin was present, along with “some ninety men,” and that they gifted deer to Governor William Bradford.
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Once embarrassed by its graduation numbers, Wayne State becomes a model

Wayne State has taken its lumps over the years. Less than a decade ago, about one in four students earned a degree within six years. Fewer than one in 10 black students who enrolled at the Detroit campus left with a four-year degree within that time. For black men, the rate was one in 14. Since then, the chances of Wayne State University students leaving the Detroit campus with a degree has almost doubled to 45 percent. And the African-American graduation rate has tripled to 26 percent. And while still trailing Michigan’s other public universities in graduation rate, Wayne State is garnering national attention for its turnaround, raising hopes that the lessons learned on the urban campus can be applied to improve grad rates of minorities, low-income and first-generation college students across the state. “If students suffer, the nation suffers,” said Monica Brockmeyer, WSU’s  senior associate provost for student success.
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Universities team up on completion

Eight years ago, Wayne State University was widely criticized after a report from the Education Trust identified its relatively low graduation rates and a deep achievement gap between black and white students at the university. M. Roy Wilson became Wayne State’s president in 2013. He said improving completion rates has been the university’s top priority ever since. “We went to work immediately,” said Wilson. “We decided we were going to take the approach of not making excuses.”

Palestinians 'cast to the margins' as Israel deepens ties with Gulf states

Over the last month, Israeli leaders have made a string of friendly visits, gestures and statements towards Arab leaders in the Gulf, positioning Israel for what appears to be a more overt alliance with Gulf states, from Oman to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Palestinian struggle for statehood, meanwhile, has been "cast to the margins" by the leaders of these same Gulf countries, said Saeed Khan, a senior lecturer in Near East studies at Wayne State University. "It seems as though, among the Saudis, UAE and to a certain degree Oman, they are clearly putting their stock with the official Israeli political line. They're either turning a blind eye or seemingly not at all interested in the Palestinian issue," Khan told Middle East Eye.
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Marijuana a sure thing for entrepreneurs?

Jeff Stoltman, a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business, said a lot of his students look at opening a marijuana business as a sure thing. Stoltman said he pushes his students who are interested in the pot business to dig deeper into market realities. "They’re looking at this tremendous explosive growth in the states where the cannabis business was liberated a little earlier and there is this ‘Why not here, why not me?’ They don’t dig too deep to find out who is really benefiting the most of those kind of operations and what was the path that they took and can they replicate that here.”
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Most Detroiters in a decade worked in September

Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University and director of its labor program, said to decrease poverty, the city needs to decrease the number of those who are not participating in the workforce. This, he said, can be expensive and requires greater outreach efforts and mentorship, better access to transportation, improving schools and changing laws to make it easier for ex-offenders to be hired. "I think there's room for improvement in Detroit," 
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Improving Detroiters' health is focus of Wayne State summit

Residents of Wayne County are the unhealthiest of Michigan's 83 counties, according to a ranking by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bridging that disparity was the target of a Wednesday summit at Wayne State University. Participants suggested ways to promote healthy eating, behaviors and environments. But the focus was on disparities affecting Detroit’s population, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The university brought together leaders of corporations, health care systems,  community organizations, foundations, policymakers and academics.
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General Motors offers buyouts to 18,000 workers: 'The world is changing'

General Motors is a technology company that makes cars, and the skills its employees had yesterday are continuously becoming outdated. Experts say that is the underlying message of GM CEO Mary Barra's move on Oct. 31 to offer voluntary buyouts to GM's North American salaried workers with 12 or more years of experience with the company. On the surface, it's typical cost-cutting ahead of a potential dip in new-car sales and rising raw material costs. But look closer. Consider that Barra hails from a human resources background, so targeting employees with long seniority and high pay grades is strategic when a company is moving toward the development of more electric cars, fuel cells and autonomous vehicles, experts say. It means redeploying the workforce and freeing up significant capital, said Marick Masters, professor of business at Wayne State University.