March 10, 2022

Provost’s Office announces enhancements to support student success, engagement

In the spirit of continuous improvement and in support of Wayne State University’s recently approved 2022-27 strategic plan, this week the Office of the Provost announced several moves aimed at streamlining operations, better supporting students and improving student success.

The enhancements include the integration of the APEX and Warrior VIP student support programs into a new program model called Warrior 360 that will build upon the lessons and best practices of each program to better serve students — particularly first-generation students and students from historically marginalized groups.

“In combining these two programs, we plan to marshal more resources, invest more strategically and better integrate Warrior 360 throughout campus,” said Ahmad Ezzeddine, vice president for academic student affairs and global engagement. “This will allow us to ensure our students receive maximum support. This is not about cost cutting – this is about building and growing.”

Latonia Garrett, current director of the Student Service Center, will serve as the new program’s director.

The new Warrior 360 program will be led by two familiar faces.

Latonia Garrett, the current director of the Student Service Center, will serve as the program’s director and will work closely with Darryl Gardner, whose role will expand from director of the Office of Student Success and Operational Excellence to senior director of academic student affairs. Gardner will lead the division’s student success strategic initiatives.

Through collaboration with divisional senior leaders and campus partners, Gardner and Garrett will lead the strategic development of Warrior 360 – which will be housed in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library – with plans to launch this spring/summer. 

Darryl Gardner, whose role will expand from director of the Office of Student Success and Operational Excellence to senior director of academic student affairs, will lead the division’s student success strategic initiatives.

“As a Black, first-generation graduate from Detroit, I am beyond excited about this new opportunity to enhance the student experience and help more students — especially those from historically excluded communities — complete their degrees and transform their lives,” said Gardner.   

Ezzeddine said student services will continue uninterrupted during the transition.  

Exciting changes are also coming to the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement (OMSE) that will translate to even more space and support for students to engage and connect.  

With full support from Wayne State’s administration and Board of Governors, OMSE, formed in 2015, will significantly expand its physical space on the seventh floor of the Student Center Building and add new positions to enhance and increase programming and support to meet unique student needs.

Marquita Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, said OMSE has been “bursting at the seams” for some time now, and welcomes the forthcoming growth as a natural progression of the office’s ongoing mission.

The expanded presence on the seventh floor of the Student Center Building will create more room for collaboration and shared space for workshops, meetings, classes and socialization — along with the growing team of professionals at OMSE.

OMSE is working to expand its services in more intentional and specific ways, including the establishment of an office for Black student engagement modeled after the success of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS), and an office for LGBTQ+ student engagement. CLLAS will move into the remodeled space as early as this summer, with plans for the forthcoming offices to follow as they are developed.

In the coming months, OMSE will add a new senior director position, which will oversee two new positions: a director of Black student engagement, who will work closely with the Department of African American Studies, and a director of LBTQ+ student engagement, who will work closely with the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program. The senior director will also work closely with the director of student global engagement, who will report to Academic Student Affairs, and a liaison supporting Latinx student engagement in CLLAS.

Stephanie Hawkes, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement.

Stephanie Hawkes, interim director of OMSE, said the forthcoming expansions directly address requests from students.

“Understanding your identity is an important part of the college experience, and our students have told us that they want more space and support in celebrating and connecting around their identities,” said Hawkes. “This expansion will allow us to be more involved at every level of the journey.”

Acknowledging that OMSE’s work runs through almost every aspect of a student’s university experience, the senior director will also meet regularly to continue and further existing collaborations with Enrollment Management, Student Success, the Office of International Programs, the Dean of Students Office, Housing and Residential Life, and other units.

The expansion comes at a time when OMSE is preparing its own strategic plan, in alignment with WSU’s 2022-27 strategic plan, and looking ahead to its 10th anniversary in 2025. While continuing to grow programming and resources will be a priority for OMSE, Hawkes said that further establishing some of the office’s premier events — such as Pride Week, Juneteenth celebrations and fall’s Welcome Black event — are also key goals.

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