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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.”

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.

PG&E faces historic financial liability from California wildfire

California’s electric utility is facing historic financial liability if it's deemed responsible for a deadly wildfire ravaging Northern California, but a lifeline from the state Friday suggested that it just may be taxpayers who help foot the bill. "These numbers that we're seeing out of California – there's no other way to describe it – are orders of magnitude bigger than anything else that we've seen," says Noah Hall, law professor at Wayne State University. "The reality is that these wildfires are hitting private property, whereas a lot of the other disasters have wiped out water resources like the Gulf of Mexico or salmon fisheries. In terms of money, that doesn't compare to California real estate."
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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.
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Conversations with Wayne State University 11-07-18

Mildred Gaddis sat down with Darrell Dawsey, associate director, community communications for Wayne State University, and Henry L. Robinson, senior director of the Office of Federal TRIO at Wayne State. The three discussed how the Federal TRIO program provides academic assistance and support services to promising youth, adult learners and Wayne State University students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education due to economic deprivation, poor academic preparation and/or first generation college status. While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO helps students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
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'Young people are very excited,' Michiganders getting midterm-ready

U.S. midterm elections are taking place across the country Tuesday. Other than voting for candidates, voters will also be saying 'yay' or 'nay' to three proposals on the ballots. One of them is the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state. "It seems as though many in the state want to follow the example of Canada and be up to speed with that," said Saeed​ Khan, senior lecturer at Wayne State University. However, even if it becomes legal in Michigan, crossing the Canada-U.S. border with marijuana will continue to be a criminal offence under the U.S. federal law.
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Flint water crisis prompts Schuette, Whitmer to accuse each other of hurting victims

Flint is a majority African-American city and Democratic stronghold. But to turn out new urban voters in Flint, candidates will have to do more than hearken back to missed opportunities and old scandals, said Ronald Brown, an associate professor of political science at Wayne State University. Candidates must also speak about what they plan to accomplish in terms of improving schools and delivering clean water and safe streets, he said. "If it's just the Flint water issue, that’s not going to move those voters," Brown said. "I think it’s very difficult for any party to get out new voters, especially to get urban voters to vote, when you’ve not been able to solve your problems that have been around for a very long time," he said. 
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Family aims to continue legacy of Arbor Drugs founder Applebaum

Before his death nearly a year ago, Arbor Drugs founder Eugene Applebaum sat with his family, creating a strategy to ensure his philanthropy would continue. He didn't direct a huge infusion from his estate to the Eugene Applebaum Family Foundation. The Foundation is funding internships for University of Michigan and Wayne State University students at Detroit arts and culture organizations and nonprofits to help build a talent pipeline. And it's bringing its philanthropic relationships to bear to help forge collaborations between organizations like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Wayne State University. The centerpiece of the family's giving is a $1 million commitment to the Applebaum Fellows program, providing opportunities for young people in their communities that inspire leadership, entrepreneurship and independence.