MC Quad - Fall 2023 - Aspire...Achieve...Advance

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The Quad offers information to help you with educational and career choices. Learn about our area colleges and universities as well as skilled trades programs in our area.

Then…you can see who is hiring right here in southeast Michigan.


Why Representation Matters in Education and Beyond

Diversity—It’s more than just a buzzword; it’s a transformative force that enriches our learning environments and broadens our collective understanding. But, where does higher education stand in fostering such an ecosystem?

“In the heart of a classroom is where you find America’s melting pot, a tapestry woven with different cultures, ideas, and experiences. To ignore the importance of diversity, especially among staff, is to do a disservice to the next generation,” asserts Irene Harper, a former educator at Central Michigan University. Harper’s decades of experience elucidate an essential truth: diverse faculty can better mentor students from underrepresented backgrounds, thereby fostering an inclusive space that benefits everyone.

To delve into this topic, one must first understand the fundamental differences between Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Established primarily due to the discriminatory practices that excluded African Americans from mainstream educational institutions, HBCUs serve as safe havens that nourish intellectual growth and emotional wellbeing.

Conversely, at PWIs, students of color often report feeling overlooked or misunderstood. A 2019 study by the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that only 14% of faculty at PWIs are people of color, making it a challenging environment for students who find little to no representation within their academic communities. The numbers speak for

themselves: diversity in faculty and students is not a “nice-to-have”; it’s essential.

It’s quite common for Black students to navigate their way from kindergarten through 12th grade without ever encountering a Black teacher. Research by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics reveals that Black students who have at least one Black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to enroll in college. “This lack of representation has long-lasting impacts,” says Harper. “Without mentors who share their lived experiences, Black children often grow up missing essential role models in academic settings, which can further perpetuate cycles of inequality.”

The significance of diversity extends beyond the classroom walls, having profound implications for the ‘real world.’ In a progressively globalized society, our future leaders need to interact with a broad spectrum of people. Learning to collaborate and communicate across racial, ethnic, and cultural lines fosters innovation and mutual respect.

Harper emphasizes the role of faculty diversity in this context. “When students see a diverse faculty, they see possibilities; they see a world that values the potential in everyone, regardless of their race or background. It instills a sense of belonging that is essential for their mental health and future aspirations.”

In the state of Michigan, the push for campus diversity is a work in progress. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2021, 73% of faculty were White, 12% of faculty were Asian, 6% of faculty were Hispanic, and 1% were of two or more races. This discrepancy is even starker when it comes to Black faculty, comprising only about 4% of the total. As for student diversity, the

numbers somewhat mirror the faculty statistics, with a noticeable underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic students. For instance, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, one of the state’s flagship institutions, the undergraduate student body in the fall of 2021 49.4% White, 14.6% Asian, 7.06% Hispanic or Latino, 4.39% Two or More Races, 4.26% Black. These numbers make it clear: while Michigan’s colleges have taken some steps toward creating more diverse campuses, there is still significant work to be done to make these educational spaces more reflective of the state’s—and the nation’s—diverse population.

Despite some progress, the journey toward creating truly diverse and inclusive college campuses is far from over. Colleges must not only recruit a diverse student body but also invest in faculty diversity through targeted hiring practices and professional development programs.

As Harper eloquently concludes, “Diversity isn’t just a metric or a compliance checklist; it’s the secret ingredient to cultivating an empowered society. Our campuses must reflect that. And this change starts with the faculty room and extends all the way to the graduation podium.”

So, as we ponder the future of higher education, let’s consider it not just as a repository of knowledge, but as a crucible where the next generation learns the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equitable representation. After all, they are not just students but future leaders, advocates, and game-changers in the making.

By taking actionable steps towards campus diversity today, we prepare our students for a more inclusive tomorrow.

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University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) is Michigan’s largest and most comprehensive Catholic university, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and programs.

The impact of UDM graduates is recognized by numerous studies conducted by national organizations each year. According to the Georgetown University report A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges, UDM ranks among the top 13% of U.S. universities in earning a higher ROI than graduates from public colleges 40 years after enrollment. On Average, a UDM graduate will earn almost $1 million over the course of their career compared to those from other institutions.

In September 2023, The Wall Street Journal in partnership with College Pulse ranked UDM among the top higher education institutions in the United States for 2024. This year, the University was ranked No. 52, making it:

• Michigan’s second highest-ranking university on the list.

• Fourth among Catholic institutions behind Georgetown, Boston College and Notre Dame.

• The third-highest ranked Jesuit university and only Mercy institution ranked. Each year, Detroit Mercy invests in resources to enhance academic and co-curricular programming to improve the student experience. For example, this past summer the College of Health Professions on the McNichols Campus opened the new Simulation, Technology and Research (STAR) Center, which represents the future of healthcare education. This center promotes student-faculty collaboration in one space, enhances flexibility of the curriculum

and provides technological simulation resources and scenarios to help students understand the different ways of treating patients. Check it out at

Last spring, Engineering and Nursing students engaged in a year-long multidisciplinary, collaborative patient-centered project titled “Faces on Design” designed to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities. This multidisciplinary program pairs seniors from UDM’s College of Engineering & Science and higher-level Nursing students from the College of Health Professions’ McAuley School of Nursing to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities by designing unique assistive devices that resolve a need. For more, see the videos at and


Did you know that 95% of our graduates receive career opportunities or gain entrance into graduate programs upon graduation from Detroit Mercy? And in recent years, a study by Georgetown University ranked Detroit Mercy among the top 13% of universities in the U.S. for career-long earnings.

Learn how you can start building your future virtually and in person by calling 313-993-1245 or visit

4001 W. McNichols Road, Detroit, MI 48221-3038


FALL | 2023 • The QUAD • 5 To learn more, visit today!
The Quad 2023 Ad FINAL.indd 1 2/2/23 4:17 PM
A UDM Nursing student practices her skills in the STAR lab on the McNichols Campus. Students and faculty in the STAR Center work collaboratively using virtual reality and other technological resources to better understand how to help patients during recovery.

Where academic excellence meets unwavering support

Your journey begins here, at Eastern Michigan University, where diversity fuels innovation, where academic excellence meets unwavering support, and where you can be unapologetically you.

More than 14,000 students from 50 states and 83 countries call Eastern Michigan their home away from home—and it’s easy to see why. We offer more than 200 majors, minors, and concentrations delivered through the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business; the College of Education; the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology; and the College of Health and Human Services. Our expert advisors will guide your academic journey, ensuring that you stay on track to graduate and are careerready. With more than 90% of our graduates employed within six months of graduation, you’ll step confidently into the professional

world, equipped with the skills and knowledge employers seek.

We offer a wealth of scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Eligibility for Merit scholarships starts with a 2.75 gradepoint-average, and our wide variety of scholarship programs includes the Eastern Tuition Advantage—where students with a 3.0 grade-point average and an annual household income of less than $60,000 are eligible for free undergraduate tuition. Your potential is our priority, and financial barriers shouldn’t stand in the way of your dreams.

In addition to our commitment to financial support, we believe that a campus isn’t just a place to study; it’s a vibrant home away from home. That’s why we’ve invested more than $200 million to completely renovate campus housing and provide modern, welcoming,

air-conditioned and apartment-style living spaces that inspire creativity, foster connections, and offer the ultimate college lifestyle. Other newly renovated buildings include those that house the sciences, engineering and technology, dining, recreation and fitness center, and wellness.

Are you ready to start a transformative journey? Go to I visit to schedule your campus visit today.

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Come as You Are. Become More You.

Eastern Michigan University is dedicated to nurturing your individuality and empowering you to be the best version of yourself.

Situated in the vibrant heart of Southeast Michigan, you will have unparalleled access to internships, job prospects, cultural events, and entertainment.

Picture yourself in newly renovated housing, complete with air conditioning and enhanced Wi-Fi, surrounded by individuals who are passionate about learning, growing, and making lasting connections.

Ready to experience the unique advantages of EMU? Visit our website or contact our admissions team to learn more.

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Financing a four-year undergraduate degree in America is expensive. Outside of purchasing a home, the price tag to attend a public or private college or university in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree may be the next most expensive purchase in a college grad’s life. That price tag is considerably higher for out-of-state students attending public colleges and universities. And for an individual seeking a master’s degree or Ph.D., the cost can be astronomical and easily approach six figures.

If one comes from a wealthy family, footing the bill for an undergraduate or advanced degree may be doable. Yet, for the average person and family, financing an undergraduate or graduate degree will require finding monetary sources to pay for the degrees in full or at least defray the high associated costs.

For most individuals and families in America, the ways to pay for a college education, whether undergraduate or graduate, are applying for and receiving private, state, and/or federal loans, working and paying as one goes, college work-study programs, and grants and scholarships.

With the high costs of loans – plus interest - many college-bound students or those already enrolled look for one or more scholarships to finance their

collegiate journey, which in some cases can take between four and ten years.

A scholarship is an amount of money given by a school, college, university, or other organization to pay for a person’s studies. In essence, a scholarship is financial support awarded to a student based on academic achievements or meeting or exceeding an organization’s criteria to receive money to fund a person’s schooling.

Unlike student loans, scholarships don’t have to be repaid, which makes receiving one or more highly appealing. When one looks at who’s awarding scholarships, the answer is thousands and thousands of individuals or organizations. And many scholarships are merit-based, meaning they are awarded based on a person’s academic acumen, i.e., grade point average, standardized test scores, accumulative hours of volunteering, and a host of other accomplishments.

Scholarships are offered by schools, businesses, foundations, and other nonprofit organizations, churches and other faith-based entities, civic, and social agencies. There are scholarships earmarked for scholars, athletes, musicians, artists, and more. In addition, specialty groups offer scholarships, such as for women, African Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ, children of military personnel, and students interested in pursuing a college education in business, political science, construction technology, and

more. There are scholarships based on one’s hobby or immigration status, and the list goes on.

What is essential to know is with each scholarship, there are specific requirements that one must meet. In many cases, a person will need to write a strong essay shaped to the nature of the scholarship, produce letters of recommendation, and submit proof of grades or written verification of hours volunteered. And deadlines for applying must be followed.

“I counsel my students about the importance of looking at scholarships from the perspective of wanting to apply for them versus someone making them apply,” said Eric Griggs, a college transition advisor at University Middle and High School Academies in Southfield, Michigan. “It’s better for the students to see and understand the importance of receiving scholarships and, if awarded, how it will positively impact paying for their education.”

Griggs says he encourages his junior and senior students to engage in deep and extensive research to learn as much about scholarship opportunities as possible and always become aware of newer scholarships. The Internet is a power source for research, but there are others.

“My job is to help students figure out the best resources to use and assist them in creating roadmaps to college while looking at all financial aid options, especially scholarships,” Griggs said, who graduated from Western Michigan University a couple of years ago. “I remember my experiences when I was preparing for college and love that I can share them with my students to make their experiences better, especially when it comes to the importance of receiving scholarships.”

While high school seniors are on the hunt for scholarships, students already enrolled in college are also looking for additional scholarships to help pay for their college journey.

C. LaRue, at the end of her junior year at an HBCU institution in Florida, learned of a $1,500 one-time scholarship for African Americans with Cuban heritage. She applied, based on an essay requirement and proof of her Afro-Cuban heritage, and was rewarded the monetary scholarship at the beginning of her senior year. She also received a $2,000 scholarship through the school’s band department. “Both were huge,” LaRue said. “The scholarship helped me buy books and

covered other expenses as I entered my senior year ready to earn my bachelor’s degree. I was happy I didn’t have to pay back the money.”

One of the best literary guides regarding the dos and don’ts of applying for scholarships, grants, and fellowships and saying “no” to student loans is the book, “The Parent’s Smart Guide to Sending Your Kids to College Without Going Broke,” written by Detroiter Gwen Thomas, also known as “The Scholarship Mom.”

“My book chronicles my own journey in educating my African American son,” Thomas told the Michigan Chronicle. “The book talks about those opportunities available for students going into STEM, students going into IT, students going into other fields, and how to get students on the projectory to win scholarships.”

Thomas is also the founder & CEO of Fresh Perspectives Seminars in Detroit. The organization specializes in implementing strategies and approaches to help parents and students achieve a debt-free college education through learning how to find and apply for college scholarships and avoid costly student loans. Over the years, Fresh Perspectives has hosted Black Scholarship Boot Camps in Metro Detroit. The organization will hold its 10th Annual Black Friday Scholarship Bootcamp on Nov. 24, 2023, at the Detroit Golf Club.

And when is the best time for students and parents to begin researching scholarships?

“I started my two children researching scholarships when they were in middle school,” said Jodia Williamson, a former Detroiter now living in Atlanta. “And I impressed upon them the importance of volunteering at empowering community events. When it was time for them to apply for scholarships in their senior year of high school, they were ready and were pretty successful, which helped defray the cost of having two kids in college.”

“It’s never too early for parents and their children to start investigating and searching for information about scholarships and what is required,” said Orlando Bogins, principal of University Middle and High School Academies in Southfield. “And there’s real competition with the majority of scholarships because other high school students in the state and across the country are applying for the same scholarships.”

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Some students make lifechanging discoveries during their studies at Macomb

When students discover Macomb, they often discover ways to bring out the best in themselves.

For Majda Marinic, it was the pathway to the “better life” her parents had encouraged her toward since grade school. With a just-earned bachelor’s degree in biology from Wayne State University, she still hadn’t decided on a career when she learned about and enrolled in Macomb’s Dental Hygiene program. “(Macomb) made me feel comfortable trying something (new) and I am so glad I did,” said Marinic, a second-year student. “Being in the program has made me realize that this career was made for me,” Marinic now plans on earning a master’s degree so she may return to teach in Macomb’s Dental Hygiene program after working in her field for a few years. A decision her parents wholeheartedly approve.

“My grandparents were working-class people who could not afford sending their children to college,” related Marinic. “My parents vowed to do everything in their power to (give) their children a better foundation in life.”

Ivan Thomas discovered that he was a born traveler, as well as a chef-intraining. He had learned to cook under the

watchful eye of his grandmother and enjoyed helping her prepare meals for their closeknit family. That made the classroom camaraderie he found in Macomb’s Culinary Arts program a taste of the familiar.

“Great classmates. Great faculty,” said Thomas. “I love each and every one of them.”

Because of that, Thomas signed up for the program’s culinary tour of Italy. The first in his family to travel abroad, he learned about authentic Italian cuisine, from gorgonzola cheese to gelato, and some of the history of Renaissance Italy. Now he wants to visit Japan and stay for at least a month.

At Macomb, Ivan Thomas discovered that not only did he have what it takes to be a professional chef, but a world traveler as well.

“I never knew going to school would open up so many opportunities,” said Thomas. “I’ve learned you shouldn’t be scared to try new


After moving with her family to Michigan from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),

Percy Masanga discovered opportunities she never had in her native country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Central Africa.


She is an officer with Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and a member of the cross-country team. She is pursuing an associate of arts degree and intends to major in international relations when she transfers to Oakland University next fall. Her goal is to become an international lawyer and/or immigration specialist.

“The college has amazing staff and you always feel safe walking around campus,” said Masanga. “I am in a much better place than I was two years back. Here (people) feel that each person should have the same opportunities.”

Masanga discovered what true democracy is as a student at Macomb.
FALL | 2023 • The QUAD • 9 Questions? 586.445.7999, select Admissions Come to: Discover Macomb Meet our team and hear about: Saturday, Nov. 11 | 9:30 AM–Noon Center Campus Apprenticeship programs Short-term certificates Career pathways Transfer programs High-demand jobs AND MUCH MORE!

Oakland Community College

Oakland University

Schoolcraft College


Univ. of Detroit Mercy admissions@udmercy.ed

Univ. of Michigan

Wayne State Univ.

Western Michigan University

The University of Michigan’s Go Blue Guarantee free tuition for qualifying Michigan residents — is available on all three of its campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint.

Detroit at Work

• Passionate and personable instructors

U-M offers free tuition promise, the Go Blue Guarantee, on all campuses

• Career pathways ranging from business to health to skilled trades


Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity

Oakland Community Health Network

High-achieving in-state undergraduate students attending U-M full-time automatically qualify for the award on the Ann Arbor campus if they have a family income of $75,000 or less and assets less than $75,000. At UMDearborn and UM-Flint families qualify if they have an income of $65,000 or less and assets less than $50,000.

Students do not have to apply specifically for the Go Blue Guarantee. It is awarded to qualified Michigan residents who apply to U-M, get admitted, and apply for financial aid. The Dearborn and Flint campuses have additional GPA requirements.

In addition, all three campuses continue to provide significant financial aid for students who do not qualify for the Go Blue Guarantee based on individual need and merit.

The Go Blue Guarantee first launched on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus in 2018. Learn more:


ywhereishere Students

to help your student advance? We are! Learn more at

U-M campus profiles


U-M’s Ann Arbor campus has 19 schools and colleges offering 280 degree programs. It is ranked the #3 public university in the U.S. by QS World Rankings and a “Best College” for quality, affordability, and student outcomes by Money magazine. More than 32,600 undergraduate students are enrolled on this campus.


UM-Dearborn is home to four colleges offering over 100 majors. It is consistently named one of the best regional universities in the Midwest and a best college for social mobility and veterans by U.S. News & World Report. There are more than 6,000 undergraduate students pursuing degrees at UM-Dearborn.


More than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend this U-M campus in the heart of downtown Flint. Its five schools and colleges offer more than 75 degree programs in online, hybrid, and in-person formats. UM-Flint has been recognized as one of The Princeton Review’s Best Colleges (2023) and has received the highest designation from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency each year since 2015.

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2 • The QUAD • FALL | 2022 Lawrence Tech University
Macomb Community College
Wayne County Human Resources your student is new to college or not sure what to do next in life–count on us to help!
your investment goes far at Macomb. Over 80% of our students leave debt free.
• Over 100 career–oriented degrees and certificates
can apply, register and pay later for spring/summer, fall and winter semesters now!
FALL | 2023 • The QUAD • 11

It’s almost as if Joel Lewis II was destined to end up at OCC, and not just because he hails from the southwest Detroit area. Joel’s greatest fan, and mentor — his mom — set the example by earning her associates degree at OCC, as did his sister.

Joel took his family’s guidance to heart, but his career choice was still in question. A small part of him still wanted to turn his love of English and writing into a career as an advertising copywriter.

altering conversation with an academic advisor at Wayne State University.

“She sized me up pretty quickly and recommended I check into OCC to begin my undergrad course work. She explained how OCC has a very straight-forward and studentaid, scholarships and transfers

Michigan Transfer Agreement facilitates the transfer of credits from OCC to schools

like MSU, Oakland University, University of Michigan, or in my case Wayne State.”

Joel took the sage advice from mom and enrolled at OCC. It wasn’t long before he settled into student life.

online and in-person classes able to balance substitute teaching, coaching Special Olympics basketball and taking classes at OCC without the specter of lifecrushing student loan debt hanging over my head.”

Another aspect of the OCC experience Joel really appreciates is the deeper connection he enjoys with his professors, and with the course material.

class sizes at OCC allows professors to make the class material relevant to each student’s individual journey. approach more than my

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GVSU pathway program grows with new cohorts of Detroit eighth graders, their parents


Since a surprise announcement of opportunities for admission to Grand Valley State University in 2021, more than 800 students from Detroit now participate in the university’s pathway program.

The Pathway to GVSU program is an initiative that offers qualifying students the opportunity for early admission to GVSU. Participants gain access to recruitment events and college-preparedness workshops provided by faculty and staff members. Participating schools include Detroit Achievement Academy and three University Preparatory Academies. Parents and supporters of those students also have a pathway to GVSU degrees, including the Bachelor of Integrative Studies, the Bachelor of Applied Science, among others.

Danny Vélez, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, said as the pathway program grows, so does the potential for student success.

“Students and their families are learning the steps needed to be a successful college student while they are in high school,” Vélez said. “The program is three years old and has gained traction in these schools. Students know Grand Valley will be with them until, and after, they graduate as Lakers.”

Kyle Smitley, executive director of the Detroit Achievement Academy, said the program has had a big impact on DAA students. Students in this past class of eighth graders are the third DAA cohort to participate in the program.

“Our past cohorts immediately had college-age mentors and set their sights on college completion, which helps to keep so much of their time and work in perspective and helps cut out much of the noise,” Smitley said. “They’re visiting GVSU regularly and deeply engaging with different academic fields and the students in them, and engaging in different parts of campus life.”

John Johnson, director of postsecondary and alumni affairs at University Prep Schools, said all three middle schools now participate in the program. Because many would be first-generation college students, Johnson said they typically do not have college aspirations as eighth graders.

“By creating that mindset early in the students’ high school tenure, we create an attainable goal that we hope will lead to better grades, a focus on what their postsecondary education goals will be, and a greater interest in exploring various careers and opportunities,” he said.

The Pathway to GVSU program aligns with the Grand Valley Pledge, a free-tuition program for Michigan students from families with incomes less than $50,000. B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said he wants Detroit area families to know Grand Valley will walk alongside them from middle and high school to college and beyond.

“I want Detroit students and their supporters to partner with Grand Valley and better understand the college-going culture,” Truss said. “We are increasing access to higher education and pulling the veil back to help students see and visit the on-campus resources that are available to help them succeed.”

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creating that mindset early in the students’ high school tenure, we create an attainable goal that we hope will lead to better grades, a focus on what their postsecondary education goals will be, and a greater interest in exploring various careers and opportunities.”
Parents and supporters celebrate their Detroit Achievement Academy student’s early admission to GVSDU through the Pathway to GVSU program. Kyle Smitley


For Grand Valley students, next is opportunity and innovation. Next is global, connecting and uniting us. It’s local, shaping the spaces in which we work and live. It’s a commitment to progress. Next is where minds are free to imagine what could be. At GVSU, next is now. And whatever’s next for you, we will help you get there.

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Become a Golden Grizzly

Your future is golden at Oakland University. We challenge you to think beyond four walls. To get out and create experiences for yourself. To find answers in the lab, the field, the stage and the community. With 130 undergraduate degree programs, you’ll fulfill your ambition amid a thriving campus community where educational excellence and immersive learning come alive. It’s where your professors become your mentors and help you make important connections between theory and practice. As published authors, noted researchers and renowned experts in their fields, they stand firm on years of academic excellence – and use their knowledge to cultivate and challenge yours.

Start strong

Starting your college journey can feel overwhelming. That’s why OU provides easy-to-access academic resources and advising appointments focused on individualized support to ensure your academic success. To boost a strong college launch, every first-year student and undecided transfer student receives extra support and guidance through their first year.

Get involved

College is more than getting a degree. It’s that golden feeling of home when you are on campus. It’s pursuing your purpose and finding your people. With that close-knit campus feel, you don’t get lost in the shuffle. At OU, we challenge you to explore your journey with countless opportunities, like joining a student organization or volunteering in the community — and making memories that last a lifetime.

Go beyond the books

It’s time to spark your curiosity and explore the world beyond the classroom. OU empowers students to explore career possibilities through hands-on learning. Immersing yourself in real-world experiences helps to identify your unique strengths, interests and values while developing a meaningful plan for gaining experience inside and outside the classroom. Located in Metro Detroit, Oakland University is at the epicenter of opportunity: Our students land internships and job placements with major corporations, local school districts, governments and nonprofits.

Take advantage of financial aid

Everyone deserves access to an outstanding education and all the valuable opportunities that come with it. That’s why we strive to make an exceptional education affordable. At Oakland University, we firmly believe in our responsibility to create pathways of opportunity for all students. We’re proud to offer free tuition for up to four years to eligible incoming Michigan freshmen. OU’s Golden Guarantee works in combination with the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, OU merit and needbased aid to help cover both tuition and other costs, such as housing and living expenses. More than 70 percent of all OU students receive some sort of financial assistance — including scholarships, grants, work-study and student loans — totaling more than $200 million annually.


Get a feel for our college community and learn what Oakland University is all about by visiting our beautiful campus in Rochester. With a variety of in-person events and student-led tours, you can find the experience that best fits your schedule and interests. Visit to get started.

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us in Rochester
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Going to College as a Nontraditional Student

Most people think of the “traditional” undergraduate college student as someone between the ages of 18 and 22, living on campus, and enrolled with the support of parents or guardians. While that sector of students has a presence in undergraduate college programs across the nation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more than 70% of today’s undergraduate students are classified as “nontraditional.” NCES further reports that one in ten students currently attending college is over 40 years old. And by 2027, 3.3 million students over 40 will be in America’s college system.

While the definition of a nontraditional college student varies, in general, it means someone who meets any of the following: didn’t enroll in college immediately after high school, age ranges from 24 to 80-plus years old, attends college part-time but works full-time, and has a family with gradeschool age children. There are other criteria.

Some nontraditional college students often, but not always, face greater challenges than traditional students. Case-in-point. If a student works a 40plus hour job per week, has a husband or wife, and is raising children, studying for class assignments and tests can be difficult – there are only so many hours in a day.

Yet, many students who enter college later in life find ways to reach their educational dreams of earning a college degree that they perhaps promised to a parent, grandparent, or themselves.

Native Detroiter Marva, now 57 and a recent college graduate, made an educational vow to herself to pursue a degree, no matter what. When she began college immediately after graduating from high school, she soon married, started a family, and left school. While raising a family of three children, she worked a series of full-time jobs, but never lost her dream of earning a college degree, even when two of her children earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the other carved out a successful

business career. More determined to reach her dream, Marva enrolled at the University of Michigan-Dearborn eight years ago and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Instructional Technology as a nontraditional student last year.

“It wasn’t easy; sometimes I felt like giving up because of my demanding full-time job, plus I was taking classes with students young enough to be my children,” Marva said. “I also sometimes felt out of place because I was often the only African American in class – and always the oldest.”

Marva admits, however, that there were times when she knew she had an advantage over younger classmates based on her maturity, wisdom, and life/work experiences. Yet, she said that U of M’s Office of Student Engagement was instrumental in keeping her focused through its nontraditional student organization created to provide support and resources to nontraditional students. At 62 years old, more than a decade ago, J. Willis, a nontraditional graduate student, experienced similar ups and downs en route to earning a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at Eastern Michigan University.

“There were times when I asked myself, ‘What am I doing here at my age,’“ Willis said. “But I wanted this master’s degree to help advance my already pretty successful career. So, I decided not to worry about younger classmates and just focus on getting the master’s

degree done by often drawing on my vast life and work experiences.”

Today, being a nontraditional student continues to evolve in population, and more colleges and universities are providing support systems to welcome and help older adult learners across the state and America.

One of the nation’s best organizations for advising and assisting nontraditional students across broad sectors of higher education is the Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE). The organization’s mission is to provide academic resources and motivational support for nontraditional students and celebrate and build on the network of faculty, administrators, and advisors that work with and inspire nontraditional students to succeed. The organization offers conferences, publications, and other resources, such as scholarship information, because ANTSHE believes “it’s never too late for someone to earn a college degree.” Michigan community colleges are viable sources for nontraditional students. According to the Michigan Community College Association, the state’s community college system serves more than 200,000 students annually, the majority of whom are identified as “nontraditional students.” The Association, with 31 community colleges in Michigan, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw Community Colleges, has a mission to support all students, whether they are older adults, parents, grandparents, or long-time employees.

Wayne State University is one of the many four-year institutions of higher learning in the state to make older adult learners feel comfortable pursuing a college degree.

“At Wayne State University, our students come from all walks of life, and we’re proud to support them no matter where they are in their educational journey,” said a university spokesperson in a statement. “We know that many of our students over the age of 25 are balancing career, family, and school, and we seek to accommodate their unique needs.”

Eastern Michigan University also markets itself as a “designated AgeFriendly University dedicated to accommodating students of all ages.”

If one is deciding to enroll in a college for the first time or return after years away, the nontraditional student should think the process through thoroughly. It helps to talk with college advisors, other nontraditional students, and your family - if applicable. And research and evaluate the cost and options of financing the desired degree: student loans, scholarships, grants, employer tuition assistance, paying out-of-pocket, or a combination of the options.

In some instances, nontraditional students over 62 may have opportunities to take advantage of free or discounted tuition at selected colleges and universities in Michigan. A classic example is Western Michigan University’s Senior Citizens’ Opportunity Program in Education (SCOPE). Wayne State University, according to its website, offers seniors 60 and over a 75 percent tuition rate reduction in numerous college programs. There are other opportunities for nontraditional students at colleges throughout Michigan.

“My advice to anyone that falls in the category of a nontraditional student is to find a way to earn that degree, regardless of the obstacles,” Marva said. “Stay focused and stay on your grind. Don’t forget there are support systems for nontraditional students at most universities. Just make your educational dreams come true – don’t give up or in until you win!”

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Tip 1: Never lose sight of deadlines

Even with the extension some schools have provided, there may be additional deadlines you won’t want to forget. Deadlines for scholarships, financial aid, housing and athletics shouldn’t be missed or you could miss out on important opportunities.

Tip 2: Choose the experience that fits your lifestyle

Every college offers a different experience and it’s important to be aware of these differences before making a choice about which college to attend. Make sure the college you select provides a comfortable learning environment. Things to consider include class size, availability of online courses, student advisors and support services.

Tip 3: Figure out how much financial support you will receive

Don’t write off any college before making sure you understand the financial resources they provide. At first glance, tuition rates can look scary. However, these rates can be misleading without considering the amount of financial aid and scholarships a school offers.

Tip 4: The school’s location needs to be right for you

The decision to be close or far away from home is a very personal one. You may have always wanted to get away as a college student and be completely independent. Or you may have envisioned your family as a big part of your college experience. This choice requires a lot of self- reflection.

Tip 5: Make sure it’s YOUR decision

To help make this decision, you should visit (or complete a virtual tour) to explore each school and try to envision yourself going there. You can also talk to alumni of the school you’re interested in to find out what they liked most about their experience. Just remember – while taking other people’s advice into account, the school you feel most comfortable with should be your top priority.

Future-focused degrees

You might have heard that Davenport University offers more than 80 career-ready degrees and certificates and that 94% of our graduates are employed within six months

You might have heard that Davenport University offers more than 80 career-ready degrees and certificates, and that 90% of our graduates are employed within six months


But that’s not the only reason we stand out.

You might have heard that Davenport University offers more than 60 high-demand degrees and that 90% of our graduates are employed within six months of graduation. But those aren’t the only reasons we stand out.

Our small, safe campus features apartment-style residence halls with fully furnished rooms. We also have 44 athletic teams, including 23 NCAA Division II teams, plus all kinds of clubs and activities. With 100% of our incoming freshman students receiving scholarships and an average studentteacher ratio of 16:1, our students get the resources they

But that’s not the only reason we stand out. Our small, safe campus features apartment-style residence halls with private rooms. We also have 44 athletic teams, including 23 NCAA Division II teams, plus all kinds of clubs and activities. With 100% of our incoming freshman students receiving scholarships and an average student/teacher ratio of 13:1, our students get the resources they need to succeed.

Get where the world is going

Our small, safe campus features apartment-style residence halls with private rooms. We’re home to over 44 athletic teams, including 23 varsity sports in NCAA Division II, 24 academic clubs, and 18 social and recreational organizations. With 96% of our students receiving financial assistance, and an average student-teacher ratio of 13:1, our students get the personal attention and resources they need to succeed.

Check us out at, or call us at 800.686.1600.

Get where the world is going

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22 • The QUAD • WINTER • SPRING | 2023
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more than business, technology, health and urban education.

Wayne State University is making a big commitment to Michigan students and families with the launch of the new Wayne State Guarantee, which will provide free tuition to incoming Michigan students with family incomes of $70,000 or less.

Last year, 46% of first-year WSU students had zero out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and fees, thanks to the university’s tuition pledge programs. The Wayne State Guarantee will push that number to 50%.

“Wayne State has a long history of being a university of access and opportunity, and now our commitment to making a college degree affordable comes in the form of a guarantee,” said former President M. Roy Wilson, who retired months after the program’s announcement in March 2023.

The Wayne State Guarantee — coupled with the state’s new Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which offers students attending a Michigan public university as much as $5,500 per year for up to five years — is another step toward Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of increasing the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 50.5% today to 60% by 2030.

“Students in Michigan deserve the opportunity to receive quality, affordable higher education,” said Whitmer. “I’m proud to work with universities across the state to lower the cost of college for Michigan students and help them gain the skills to be prepared for the new and expanding businesses coming to the state. Last year, almost half of first-year students at Wayne State University had zero out-of-pocket expenses; with this initiative, the university is offering that opportunity to even more students.”

In 2021, the median household income in Michigan was $64,488. Students with family incomes of $70,000 or less and assets of $50,000 or less qualify for the Wayne State Guarantee.

Students in Michigan deserve the opportunity to receive quality, affordable higher education. I’m proud to work with universities across the state to lower the cost of college for Michigan students and help them gain the skills to be prepared for the new and expanding businesses coming to the state. Last year, almost half of first-year students at Wayne State University had zero out-of-pocketexpenses; with this initiative, the university is offering that opportunity to even more students.”

“Too many students and their families do not think that college is an option because it’s too expensive, however; I think they would be surprised,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Kornbluh. “At Wayne State, we have robust financial aid programs, and we work hard to make attending one of the top research universities in the country affordable for each and every student.”

Wayne State provides nearly $350 million in financial aid annually and has the lowest tuition of Michigan’s three major research universities.

The Wayne State Guarantee covers the full cost of tuition and standard fees (matriculation, registration and student service fees) with a combination of federal, state and other Wayne State scholarships and grants. The award is renewable for up to four years, with the option to apply for a fifth year if the student is on track to graduate that year.

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— Gov. Gretchen Whitmer


At Wayne State University, it’s always been our mission to make college accessible for all by making it affordable for all. That’s why we offer programs like the Wayne State Guarantee, the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge and a range of merit-based scholarships, all providing financial assistance to any student willing to put in the hard work to earn a degree. Thanks to these programs, half of our fall 2023 incoming first-year students are attending Wayne State tuition free. That makes earning a Wayne State degree more powerful than ever.

To learn more, visit

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Over the course of many years, there has been an effort to steer high school students in the direction of preparing for college. It’s been a long-held attitude for some households, learning institutions, and society in general that a four-year university degree will increase one’s probability of career success. And while institutions of higher learning are needed for certain industries, that aren’t the final say in one’s trajectory of career success or financial livelihood. The City of Detroit has outlined multiple avenues to give Detroiters the added opportunity of learning and training for important skilled trade jobs. As much as college degrees are sometimes required to land top-tier income opportunities, there are careers in demand with no four-year university degree required.

Skilled trade jobs can be in the professions of electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders, heavy equipment operators, entrepreneurship, technology, and so much more.

“Within construction and infrastructure there are several opportunities within that field,” said Terri Weems, the Group Executive of Workforce for Detroit at Work. “We spend time every year assessing what the top jobs are across the city. The high growth and high demand opportunities across

the city vary from construction, IT, healthcare, and we consider entrepreneurship and small business to be growing industries.”

Based on engagement with employers and job seekers, the department develops occupations within those industries. Currently within the construction and infrastructure sector there is a need for people seeking jobs in carpentry, brick and masonry, plumbing, welding and more.

Under Weems’ workforce leadership, Detroit at Work is also providing the necessary training needed and available to Detroiters searching for these very lucrative, in-demand careers.

“If there are specific employers who have a small or large need, we’ll consider doing some customized training to meet their demands to develop the skills and talents they need to continue to operate their businesses here in the City of Detroit.”

Skilled trade job can pay on average of $21 in hourly wage, amounting to over $43,000 in yearly salary, yet ranging all the way to a $37 hourly wage and $76,000 in salary. Other skilled trades can pay well into sex-figure range.

According to Penn Foster, the current skilled trade jobs in high demand is a residential electrician at an $60,040 salary, a plumber which yields a $59,880 in pay a year, HVACR technician which can pay $48,630, and in construction/carpentry, one can expect

average salary of $48,260.

Weems said the City of Detroit has been very successful in developing partnerships with large employers in establishing priority hiring agreements. Under this provision, Detroiters seeking work would get the first bite at opportunities to work on new projects and employer facilities.

“When it comes to what skills would be needed, what test would need to be passed, it’s all an example of really great paying jobs that did not require college education. We’re really acting as a staffing agency for these companies across the city.”

The City of Detroit also provides a Detroit at Work Career guide in print and online which features a 30-page document on skilled trade and other job opportunities that walks through all of the city’s high growth and high demand industries, examples of the fields of interest, the pay outline, and examples of locations where one might work, and the skillset and training required.

“I encourage anyone looking to further their economic situation, to consider a skilled trade,” Weems says. “We place 4,000 to 6,000 people into jobs every year. We’re proud of the fact the average wage rate has increased steadily over the past five years and right now on average we placed people on jobs that are $17 or more an hour and skilled trades is $26 or $27 and hour.”

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Career Centers

In Detroit at Work career centers, the experienced, professional staff help Detroiters with a wide range of career-related needs from career advisement to assistance with training for a career change or advancement, to help with supportive services such as childcare or transportation. Services are made available free, and tens of thousands of Detroiters get help every year, with many thousands going into new jobs, or paid training, or getting educational qualifications that will allow them to progress within existing jobs or find new ones.

And subject to eligibility and availability, Detroit at Work may also be able to provide help with other key barriers faced by Detroiters – things like rent assistance, technology devices, childcare, transportation, fines and fees, and even automobile repair.

You can connect with Detroit at Work online at, or on social media, or by calling (313) 962-WORK.

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8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A TEEN CONFERENCE – AGES 13-17 Univ. of Detroit Mercy Conference Location Student Union Center 4001 W. McNichols Rd. • Detroit, MI 48221

**Use the Livernois entrance. If closed, use McNichols entrance)


Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic

Oakland Community Health Network

Wayne County Human Resources

Detroit Police Dept. Hiring Fair 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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1:00 p.m.
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at Work
Meet the Team Discover the Opportunities 9:30 a.m. - Noon

Wayne County aims to spread a new message with its REIMAGNE YOUR CAREER campaign, led by the Department of Personnel/Human Resources. Signaling a change in branding, the new practices in areas such as recruitment and employee engagement are the first steps to organizational effectiveness, recruitment and retention. The initiative to rebrand the employee life cycle also offers existing employees a forward-facing approach to the new direction.

The REIMAGINE YOUR CAREER campaign focuses on putting the employee experience at the center of the county’s recruitment and retention efforts.. From an applicant’s initial contact with recruitment staff to internal promotional opportunities, employees can now align the succession of their careers through countless possibilities. For instance, an applicant that begins as a Laborer within the Department of Public Service could later become the Division Director; or an Assistant Prosecutor Attorney with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office depending on their career interest and educational pursuits.

The spectrum of careers currently spans over 300 vacant positions. Whether an applicant is just beginning their career or a seasoned professional, Wayne County has an opportunity for you. In a rapidly changing economic climate, applicants can find career opportunities to serve the 43 unique Communities in One Great County! Wayne County’s Department of Personnel/Human Resources plans to show prospective applicants that wanting an impactful career and a competitive wage and benefits, within public service, is a positive step toward


For more information, please see the page, scan the QR code below, Facebook, LinkedIn or download the Wayne County mobile application from the Apple App Store ( app/wayne-county-mobile/id1449796370?ls=1) or Google Play (https:// If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact the Wayne County Department of Personnel/Human Resources at 313-224-5901 or via email at

FALL | 2023 • The QUAD • 25 FALL | 2022 • The QUAD •

How the Combination of

and a Degree Stacks the Odds in your Favor

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people all over are now facing their biggest career challenges and that is deciding whether to attend a 4-year-college (virtually), attend a trade school, or do both in hopes to earn more money.

Many people are leaving the workforce to go back to school so they can develop a new skill set, while others make the transition back into the workforce later in life.

Nowadays skilled trades are grabbing the attention of many recent high school graduates because of the solid income and the opportunity for growth.

Often skill trades can be obtained with less schooling and debt than a four-year degree. Many people associate trades with the manufacturing and construction industries. However, they can be found in technology, energy and health care as well.

To begin a career in trades, there is no “one way” to pursue a career, but an important first step for anyone is to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Marcell Sanchez Sr. said working in skill trades has made a positive impact on his family. Sanchez said he’s never been so passionate about anything, but the path to becoming a mason wasn’t easy. While working in the automotive industry seven days a week, the 24-year-old said he saw a post on Facebook about the Detroit Training Center.

“Honestly, I didn’t know if I was interested. I never heard of masonry. It’s not popular in the community. I’ve never seen it done. So, I said I’m doing something that I don’t like already, and I said, if I’m going to do something that I don’t like let me make some good money while I do it. So, I went to school and as soon as I touched a trowel, I knew it was meant to be,” he said.

Sanchez graduated in October helping fill

the ranks of a profession he says is in demand. He hopes to now take his knowledge from trade school and to mentor others while they’re on their career path.

“Most people in the industry are twice my age. They’re tired because it is hard labor. So, the younger, the better,” he said. “That’s why I really want to reach out to kids that are in high school that might want to go right to college

and don’t know what they want to do. The skilled trades, you’ll make more than most college graduates without any debt.”

Lamia Davison, 37, of Detroit says she went to a trade school and to a university to get the skills she needed to become an electrician. “I wanted to make money while I was young. I wanted to find my purpose,” Davison explained “I went to a trade school and received a certificate. A few years later I thought if I complete my degree in electrical engineering I would make even more, but honestly, I wish I would’ve stopped at just going to trade school, because the university was just a repeat of what I already learned in trade school and I left with debt.”

My advice to anyone wanting to get into trade school is to do it now, she said.

“Our jobs are essential to our community,” she expressed. “People will always need a plumber, electricians, someone to repair their thermos in the winter. Trade school is the way to go and my advice is save those dollars from a university and build your business and work on your brand.”

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According to information on the state of Michigan’s website, “Going PRO” is a Michigan campaign designed to elevate the perception of professional trades and to showcase opportunities in a variety of rewarding careers. A sizable professional trades shortage exists in Michigan and is expected to continue through 2026. Professional trades will account for more than 545,000 jobs in the Michigan economy, and approximately 47,000 new job openings are expected annually in the state during that time. Wages for professional trades occupations is 45 percent higher than other occupations – $54,000 is the median annual salary for these jobs! Opportunities exist in a variety of emerging industries including IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction and automotive. And many of the career fields do not require a four-year degree.

Construction in Michigan displays a higher than average share of workers in the prime-working age group of 35 to 54.

About half of Construction businesses are small, with zero to 19 employees.

Construction ranks first in Michigan with the percentage of a self-employed workforce. The recovery of construction employment today is stronger in the state than it is nationwide, according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

Visit: Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development

Or Pure Michigan – Talent Connect –

Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights
President, Mike Barnwell Executive Secretary Treasurer, Tom Lutz
Tuiton-Free, Paid Apprenticeship.
Carpenters, Millwrights, Floor Layer

Factors to consider when choosing a school: Location, Size, and Campus Life

Give consideration to a school’s location, size, and activities when researching colleges and career schools. Some students want to stay close to their families and others like the opportunity to go away to school to live on their own. Do you want to go to school in a big city or a small town?

Do you want a small, intimate setting? A school that’s big enough to be a city by itself? Or something in between?

Keep in mind that the location of a school and your housing options can impact your overall cost.

Does the school offer activities and social opportunities you like? Does it offer services you need? Does it have a good campus security system?

While the school’s website can help you determine some of these factors, a campus visit will help the most. Or, see if the school offers virtual tours of its campus.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements vary from school to school; so check the websites of all the colleges you’re interested in.


An accredited school meets certain standards set by an independent agency. It helps ensure the training or education you get meets employer standards in a specific

field. Use our accreditation search page to check a particular school’s standards or to find an accredited school in a particular field or location.

If you attend a school that isn’t accredited, you might not be able to get any financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education requires that schools participate in federal student aid programs be accredited. Also, your state education agency’s aid programs may not offer financial aid at unaccredited schools. Check for more information.

In addition, attending an unaccredited school poses the following risks:

•You might not be able to transfer your credits to another school. For example, if you attend an unaccredited two-year school and then transfer to a four-year school to earn a bachelor’s degree, you might have to start over again at the four-year school if it doesn’t recognize the classes you took.

•It may be difficult to get a job. Some employers may not hire someone with a certificate from a school that is unaccredited.

Work Flexibility

If you need to work full-time while you’re in school, does the school have night courses or other options to accommodate you? Will they let you attend part-time? Do they offer summer courses? Check the school’s website or talk to the admissions staff at the college or career school that you’re interested in to see what are your options.

Distance Learning or Online Degrees

Lots of schools have begun to offer distance learning, which allows you to access lectures or course materials online or through other electronic media. Whether a distance learning course or degree is right for you is a matter of personal preference.

Be aware that not every distance learning course or online degree is accredited and/or eligible for federal student aid. To find out whether you can receive federal student aid for your program, check with your school’s financial aid office.

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The Unparalleled Significance of Black Female Teachers at PWIs

Predominantly white institutions (PWIs) have long been at the forefront of the conversation surrounding American higher education. While these institutions have made commendable strides in promoting diversity and inclusivity, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all voices are heard and represented within these academic spaces. One crucial aspect of this effort is recognizing and celebrating the unparalleled significance of Black female teachers at PWIs. These educators bring unique perspectives, experiences, and expertise to the classroom, making them invaluable assets to both their students and the institutions they serve. Representation is a fundamental element of a well-rounded education. When students see themselves reflected in their teachers, it not only fosters a sense of belonging but also encourages them to pursue academic and professional paths they might not have considered otherwise. Black female teachers at PWIs serve as role models for Black students, especially women, demonstrating that they too can excel in academia and pursue their dreams.

In addition to serving as role models for Black students, Black female teachers also provide important perspectives and experiences that enhance the learning environment for all students. They bring unique insights into discussions of race, gender, and intersectionality, which are critical components of a well-rounded education in the 21st century.

According to 2022 research conducted by To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, “Although they are challenged in the classroom, Black women faculty’s presence and practices are beneficial for student engagement and retention. Black women faculty are viewed as integral for racially minoritized students’ institutional retention. More specifically in STEM disciplines, Black women faculty are important role models to same-gender students’ academic success. In a case study of tenured Black women faculty at Michigan State University found that Black women felt that when more Black women faculty and staff were hired, the campus climate improved. The institution held more cultural events with Black performers, and the research produced by the faculty hired centered the range of Black people’s experiences.”

Black female teachers often employ diverse instructional approaches that enrich the educational experience. They may draw from their own experiences to create a more inclusive and culturally sensitive curriculum, addressing issues that are often overlooked or underrepresented in traditional academic settings. This not only benefits Black students but also fosters a more comprehensive understanding of complex societal issues among all students.

Black female educators often excel at creating inclusive classroom environments where all students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences. This promotes a more open and respectful dialogue, allowing students to engage in meaningful discussions about race, privilege, and social justice. These conversations are crucial for developing the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

Professor Lolita Cummings has dedicated an impressive 29 years to Eastern Michigan University.

As an African American female professor, she reflects on her journey as a true blessing, one enriched with a multitude of experiences, meaningful connections, and a profound sense of accomplishment. Throughout her tenure, Professor Cummings has prioritized serving both the institution and its diverse student population. Her contributions are evident through her active involvement with Black student groups, dedicated service on various faculty committees, and her commitment to several administrative roles.

“I have served on countless search committees for faculty and administrative positions that have resulted in hires of excellent candidates of color who continue to contribute significantly to the university and enrich the campus,” said Professor Cummings. “I also believe that having a voice at decision making tables is also of great value, and I’m often given an opportunity to be heard in those settings. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I serve on numerous university-wide committees that help shape the work and mission of the university. This work is important because of the wide scope and scale, but I also don’t diminish the one-on-one meetings with Black students who are simply trying to find their way and their place. Both are necessary.”

Education is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s also about developing empathy and cultural competence. Black female teachers play a pivotal role in this aspect of education. They provide students with the opportunity to engage with perspectives and experiences different from their own, fostering a greater understanding of the complexities of race, identity, and privilege.

By promoting empathy and cultural competence, Black female teachers prepare students to navigate a diverse and multicultural society. This is a skill set that is increasingly important in a globalized world where intercultural communication and cooperation are essential for success.

“I’m not one to shy away from what others may consider controversial or potentially contentious topics, so students are always encouraged to share their experiences and opinions in the classroom,” Professor Cummings continues. “Everyone’s voice must be

heard and their positions considered. I find that some of the richest discussions happen when Black students realize they are in a classroom like mine that welcomes their voices and ensures they will be respected. It is then that they are free to tell their story. The result is eye-opening, sometimes shocking, because non-Black students often have no idea what Black students endure on a daily basis, oftentimes without ever acknowledging the struggle. I also regularly bring in Black guest speakers who look like me to offer additional perspectives. Students need to see successful public relations professionals from all backgrounds and of all colors. That’s important.”

For Danielle Kennedy, a sophomore at Wayne State University, the presence of Black professors on campus helped her make her final decision on attending the university. As she starts her second year she is inspired and proud to be a warrior. “The diversity at Wayne State is what attracted me, but I was even more intrigued with the amount of Black female professors and faculty members of color. I can’t explain it, but it makes me feel safe. It makes me feel heard. I feel like someone is in my corner. My experiences with professors have been positive. With all of them really. But the Black female professors feel like mothers, aunts, and sisters.”

The unparalleled significance of Black female teachers at PWIs cannot be overstated. They bring diversity, representation, and unique pedagogical approaches that enrich the educational experience for all students. These educators serve as role models, champions of diversity, and facilitators of open dialogue, preparing students to thrive in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.

To truly advance diversity and inclusivity in higher education, PWIs must recognize and celebrate the vital contributions of Black female teachers. Their presence in the classroom not only benefits Black students, but also enriches the educational experience for everyone and helps to create a more equitable and understanding society for generations to come. It is imperative that we continue to support and empower Black female educators as they work tirelessly to make our academic institutions more inclusive and welcoming for all.

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College is a time of newfound independence, personal growth, and for many students, their first taste of financial responsibility. According to a mid-September survey conducted by U.S. News in 2022, over 67% of college undergraduate students have a credit card in their own name, and a little over 9% have access to a credit card as an authorized user. While having a credit card in college can be a valuable tool for building a credit history and buying essentials, it also opens the door to the slippery slope of credit card debt.

The upside of having a credit card is that building a positive credit history can open doors to future financial opportunities, such as obtaining loans, renting an apartment, or even landing a job. However, these benefits come with a crucial caveat: responsible credit card usage. Unfortunately, many students find themselves in desperate situations that cloud their financial judgment.

Many African American students rely on the benefits offered by their schools and financial aid programs. This is particularly important because so many households operate on tight budgets or lack the financial resources to send substantial amounts of money to support their children’s education away from home. As these students transition into adulthood, they often feel the pressure to become selfsufficient and responsible for their own well-being. Unfortunately, these pressures sometimes prompt them to open financial accounts for which they may not be adequately prepared and commit to fees and interest rates they do not fully comprehend.

College life is often marked by budget constraints, and students are no strangers to seeking out deals and discounts. But, what if I told you that accepting that free pizza and sweatshirt for signing up for a high-interest credit card could potentially cost you far more than you bargained for? For many

college students, the arrival of their first credit card is a rite of passage. It provides financial freedom, but it also carries significant risks. The lure of making purchases on credit without immediate consequences can be intoxicating, leading to poor spending habits and financial mismanagement. One of the most revealing studies on this topic is Sallie Mae’s “Majoring in Money 2019,” which found that the average college student’s credit card debt was $1,183. This figure represented a significant 31% increase from the 2016 report. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has likely exacerbated the issue. A 2021 report from AIG and Everfi indicated that credit card usage among college students has been on the rise. The study revealed that 52% of students with credit cards used two or more cards during the survey period, compared to 41% in the previous period. Furthermore, 15% of respondents reported having credit card debt exceeding $5,000, up from 9% in previous years.

Credit card companies often target college students with enticing offers, such as

freebies like pizza, sweatshirts, or even cash rewards for signing up. These perks are designed to appeal to students who may be struggling financially or eager to have some extra spending power.

Alternatives to Credit Card Debt

Rather than succumbing to the allure of credit card offers, college students should explore alternative ways to supplement their income. Here are some options to consider:

Work-Study Programs: Many universities offer work-study programs that allow students to work parttime jobs on campus, helping them earn money while also gaining valuable work experience.

Near-Campus Jobs: Look for part-time jobs in your college town or near campus. Restaurants, retail stores, and tutoring services often hire students, providing a steady income source.

Scholarships and Grants: Apply for scholarships and grants, which can help reduce the financial burden of tuition and other educational expenses without accumulating debt.

Budgeting: Learn to budget effectively. Keeping track of your expenses and setting spending limits can go a long way towards managing your finances responsibly.

Seeking Light at the End of the Tunnel: While the challenges of managing credit

card debt as a college student can seem daunting, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the burden and pave the way to financial stability.

Financial Education: Colleges and universities can play a crucial role in providing financial education and counseling to students. Equipping them with the knowledge and skills to manage their finances effectively can help prevent excessive credit card debt.

Budgeting: Creating a realistic budget can help students track their income and expenses, ensuring they live within their means and avoid overreliance on credit cards.

Emergency Funds: Establishing an emergency fund can provide a financial safety net, reducing the need for credit cards in times of unexpected expenses.

Seeking Alternatives: Explore other options for covering educational and living expenses, such as scholarships, part-time employment, or work-study programs.

Responsible Credit Card Use: If using credit cards is necessary, students should prioritize responsible usage. This includes paying bills on time, avoiding high-interest cards, and keeping credit card balances low. African American students face unique financial challenges as they pursue higher education, but the benefits provided by their schools and financial aid programs offer vital support. These resources not only make education more accessible but also help alleviate some of the financial pressures associated with transitioning into adulthood.

To empower these students further, it is crucial to prioritize financial literacy education, ensuring that they have the knowledge and tools needed to make informed financial decisions. By equipping them with these skills, we can help these students not only access higher education but also build a solid foundation for their financial futures, ultimately contributing to greater economic equity in our society.

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FALL | 2023 • The QUAD • 31 Open the Door to Your Career 2019 FOLLOW YOUR DREAM…PURSUE YOUR INTERESTS… 2021 Thriving Through COVID WINTER/SPRING 2021 2019 UNDERGRADUATE & GRADUATE PROGRAMS TO PREPARE YOU… TO PROPELL YOU… FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE TOMORROW 2018 Moving Forward on the road to success 2017 “Success doesn’t come to you... you go to it.” -Marva Collins, African American Educator Inside: Tips on Enrollment, Money and College Life! 2020 2020 Preparation Awaits Opportunity The Quad presents information to help you along this path of making decisions about your future. CHOICES – DECISIONS We need information to help us make the right choice. The Quad is published in February and September to share information about career choices, job opportunities and inspirational stories to encourage you and guide you. Look for the next edition of the Quad - February 21, 2024.
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