In President M. Roy Wilson’s 2017 University Address he delivered on Sept. 12, he reviewed the progress of the university, talked about ongoing projects and what to expect for the future.
“Being a student here for two years, I have been in awe of the progress President Wilson is having,” said Nourham Hamadi, the president of the Student Senate, when introducing the president. “I’ve had many encounters with him along with many other students. On the opportunities we’ve had to speak out, he listened.”
Wilson said it has been a successful and interesting year as he took the stage.
The president reflected on his 2014 address, during which he talked about the declining enrollment rates he saw as tipping points for Wayne State.
“For the first time in recent history, last year’s total enrollment was higher than the previous year,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were not able to build on that momentum and our graduate and international enrollment took an unexpected hit. We will begin the year with overall enrollment flat, and slightly down.”
Wilson said he plans on implementing stronger and organized recruitment to meet the goal of 30,000 students by 2021 by getting more out-of-state and in-state recruitments and having aggressive international recruitment.
Additionally, the graduation rate of the university has faced an increase of 2 percent to 3 percent each year. By 2021, the president said he hopes to have a 50 percent graduation rate.
“This is outstanding progress, but it just gets better,” he said.
Wilson announced the Office of Registrar just certified the last student from 2011 to graduate, making this year’s graduation rate 47 percent, which is eight percentage points from the 2010.
The graduation rates of African-American students have also seen a positive trend in recent years with an increase of 13 percent.
“Black students, graduate at nearly three times the rate they did six years ago,” Wilson said. “I think we can say we have tipped in the right direction since the 2014 address.”
Wilson then addressed the ways the university can improve, starting with the Medical School which is facing a gap between expenses and revenues, and the primary hospital affiliate is to be blamed, Wilson said.
“It’s very complicated but the bottom line in all of these disputes is we are guided by our integrity and core values,” he said. “We no longer let our medical enterprise be compromised by poor business practices or predatory partnerships. We no longer will provide privileges or paychecks for people who will not work…we will be accountable and make the hard decisions now.”
Wilson also talked about the conflict between free speech and racial ethnic confrontations. He said educating ourselves and learning to respect opinions is imperative.
“Universities must be havens for respect of dialogue and debate between different points of view,” he said.
Wilson announced a new survey starting Oct. 16 to gauge the university’s inclusivity and gain a clear sense of areas where there are going to be areas of improvement.
“I am excited as to what will be accomplished in the upcoming year,” Wilson said.