Updated: Apr 29
Roman Bruno, Editor-in-Chief
Chancellor Grasso during his State of the University Address. Photo//Michigan Photography
"What an extraordinary time to be at UM-Dearborn."
These words uttered by Chancellor Domenico Grasso were only just a part of his speech to a congregation of students, faculty, staff, and special guests during the State of the University Address earlier this month.
Grasso, as well as other speakers and panelists, highlighted several topics such as the Go Blue Guarantee, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Wolverine Mentor Collective, and new marking strategies and messages. There was an emphasis on mental health, giving students the best opportunities to succeed, and treating them to a memorable college experience.
"Over the last five years, we've invested significant efforts in crafting our vision for the future... We've built the runway, we have a flight plan and now we're ready to take off," said Grasso.
Grasso also reaffirmed UM-Dearborn's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. "We are a vibrant community of dreamers, innovators, and change agents," he said.
In terms of key statistics, UM-Dearborn's four-year graduation rate has increased by 3% since Grasso was named chancellor in 2018. While encouraging, the state of Michigan is expected to see a decline in high school graduates over the next ten years. This could be significant for the university, as more than 80% of UM-Dearborn's revenue comes from student tuition.
However, Grasso believes UM-Dearborn can mitigate what could be a devastating hurdle to overcome.
New features, projects, and initiatives will also debut in the near future. A new booth will be added inside the Renick University Center, where students can share their concerns, questions, and ideas directly with Chancellor Grasso and other senior leaders on campus. "We'll focus on listening as well as dispensing advice, if desired," said Grasso. "Today's advice may make a better tomorrow."
This engaging and welcoming booth will be free of charge to students in the hopes of fostering a more communicative bridge between administration and students.
Another exciting incentive to look out for, specifically for incoming students, are complementary season tickets for Michigan football in 2023. Students must be in their first year and full-time (12+ credits per semester). This will allow incoming students to experience a stronger connection between the Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses.
After the event, Student Government President Darena Matti shared her thoughts with me about Grasso's address as well as changing the stigma of mental health on campus:
What was your biggest takeaway from Chancellor Grasso's speech?
"I feel like a lot of students are afraid to reach out. Having the Chancellor speak about it [mental health/mentoring] services just goes to show how important it is, and if he's mentioning it, obviously we should be going on and continuing to search for help."
"I've had students come up to me and try to seek help, but they don't know where to go... We can have them [CAPS] come into our organizations. We can have them come into our classes. A lot of classes right now are very very stressed. Everybody is stressed out in college, so just having that small little moment in your day would be an amazing thing."
A lot of people spoke and were presented that the average student doesn't see. How important do you think it is of seeing these faces and hearing what they have to say?
"As President of Student Government, I feel as if that I've seen these people, and I'll walk around and be like 'Hey, how are you?' I have meetings with these people. But I remember a year ago today, if you came up to me and ask 'Do you know who this is?' I would have said no. It's very important that he [Grasso] had these people come up, and he said 'Look at what we are doing. These are the faces of our campus. These are the faces of our future that's making a change, that's impacting these undergraduate students. So I think it's amazing that he took the time to go ahead and advertise those people. I think it's amazing. It brings light to what they're working on."
Here are more pictures of the event, courtesy of Michigan Photography:
A panel discussion talking about the Wolverine Mentor Collective. Mentor Nicole Johnson and mentee Victoria Maes share their experiences of being in the program.
Meet Moses, the new therapy dog for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)!