Wayne State University President Dr. M. Roy Wilson says improving the university means embracing its "unique" attributes-during a speech streamed live at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.
"For some reason, Wayne State was different for me," Wilson began, going on to share his reasons for accepting WSU's job offer over other universities.
"Ultimately, I desire to lead a university with the following attributes: comprehensive, urban, public … high research activity and the presence of an academic medical center. Wayne State University satisfies these characteristics-and is well poised to take its place among the very top tier of public-serving research universities in this country."
Wilson added that the college's assets make it "something unique, something special." And, "In fact," he continued, "something extraordinary."
The president took the opportunity to highlight both the university's strengths-and weaknesses, noting, "But there are cracks in the veneer." He addressed the decreasing graduation rate and state funding, saying those are areas that need to be "reversed."
Wilson does not agree the university should focus only on its specialty fields, such as engineering and medicine, to increase graduation rates-which is similar to a trade-school approach, he said.
"That's not what I am about, and that is not what Wayne State is about," he continued. "I have become convinced that in our quest to be great, we must be good. … A good university does everything it can to make sure that every single student who entrusts their education to us graduates. Every single student."
It is not solely the responsibility of the university to increase graduation rates, Wilson explained. "Its also a state responsibility. The tuition increase is in direct correlation of the amount of state funding," said Wilson. "We all have a stake in what happens to Wayne State University."
Overall, Wilson stressed the value of an education at WSU in a real urban setting over other university campuses.
"Other universities offer a semester in Detroit," Wilson said, to expose students to a modern environment. "We offer every semester in Detroit."
Get to know more about Wayne State's new president in our BLAC Detroit profile, and read our suggestions for university improvements.