Pathways for UM-Dearborn Wolverine success

February 7, 2022

These educational tracks highlight how first-year students can leverage existing campus resources for academic, personal and professional success.

Graphic by Violet Dashi
Graphic by Violet Dashi

UM-Dearborn has what students need to meet their academic, career and personal enrichment goals.

With the thousands — yes, thousands — of engagement opportunities across campus like professional clubs, service-focused courses, mentoring programs, research work and hands-on projects, it can be a little overwhelming for new students to know what’s available and how to access it.

To guide students on their collegiate journey and share these opportunities in a more direct way, UM-Dearborn has developed scholar engagement programs. These programs are Wolverine Ready ScholarsSTEM Scholars,  Pharmacy Preferred Admission Scholars ProgramHonors Scholars and Grand Challenges Scholars.

Vice Provost of Enrollment Management Melissa Stone said these scholar communities — which were called affinity groups in the early strategic planning stages — highlight ways students can get engaged with learning in an organized way. It leverages many existing campus resources and gives students pathways to follow based on their interests.

“We will engage students from the recruitment stage — so before they are even on campus — to share project-based learning opportunities that they may find unique and meaningful,” Stone said. “We have dedicated faculty and staff who have spent years creating dynamic opportunities. We want to make sure that students are connecting with these and know about what’s available to them from before they begin their first year through graduation.”

Initial work has already begun. All admitted Fall 2022 first-year students were sent email communication about the Wolverine Ready Scholars program and are encouraged to sign up. If Fall 2022 first-year students met the criteria based on their qualifications and interests for the other scholars programs, they’ve been sent an invitation to apply.

The ideas for these scholar communities came out of the campus’ Strategic Planning efforts that focused on retention, graduation rates and career readiness.

“UM-Dearborn is known for providing  access and support to highly qualified, talented and motivated students. We give them the tools to succeed in a 21st century workforce,” said Chancellor Domenico Grasso. “A college education reaches beyond just preparing one individual — it is a transformative experience that impacts families and communities ”

Additional student success initiatives that grew out of strategic planning include a new My UM Dearborn online student portal, the launch of Experience+, financial aid programs like the Go Blue GuaranteeDearborn Comeback and Focus on the Finish, the Wolverine Mentor Collective, and a One Stop Shop where students can go to get campus-related questions answered.

“To attract and keep students here to meet their goals, it's important to have a continued effort to learn what students need,” Stone said. “But we can’t stop there. We need to package information regarding how we meet those needs so students know how to engage with UM-Dearborn in a meaningful way.” 

“We want our students to know that your education is yours to tailor. And, through these scholar communities, we’ve created ways on how you can best do that and get the most out of their educational experience.”

Here’s information about each scholars engagement community:

Wolverine Ready Scholars 

All Fall 2022 first-year undergraduate students are welcome to become a Wolverine Ready Scholar. The Wolverine Ready Scholars Program provides a unique way to enhance the UM-Dearborn experience by showing students — in a guided way — how to build connections and a deeper sense of community.

For example, during their first year, students will learn about academic resources and peer mentoring opportunities to set a strong foundation. And, during the sequesent years, students will learn about getting involved (year two), enhancing their credentials (year three) and taking a capstone experience, which typically includes research and/or completing a project (year four).

Wolverine Ready students can immerse themselves — at a pace that’s right for them — in research with professors, in specialized courses and internships, in student organizations and more. Students can take advantage of these campus opportunities whether or not they are a Wolverine Scholar. However, this pathway helps students more directly explore their areas of interest and learn what they can do now to stand out to future employers. Students can learn more and sign up.

STEM Scholars

The STEM Scholars Program is for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused undergraduate first-year students. Students selected for this program will have tutors built into classes like Calculus I and General Chemistry, gain professional development through optional workshops, and conduct research through a Research Rotations program that’s time-flexible.

Students who qualify and are accepted into the STEM Scholars program will be awarded grants and scholarships toward tuition and fees for four academic years as long as they remain in one of the selected STEM majors and maintain a 2.5 GPA. This means — through a combination of the NSF-funded grant and other federal and institutional grant funding — they can essentially earn a STEM undergraduate degree for free and have a guided campus experience. 

Students must be Pell eligible and a major in a STEM-focused program. Included majors are Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Computer & Information Science, Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mathematics, Environmental Science, Bioengineering and Chemistry. Majors were chosen based on industry need and student interest. Students also need a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and placement into campus’ Calculus I or higher. Questions? Check out this article or reach out to Professor Joan Remski.

Grand Challenges Scholars

With input from people around the world, an international group of leading researchers and technological thinkers were asked to identify “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.” Now that those grand challenges have been shared, the National Academy of Engineering is reaching out to a select number of universities to tap into student ideas — and UM-Dearborn was one of the campuses chosen worldwide. 

This campus’ Grand Challenges Scholars Program takes UM-Dearborn’s existing high-impact practices — like experiential learning, internships and cooperative education, undergraduate research — and creates a road map that College of Engineering and Computer Science students can follow to get marketable skills and help develop technical solutions to “Grand Challenge” problems.

Upon scholars program completion, CECS graduates will be recommended for NAE membership, which can lead to connections with senior professionals in business, academia and government who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.

Honors Program

Because of the small size of the Honors classes and the emphasis on active participation, students in the UM-Dearborn Honors Program gain strong bonds with peers and professors from the beginning of their freshman year. All first-year students with a high school GPA of at least a 3.5 or other evidence of superior academic ability are invited to apply for the Honors Program.

Honors students get to know each other and build close friendships because they take many of the same courses together. The program regularly sponsors social hours and organizes group outings to concerts, plays and museums. Students and faculty in the program get to share valuable experiences in and out of the classroom. To learn more about the Honors Program, contact Director Daniel Little.

The Pharmacy Preferred Admission Scholars

The Pharmacy Preferred Admission Scholars Program is a partnership with the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor College of Pharmacy (UM-COP) for first-year UM-Dearborn students.

Starting in Fall 2022, UM-Dearborn’s Health Professions Advising team will work with students in this scholars program to guide them toward their dream career in the pharmacy field by sharing which courses and co-curriculars will best prepare them.

The Pharmacy Preferred Admission Program gives students conditional assurance of admission to UM-COP upon meeting U-M’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) admission requirements and successful completion of their bachelor’s degree at UM-Dearborn. Questions about this scholars program? Reach out to Health Professions Adviser Tahnee C.H. Prokopow.

Article by Sarah Tuxbury.