The Start of Another Rewarding University of Michigan-Dearborn Year (August 31, 2020)

Dear UM-Dearborn Alumni and Friends,

As we begin another exciting fall semester at UM-Dearborn, I would like to share a few important updates about how we have created a safe learning environment without disrupting the quality education you expect to see from our university. The preparation for the fall by our students, faculty and staff has been extraordinary as we engage in a hybrid semester, which combines remote learning with some in-person class time to keep our campus healthy and safe.

I am grateful for everyone in the UM-Dearborn community who has extended their support throughout this terrible pandemic. You have helped the university persevere during these unprecedented times. As the situation continues to evolve, our policies will be guided by the latest scientific understanding of the virus and national, state and community plans to contain its spread. Community will always come first.

Here are some highlights of what’s happening at UM-Dearborn.  

Returning to Campus
As part of our commitment to student success and the safety of everyone in our community, the university has launched the Go Safe – Go Blue – Go Dearborn! website to prepare our campus for another successful and fulfilling semester. The campaign covers everything from the academic experience, safety precautions and expectations and the Wolverine Care Pledge—a pledge drafted in partnership by students at UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint to mark a shared commitment to taking the actions that will help keep our community healthy and safe this fall.   

Our guidelines for returning to campus will help keep our community safe while continuing to support the resources needed to provide and receive an excellent University of Michigan-Dearborn education. 

New Investments
I am also happy to share news of four student success pilot initiatives the university will soon launch in response to the $20 million investment in the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint campuses, recently approved by U-M President Mark Schlissel. The four initiatives on our campus include: 

  • Enhanced affordability to align our institutional aid to our highest need populations. UM-Dearborn will develop a new financial aid distribution model that will make an undergraduate degree more affordable for Michigan residents by incorporating financial need with academic potential. Additional incentives will be built in to help ensure four-year graduation rates. 
  • Targeted re-enrollment of students near graduation. The Dearborn Comeback initiative will target those close to graduating, but who have yet to enroll for their final semesters due to financial challenges. These students will be provided advising, mentoring and other services to help them continue the path to graduation.
  • COVID-19 financial aid response. We want to ensure that the pandemic does not stand in the way of obtaining a UM-Dearborn degree. University funding for direct educational expenses will help more of our students remain in school. 
  • Creating an unsurpassed student experience. We are aiming to transform the student experience—from prospective students to graduate learning—by increasing counseling, tutoring and career services for each student. These high-contact touch points will be connected using an integrated student success platform. 

Each initiative builds on our comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning initiative, in which many faculty, staff, students and community members participated. Each initiative has a financial sustainability plan, short-term and long-term metrics, and timelines to allow us to monitor performance. Our new investments will allow the university to provide immediate responses to pressing student needs, allow students with high academic potential easier access to a Michigan education and the support necessary to graduate. 

Mission First, People Always
Although this upcoming academic year will differ from the ones we’ve had in the past, we are excited and optimistic. The university is approaching this fall with the same sense of purpose that has always driven us: to prepare our students for success. I look forward to this semester being productive and rewarding for our entire community. 

This past year has been challenging for all of us, especially our most vulnerable students. If you can help those most affected, please visit The Immediate Relief Fund. This fund has been created to ensure that COVID-19 does not stand in the way of our students from obtaining a UM-Dearborn degree. 

Our university family is as strongly connected as ever. We’re ready for the fall. I hope you will take the time to watch the most recent Alumni Virtual Town Hall that was held on August 17. Thank you for being part of what makes UM-Dearborn such a special place. 

Go Safe - Go Blue - Go Dearborn! 

Domenico Grasso

Office of the Chancellor

1070 - Administration Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-5500
Fax: 313-593-5204