Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, May 9, 2011

Michigan Road Scholars wrap up 12th annual traveling seminar in Detroit

The 2011 Michigan Road Scholars began the last leg of their 1,000-mile, five-city journey on Thursday at a standing-room-only gathering of 200 City of Detroit and Detroit Public Schools officials, community and business leaders, incoming students and their parents.


Jeffrey Morris (left), a Renaissance High School senior from Detroit and entering U-M student, was among those meeting with U-M faculty on the 2011 Road Scholars tour. From left are Jeffrey; his mother, Patricia; his sister, Alesia;Tyrone Winfrey, U-M Detroit admissions director; Christine Black, assistant director of research services at the Medical School; Joel Cressman, associate professor in the Residential College; and Dauda Abubakar, assistant professor of Africana studies and political science at UM-Flint. (Photo by Dana Sitzler)


Photos from the road

View a page of photos from the 2011 Michigan Road Scholars tour.

“Thank you for being here, Michigan Road Scholars,” said Detroit Deputy Mayor Saul Green, a U-M alumnus. Citing the city’s substantive challenges that lay ahead, he said, “This is probably the most important time for you to visit Detroit. This is a time of history in the making as we work to define our next best steps.”

“This is a city of two million that has contracted to approximately 700,000,” said Dauda Abubakar, MRS participant and assistant professor of Africana studies and political science at UM-Flint. “What makes the difference is the extent that people rise up to the challenge. I see people here tonight who say, ‘Yes we will make a difference.’ And I see that type of commitment among my Road Scholar colleagues. We have a commitment to help this city move forward.”

Later on the agenda, U-M Detroit Admissions Director Tyrone Winfrey acknowledged the 30 faculty members in attendance. “Get to know them. They will be your teachers. They will share their knowledge with you … and they will give you your grades,” he advised to audience laughter and applause. “But don’t let this be the last time you talk to them. Get to know your professors when you are students, learn from them, communicate with them.”

Leah Counts, a University of Detroit Preparatory High School senior and entering U-M student, is anxious to get started on that path.

“I’ve had a longstanding love for the University of Michigan that began with the Gear Up program when I was in eighth grade,” she said. “They pushed us not just to look at U-M, but to figure out what we want to do with our life. After that, I made it my business to go to U-M every summer,” to get to know the campus community and participate in academic advancement programs.

Co-sponsored by the City of Detroit, Detroit Public Schools, and the Skillman Foundation, the event — which also featured the Cass Technical High School String Quartet and the Detroit School of Art Jazz Ensemble — kicked off the Michigan Road Scholar’s longest-ever sojourn in Detroit. The visit also included a series of issues-based panel discussions, a tour of the city and five high schools.

MRS is an annual traveling seminar for U-M faculty experts who visit all parts of the state to learn about local and regional attributes and to seek out collaborative opportunities to solve area challenges. Over the years, Road Scholars program has sparked sustained community-academic collaborations between U-M and communities throughout the state.