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Wolverine Pathways

Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)

Launched in February 2016, Wolverine Pathways (WP) is an innovative pipeline program focused on creating a path to college readiness for middle and high school students residing in underserved districts. Scholars who successfully complete the program, apply to the UM-Ann Arbor or UM-Dearborn campus, and are admitted receive a four-year tuition scholarship plus additional need-based aid. Students achieving admission to the Flint campus may qualify for UM-Flint’s general scholarship programs, if eligible. Currently serving scholars who reside in the Southfield Public, Detroit Public, and Ypsilanti Community school districts, WP is exploring the prospect of designing and leveraging remote programming to considerably expand its reach and impact beyond southeastern Michigan. 

Progress Update

Now in its fifth year of programming, Wolverine Pathways (WP) continues to link the power of U-M’s academic and research enterprise, the resources and commitment of alumni, community and corporate partners, and the instructional expertise of secondary teachers to support scholars’ academic success, college admission and career exploration. The remote operations and programs required because of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated WP’s ability to launch programming successfully online. Currently serving scholars who reside in the Southfield Public, Detroit Public, and Ypsilanti Community school districts, WP is now exploring the prospect of remote programming as a means to expand its reach and impact beyond southeastern Michigan.

Recent successes have prompted WP to incorporate virtual elements into its permanent design, with the dual goals of maximizing access and leveraging nationwide resources and opportunities (e.g., virtual internships; online networking with alumni who reside outside of Michigan; recruiting for synchronous online instruction the very best teachers, regardless of their location). 

Since 2018, WP scholars have been accepted to and have enrolled at U-M at competitive rates. In all, 58 percent (152 of 263) of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 graduating classes combined have been admitted to the Ann Arbor campus, with 89 percent (135 of 152) choosing to attend. During this same period, 113 and 3 students were admitted to the Dearborn and Flint campuses respectively.  The class of 2021 was WP’s fourth and largest graduating class  thus far (152 students) with 47% percent of those students having  been accepted to the Ann Arbor campus and 86% of these admitted students choosing to attend. This graduating class also boasts acceptances to the most competitive public (e.g., UCLA; Berkeley) and private (e.g., Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, NYU, Dartmouth, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Brown, Brandeis, William & Mary, Carnegie Mellon) colleges and universities within the nation as well as overseas (i.e., Cambridge University).   

To support the successful transition and retention of WP graduates matriculating to the Ann Arbor campus, scholars are mentored through the SuccessConnects initiative. Administered by the Office of Academic and Multicultural Affairs, this academic and wellness coaching program supplements the formal advising WP graduates receive in their academic units. As a consequence of this support, graduates matriculating to the Ann Arbor campus are retained at competitive rates. First- and second-year retention rates for WP graduates matriculating to U-M as first-year students are 98 percent and 93 percent respectively. 

In the coming year, WP will convert its core programming from in-person only to hybrid and will also pilot a remote version of its programming for students who are state residents but reside in areas beyond southeastern Michigan. The pilot will be fielded in collaboration with two Grand Rapids high schools and will serve an initial group of 15 to 20 students, with the goal of designing, assessing and improving on key design elements and protocols to ensure robust college preparatory collaborations in a remote programming environment (with select in-person opportunities).

Responsibility: Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion