Launched in February 2016, Wolverine Pathways is an innovative pipeline program focused on creating a path to college readiness for middle and high school students currently in the Southfield Public, Detroit Public, and Ypsilanti Community school 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.

Year Four Progress

Now in its fourth year of programming, Wolverine Pathways continues to link the power of U-M’s academic and research enterprise, the resources and innovations of community partners, and the instructional expertise of secondary teachers to support scholars’ academic success, college admission, and career exploration. The program enrolled 649 scholars at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year and has served a total of 1,147 scholars since its inception: 445 from Detroit, 416 from Southfield, and 286 from Ypsilanti. WP also graduated its third class, with all 86 matriculating scholars being admitted to selective colleges nationwide.

For the 262 students who comprise WP’s graduating cohorts, admission outcomes were as follows:

Number of graduates admitted to UM-Ann Arbor: 147
Number of graduates matriculating to UM-Ann Arbor: 131
Number of graduates admitted to UM-Dearborn: 113
Number of graduates admitted to UM-Flint: 2
Other colleges admitting WP graduates include: Albion College,Bowling Green University, Brown University, Columbia University, Eastern Michigan University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Howard
University, Johns Hopkins University, Morehouse College,  Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Michigan State University, Purdue University,
Spelman College, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wayne State University

Scholars matriculating to the Ann Arbor campus are retained at competitive rates. The first-year retention rates for WP graduates matriculating as freshman in Fall 2018 and Fall 2019 were 96 percent (43 of 45) and 98 percent (42 of 43) respectively. Two WP graduates who matriculated to the Ann Arbor campus as second-year transfer students both successfully completed their first year at U-M. The second-year retention rate for WP graduates who matriculated to U-M Ann Arbor in Fall 2018 is 93 percent (42 of 45).

In providing support for its scholars, the program has harnessed the commitment and contributions of 55 U-M faculty, 35 U-M graduate students, 150 U-M undergraduates, and 10 U-M postdoctoral fellows or research specialists or scientists. In addition, WP continues to collaborate strategically with a wide range of U-M schools, colleges, and units as well as not-for-profit institutions.

COVID-19 required WP to end Winter 2020 programming prematurely, field the Summer 2020 session remotely, suspend programming that could not be presented virtually (e.g., research and career internships); and delay planned improvements in math literacy, identity, and efficacy. We also invested in collaborations that resulted in timely and innovative remote programming.

Highlights of pre- and post-pandemic efforts include:

  • Summer Scholar Institute: WP conducted its first summer institute in which eleventh grade scholars enrolled in courses taught by U-M faculty in the humanities and social sciences. These courses—featuring college-level content in areas such as business and leadership, protest history, Afrofuturism, film studies, and fiction writing—were designed to introduce students to the academic, cultural, and social demands of college.
  • CEO/MCAC Advising Partnership: In collaboration with the Center for Educational Outreach and its Michigan College Advising Corps, WP fielded a three-week remote college advising program to support eleventh grade scholars in navigating the college choice and application process.
  • Remote Summer Camps: Through a broad range of internal and external collaborations, WP provided its eighth, ninth, and tenth grade scholars with an innovative array of on-line summer camps focused on activities ranging from coding, music production, and engineering to poetry and performance, history of science, government and legislation, and health and medicine.
  • OAMI/SuccessConnects Partnership: To support the successful transition and retention of WP graduates matriculating to the Ann Arbor campus, WP worked in collaboration with the Office of Academic and Multicultural Affairs (OAMI) to tap the power of OAMI’s SuccessConnects academic and wellness coaching program
  • Near-Peer Mentoring Program: Leveraging the capacity and commitment of U-M’s stellar undergraduate student body, WP developed a near-peer mentoring program in which U-M undergraduates worked to build community and collaboration with and among WP scholars, provided personal insight into life at Michigan, and coached and facilitated student engagement through in-person and remote programming.

WP looks forward to evaluating the outcomes of its 2019-2020 remote programming efforts, with the goal of determining whether and how it might more robustly leverage virtual experiences to extend its reach and impact.

Responsibility: Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion