There are only a handful of university presidents across the country who are also medical doctors, and Michigan boasts 4 of them: Oakland University’s Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.; Wayne State University’s M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S.; Michigan State University’s Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.; and the University of Michigan’s Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.
I had the pleasure this week of listening in on a Detroit Regional Chamber webinar addressing COVID-19 updates, of which Wilson, Stanley, and Schlissel were panel members. All are serving on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Commission (ERC). The panel discussed topics from finance to medical advancements to plans for the future. Here are few highlights:
At the end of the webinar, all three were asked about their vision of the fall semester at their respective universities. Wilson expressed doubt that in-person classes would return in the fall, but also hope that things could change quickly enough to allow for it. Stanley noted that the field of higher education involves many different types of considerations, and that the optimal time for a return to in-person learning may vary for different types of educational settings. Schlissel indicated that U of M is looking to have a full semester informed by safety, and that they felt that getting back to a positive trajectory was very important. He opined that large seminar classes may remain online, with smaller classes being held in person and students being asked to wear masks, but he expected students to be back on campus.
I left the webinar feeling grateful that our universities and their students and staff are functioning under the leadership of these fine gentlemen. It was, indeed, a Pure Michigan experience.