Letter from the Director
Since being inaugurated fall 2007, FOCIS has led several broad discussions on the dramatic changes in our regional, state and national economies and their consequent impact on the lives of Americans. Alice Rivlin visited Wayne State spring 2010 and gave her national perspective as keynote speaker during a conference on the Michigan economy. Others on that program included William Testa, vice president and director of regional research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and James Duderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan. The program on Michigan’s economy was followed by three keynote speakers for fall 2010. Diane Ravitch, researcher and educator; Arianna Huffington, syndicated columnist; and Daniel Pink, futurist and author, each addressed the “new normal” of American society. Daniel Pink was the featured presenter during a half-day conference on job creation and workforce development in Southeast Michigan and discussed the transforming landscape for jobs and employment. The conference was held in partnership with Crain’s Detroit Business, our region’s most distinguished weekly business publication.
The next logical step in our examination of economic issues was to focus more intently on workers’ transitions. In the fall of 2011, FOCIS presented a two-day examination of jobs, retirement, encore careers and other transitions for American workers. The conference featured such national speakers as Robert Reich, former secretary of labor; Marc Freedman, author and social entrepreneur; and Roger Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA-CREF.
For nearly 140 years, Wayne State University has been committed to the economic, social and cultural well-being of Detroit and Michigan. FOCIS exemplifies Wayne State’s continuing leadership and service in these areas. FOCIS events bring nationally and internationally celebrated speakers to our campus, stimulating discussion at the university and throughout the community on critical topics.
But FOCIS is not just about talking; it also is about creative problem-solving, and this will be the measure of our success.
Irvin D. Reid