Student Engagement and Active Learning lab

The Student Education and Active Learning (SEAL) lab will provide dedicated student support in a centralized resource center with refreshed, modular spaces and guided experiences to smooth the transition from classroom to career. The SEAL Lab will be a central, physical space to support five key areas of student development: student success, experiential learning, international engagement, career readiness, and strategic thinking and leadership development.

Help shape the future of business in Detroit

For more information about how your investment can help shape the future of business in Detroit by supporting the SEAL Lab, please contact your philanthropy officer, donate online today or continue reading below to learn more.

An architect's rendering of the proposed student education and active learning (SEAL) lab.Equipping tomorrow's leaders

We seek funding to support each of the five pillars of the SEAL lab below.

Student success

Comprehensive support for all students through:

  • Tutoring
  • Departmental scholar groups
  • Success skills workshops
  • (e.g., studying, time management)
  • First-generation student resources and supports
  • Adult learner resources (e.g., technology training)

Learn more about the student success learning pillar.

Experiential learning

Getting students ready for careers through:

  • Student consulting clinics (e.g., entrepreneurship and innovation, corporate social responsibility and sports and entertainment)
  • Industry partnerships
  • Faculty-led consultancy services
  • Capstone courses
  • Startup resources
  • Service-learning opportunities
  • Micro-funding
  • Pitch competitions
  • Mentorship
  • Referrals to Belinsky Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL)

Learn more about the experiential learning pillar.

Graphic that show five pillars of the SEAL Lab: student success, experiential learning, international engagement, career readiness, and strategic thinking and leadership developmentInternational engagement

Enrich student learning through:

  • Student grants for study abroad or travel
  • Student semester exchanges
  • International research
  • Language immersion programs
  • International internships
  • Educational exchanges
  • International case competitions

Learn more about the international engagement pillar.

Career readiness

Graduating students who are career ready through:

  • Career exploration and preparation
  • Aptitude testing
  • Certification training and testing
  • Exam preparation and review courses (e.g., CPA, Bloomberg, CFP)
  • Internship and co-op program placement
  • Networking opportunities

Learn more about the experiential career readiness pillar.

Strategic thinking and leadership development 

  • Problem identification strategies and creative solution generation
  • Systems analysis
  • Communication workshops
  • Soft skills
  • Leadership trainings
  • Professional development and conference grants
  • Critical thinking case competitions
  • Logic game workshops

Learn more about the strategic thinking and leadership development pillar.

Student success

Comprehensive support for all students

The Mike Ilitch School of Business takes a holistic approach to student success that reaches beyond classroom learning to support all aspects of a student's education. With high percentages of firstgeneration students and returning adult learners, Ilitch School students need unique support to reach their graduation day. Through a robust suite of student resources, including early detection academic support services, access to mental health support and financial literacy education, we invest in our students' continued success both in and out of the classroom.


The Ilitch School seeks to expand our student support through the SEAL Lab over the next five years. The lab provides an in-person space where resources and training come together to supplement coursework and create skilled professionals.

  • Increase student readiness through skills workshops (e.g., studying, time management) to improve classroom and career search success.
  • Offer tutoring for students identified by performance monitors, academic advisors or professors.
  • Establish departmental scholar groups to encourage learning communities within majors and career paths.
  • Increase community building and sense of belonging among the first-generation and adult-learner populations through a shared space to study, learn and connect.
  • Create opportunities for students who may be more comfortable with in-person rather than virtual interactions. Provide financial literacy education to help students reach financial stability, security and independence.
  • Mitigate digital barriers to degree pursuit and completion through technology training.

Estimated budget

The estimated annual budget for this pillar of the SEAL Lab is $170,000. The primary expenses are support for the SEAL Lab concierge to coordinate and run programming, as well as student tutors for each department and technology trainers. Additional expenses include academic performance monitors to ensure students are supported if they run into problems. Wayne State University will secure partnerships with banks to provide in-kind financial literacy education.

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Experiential learning

Getting ready for careers

The proposed expansion of experiential learning programs at the Mike Ilitch School of Business will prepare students to take on the corporate world or their own entrepreneurial endeavors. We will create clinics that mirror consulting — pairing expert faculty members with talented students to solve challenges brought to us from industry partners. The initial clinics will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, corporate social responsibility, experiential management, and sports and entertainment management. The clinic program is a reciprocal, self-sustaining model that benefits local businesses while building our students' confidence, skills and professional networks.


Over the next five years, we will create a new suite of experiential learning programs to achieve two primary objectives: tackle actual business challenges and help each student graduate with a job offer.

  • Create four clinics to provide hands-on learning opportunities to students.
  • Create a corporate partners program to cover the expenses of each clinic and create a mutually beneficial experience for students and industry partners.
  • Add value to the student experience by making the clinics credit-bearing internships.
  • Create a corporate social responsibility course with an annual impact fund to benefit local nonprofits and offer students investment and impact evaluation opportunities.
  • Reach 100% job placement for each student who participates in the experiential learning programs.

Estimated budget

The clinic model offers natural partnerships with a variety of industries. We seek to establish a corporate partners membership program within the first five years of the SEAL Lab that will serve as an ongoing source of revenue powering the clinics and the lab. The primary expenses of the clinics, around $240,000 annually, are staff time spent with students and the coordination of the annual and ongoing projects for each experience. We seek to create an additional expendable fund for the corporate social responsibility course that will allow students to invest in local nonprofits and evaluate the impact of their investments.

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International engagement

Global experiences enrich learning by broadening students' understanding of international business practices, cultural diversity and the vastness of the global marketplace.

The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business seeks to provide every student with an international experience. This can take the form of study abroad programs, language immersion, education exchange opportunities, international internships or case competitions.

Over a five-year period, we seek to centralize these opportunities within the SEAL Lab, broaden and increase the program's offerings, and make our global programs an accessible, and affordable, part of every student's education.

In tandem with the growth of the SEAL Lab over the next five years, the Ilitch School will expand our international offerings. Goals for the expanded program include:

  • Develop 10 new short-term programs to make study abroad accessible to students who can't spend a full semester abroad.
  • Expand our current faculty-led international courses to encompass an experience with a company in each of our academic programs.
  • Establish a fund to provide support for international faculty research.
  • In partnership with the Office of International Programs, develop new semester-long study abroad programs tailored to business students.
  • In partnership with career services and industry partners, develop an international co-op and internship program that increases student exposure to international work experiences.
  • Develop new on-campus language immersion and international education courses.
  • Participate in international case competitions within each of our academic programs.
  • Establish a fund to provide students international experiences for free.

Estimated budget

The initial expenses of the program are $50,000 to cover student travel, faculty travel and part-timestaff support to arrange experiences. As we build the program and increase the number of students participating, we will need to increase our fundingfor new and expanded programs, courses andcompetitions. We anticipate the expenses to grow to $100,000 to $200,000 by year five of the program's build-out. This will enable us to provide each student some type of international experience by 2029.

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Career readiness

Career readiness is a key part of business education. Employers expect new team members to be ready to perform immediately, and our graduates want to excel early in their new roles. The Mike Ilitch School of Business will take a two-part approach to skill development through certifications and career exploration supports.

Certifications demonstrate to employers that students have up-to-date skills and show a personal commitment to growth. However, they are often out of reach for our students due to their extra costs and licensing issues. The SEAL Lab will offer certifications for free or at a discounted rate along with guidance from a full-time staff member.

Career exploration and planning are important to ensuring our students are on the correct path for their talents and skills. Through workshops, career-guidance software, aptitude testing, testing review software licenses (e.g., CFP and CPA) and more, we will prepare students for the career that is right for them.


The SEAL Lab will offer students a variety of career preparation opportunities and certifications that span the Ilitch School to make them competitive in the job market. A list of possible certifications follows:

  • Google (Digital Marketing, Ads, Cloud, Data Analytics)
  • Microsoft (Azure Developer, Excel)
  • AWS (Certified Cloud, Security, Solutions Architect)
  • Tableau
  • Project Management Professional
  • CompTIA A+
  • Network Security+
  • Bloomberg
  • Review and testing preparation
  • for the CPA, CFA, CFP and CFE
  • Aptitude testing

In the first three years of the program, we will weave these resources into our business education curriculum. We want to help students explore and prepare for jobs, and secure certifications while ensuring they are relevant to their personal goals and the goals of our comprehensive business programs. We will regularly review the types of certificates and services we offer to adapt to demand and industry and technology trends.

The Ilitch School plans to open the lab and certifications program to the community as it develops and proves successful. We also will seek to secure corporate sponsorships for many of the certifications and programs so we can offer them for free or at a deeply discounted price.

Estimated budget

The estimated annual expenses for the career readiness pillar of the SEAL Lab total $148,000. This covers the cost for a dedicated staff member to provide assistance and guidance, as well as fees for certifications and career-planning software. As previously noted, we anticipate the annual expenses for this piece to drop significantly as we demonstrate success and secure corporate support.

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Strategic thinking and leadership development

The SEAL lab is an ideal space to learn techniques and test critical thinking skills. We envision a space that blends ideas among disciplines, where students can take on challenges and generate creative solutions. 

Creative problem-solving and critical thinking are necessary skills for today's graduates to be successful. While still at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, students can be taught logic through targeted trainings and tools like gaming. This skill is further developed through competitions and opportunities to network at conferences and seminars. 


Over the next five years, we will expand and formalize our strategic thinking and leadership development programs to develop the next generations of business leaders in Detroit.

  • Develop new training programs outside of classes to introduce new skills and reinforce coursework.
  • Assign an independent study course instructor to offer individual opportunities for development and instruction.
  • Secure gaming software and hardware like Sphero and LEGO Mindstorm to teach logic and problem-solving techniques.
  • Establish a student travel fund for leadership development conferences and seminars.
  • Conduct one logic case competition per year.
  • Participate in one or more national or international competitions per year.

Estimated budget

The annual estimated budget for the Strategic thinking and leadership development pillar of the SEAL Lab is $35,000. The primary expense is assigning an independent study course instructor to coordinate program offerings. Up-front expenses include acquiring software and hardware needed to power the program. Additional resources will be needed annually to participate in national and international case competitions, as well as conferences on leadership development or logic.


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