January 16, 2014
Students benefit from Michael Haywood's passion, knowledge
Like so many of our dedicated employees, Michael Haywood wears many hats. Officially, he is the director of minority affairs in the College of Business. Students also know him as a mentor, educator, cheerleader, critic, adviser, father figure, and friend.
“I get to interact with students from all walks of life, from many different countries,” the East St. Louis native said. “The university gives me a chance to share some of the knowledge and information I have gained over the years with the students.”
I participate in several events that Michael helps to organize, including the Minority Student Leadership Conference each spring. I get to see the wonderful relationships he has with students – not only from his college, but from throughout the university. His enthusiasm for the opportunities SIU provides – opportunities that he experienced as a student – is contagious.
The middle of seven children, Michael fell in love with SIU at the age of 12 when he would come to campus with an older brother for basketball games. He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from SIU, both in education.
He joined the College of Business as an adviser in 1988, and he also began assisting student organizations, in particular, Blacks Interested in Business.
“I saw the need to help students with their goals, with their path, and I wanted to provide some direction,” Michael said. “So I started doing some things that the college didn’t have at the time, such as tutoring and mentoring. We had one of the first formal mentoring programs on campus.”
His efforts, which included attracting outside funding to support student programming, eventually led to the creation of the Office of Minority Affairs. Minority enrollment in the college is strong – 33 percent – and I am confident Michael’s knack for connecting with students is a major reason why.
One of his favorite programs is the annual “Exploring Careers in Business.” This is a wonderful opportunity for up to 40 high school students to spend a week during the summer learning about SIU, the College of Business, and careers. I have talked with participants who come from as far as California because of the value of this academic boot camp. The week includes guest speakers, seminars, pre-ACT testing, and visits to corporate offices in St. Louis.
With degrees and teaching experience in business, I understand the rigor of the college’s curriculum. And that’s why I appreciate the commitment of faculty and staff to mentoring. As Michael noted, each freshman is assigned to a more senior-level student who is in the same major. A member of the college’s staff also serves as a mentor to each student, as do community members.
“We don’t want them to have a reason to fail,” Michael said.
He also serves as adviser to several student organizations, including the Women’s Business Association, the Asian Business Association, and the Hispanic Business Association.
“I enjoy having the chance to inspire and motivate students,” he said. “I am always concerned about their future.”
Students are Michael’s passion. He is a wonderful role model and ambassador for the College of Business and for our university.