A woman stands at a podium on the stairs of the LSA building as people crowd around the listen to her speak.
Courtesy of Michigan Photography.

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Studies Program welcomed more than 70 students, staff, faculty and alumni to the LSA Building Friday evening to celebrate CSP’s 40th anniversary. 

The University established CSP in 1983 as an attempt to close gaps in educational opportunity. The learning community combines LSA’s historical Opportunity Program, which offered academic advising for prospective and current students, with LSA’s Coalition for the Use of Learning Skills, which provided minority students with co-sponsored courses and small group tutorials in English and math courses.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily, former CSP Director Harold Waters said CSP was created to promote the academic success of marginalized students at the University. 

“The two former programs really emphasized and wanted to work closely with underrepresented students who were coming to the University of Michigan,” Waters said. “CSP was really designed to make sure there were more wraparound services for students who needed a little bit more.”

CSP offers advising and tutoring in a broad range of subjects from economics to natural sciences, as well as assistance in other areas of student life including financial aid and housing. LSA senior Mateo Brown, former CSP peer mentor, said the program has grown into a resource hub for minority students navigating a predominantly white institution.

“The University has historically not been the most fair to marginalized students, and our department is a response to that,” Brown said. “CSP has blossomed into a department that has provided a summer program for incoming freshmen, tutoring over the school year and events like this for community building.” 

CSP currently supports more than 3,000 students across all U-M undergraduate departments. LSA sophomore Mckenna Freitas, current CSP student, said the program has offered her an abundance of opportunities to meet new people, as well as resources for her academic career. 

“I’ve met so many people throughout CSP in Summer Bridge, which has been very beneficial in building connections and meeting people across multiple different backgrounds,” Freitas said. “I am not the best student at French so I was able to request a tutor and they got a tutor for me, which was really beneficial to my education.”

Kierra Trotter has been CSP’s Director since 2020. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Trotter said CSP’s services aim to address a wide array of student needs. 

“We have holistic academic advising for LSA students, in addition to tutoring services, scholarships and grant funding,” Trotter said. “Our mission is to ensure all students at U of M can be successful and not just survive here, but thrive.”

Along with smaller class sizes, individualized advising and a mentorship program, CSP aims to offer students a headstart in professional networking. Freitas said the program introduced her to unique opportunities to meet like-minded individuals. 

“It has opened up so many doors and opportunities for me,” Freitas said. “I got to go to the headquarters of Domino’s pizza and I got to meet a bunch of people that were Michigan alumni and also in the program.”

Daily Staff Reporter Hannah Cuenca can be reached at hcuenca@umich.edu.