Wayne State Offers College Course on Detroit’s Transition


As the city of Detroit makes its way through bankruptcy, with numerous battles in the courtrooms, boardrooms, and neighborhoods, Wayne State University has announced it will offer a university-level course on the city’s current restructuring efforts.

“History is being made almost every day here in Detroit,” says Robin Boyle, professor and chair of WSU’s department of urban studies and planning, which is offering the course. “From urban economic development and housing to food planning and community development, there isn’t a more dynamic urban environment in the world.”

Called Detroit: Metropolis in Transition, the spring/summer semester course is structured as a guest-lecture series, with weekly lectures from WSU professors, public officials, nonprofit managers, and private sector leaders who are directly involved in Detroit’s comeback plan. Speakers include Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager; Kenneth Cockrel Jr., the city’s former interim mayor; reporter John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press; and Paul Hillegonds of Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority.

As part of the course, which runs from May 7 to July 23, students will read classic texts and take field trips to destinations of interest throughout Detroit. The class will cover both the city’s history and future, including a discussion about the progress of implementing the Detroit Future City Plan by its drafters.

“This unique course … is an opportunity for students to reap the benefits of Wayne State’s longstanding position as the state’s premier urban, public research university,” says Margaret E. Winters, the school’s provost. “Our location in the heart of Midtown, our world-class faculty, and our close relationship with the city allow Wayne State to offer an authentic educational experience unlike any other.”

Current Wayne State students can visit wayne.edu/register to enroll. Guest students can enroll at summer.wayne.edu, and non-degree-seeking visitors should call WSU’s Educational Outreach department at 313-577-4682.