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Motown 101

Wayne State's Motown and Global Learning Community offers a look into metro Detroit art, history and pop culture

January 12, 2009

This is not your everyday English class. From dissecting slam poetry to analyzing the music of Marvin Gaye and The White Stripes, students enrolled in a new learning community at Wayne State get the lowdown on Motown through a course that could only be properly taught in the center of Detroit's cultural district.

The Motown Global Learning Community incorporates two English classes over the course of a school year and utilizes an urban approach to study the music, literature, art and history of Detroit. The learning community starts in the fall semester, continues in winter and offers an optional study abroad experience in southern Germany (Stuttgart, Heidelberg and Munich) during spring break.

Along with bus tours through some of metro Detroit's most infamous neighborhoods, the learning community also features visits by nationally and internationally known poets, songwriters and musicians.

"Wayne State's innovative Motown and Global Learning Community is an excellent academic tool to help students graduate and become a successful professionals and citizens of the world," said program coordinator M.L. Liebler, a lecturer in the English department.

Wayne State's learning communities were created to provide students with a greater connection to their studies, infusing camaraderie as they attend classes and events with like-minded Warriors and faculty. Each community provides study sessions, tutoring, peer mentors, and community service events. To learn more, go to

Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.