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Wayne State to offer country's first college course on historic Detroit comeback

…New class to include guest lectures from Kevyn Orr, Kenneth Cockrel Jr. and more…

April 16, 2014

DETROIT--As the story of Detroit's historic transformation continues to twist and turn through its courtrooms, boardrooms and neighborhoods, Wayne State University today announced it will offer the country's first university-level course on the city's current restructuring efforts.

Detroit: Metropolis in Transition, a spring/summer semester course that will run from May 7 to July 23, is open for enrollment to all Wayne State students, guest students and non-degree-seeking professionals. It is structured as a guest-lecture series that will feature prominent speakers such as Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, former Interim Mayor of Detroit Kenneth Cockrel Jr., Detroit Free Press writer John Gallagher and Executive Director of the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority Paul Hillegonds and urban experts from WSU, including George Galster, Hilberry Professor of Urban Affairs.

In addition to weekly lectures from WSU professors, public officials, nonprofit managers and private sector leaders who are directly involved in Detroit's comeback plan, students will read classic texts to bring the city alive and take exclusive all-access field trips to destinations of interest throughout Detroit.

"This unique course from our Department of Urban Studies and Planning is an opportunity for students to reap the benefits of Wayne State's longstanding position as the state's premier urban, public research university," commented Wayne State University Provost, Margaret E. Winters. "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."

Detroit: Metropolis in Transition will cover Detroit's storied history before moving on to present-day issues such as its persistence as the largest metro area in the United States without a comprehensive rail-based public transit system and its frustrated attempts at regionalism. The course will close with presentations on future visions for the city, including a first-of-its-kind discussion about the progress of implementing the Detroit Future City Plan by its drafters.

"History is being made almost every day here in Detroit," said professor and chair of WSU's Department of Urban Studies and Planning Robin Boyle. "From urban economic development and housing to food planning and community development, there isn't a more dynamic urban environment in the world. Detroit: Metropolis in Transition will give people a chance to be part of history instead of learning about it in a class years from now."

Detroit: Metropolis in Transition is a three-hour course that will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays on Wayne State's main campus. Current Wayne State students can visit to enroll. Guest students from across the country can enroll at Non-degree-seeking visitors should call WSU's Educational Outreach department at 313-577-4682.