Aim of the Collaborative


The Mission of the Leonard Kaplan Education Collaborative for Critical Urban Studies is to facilitate active research, service and dialogue in P-20 education among researchers, educators, and community members to better understand the relationships among urban youth, knowledge, social justice, and educational institutions and to promote, and advocate for, effective and excellent, urban education.

Needs/Rationale Statement

The quality and cost of public education has become a topic of general concern in our metropolitan region and beyond. While increased public concern is good news for those who care deeply about educational quality, the complexity of the public educational domain, and its politicization within debates over the direction of our region, make it a topic that has attracted much heat and little light.

As an urban public research university, Wayne State is uniquely positioned to assist in fostering more informed, productive, and democratic dialogue and action around education and the public good. By contributing verifiable and substantiated locally-focused research and analysis supporting the broader public interest, the proposed Leonard Kaplan Education Center for Critical Urban Studies can create important educational knowledge with community groups, policy makers, media outlets, educators, and citizens. Through the Collaborative, Wayne State would advance its mission as an urban public research institution by enhancing the quality of scholarship and public discourse around an issue that is vital to both our democracy and our civil society. A dual emphasis on research and action would enhance the university’s dual Carnegie designations as both research intensive and as community engaged.


  1. Curriculum Development
    • To collaborate with faculty university-wide to create curricula that address the needs of the whole learner both on campus and in the community by including affective/social and emotional competencies and socio-cultural perspectives into our teaching and learning across the College, and by extension in the public schools of the region.
  2. Research Production
    • To conduct rigorous research on relevant current metro/urban/global educational issues, practices, and programs for the purpose of informing and guiding policy makers, decision makers, practitioners, and the general public.
  3. Research Publication and Dissemination
    • To be a primary educational research and policy resource by promoting the publication and dissemination of cutting edge theoretical and empirical interdisciplinary research related to locally-significant educational issues in peer-reviewed journals, practitioner and policy publications, news media, and other relevant venues that reach various segments of the population in metro Detroit and throughout Michigan.
  4. Service
    • To serve as a center of expertise and public engagement in metro Detroit, Michigan, and beyond, on urban education; to build knowledge and promote dialogue among various educational stakeholders (e.g., parents, educators, schools) about local, state, and national issues; and to build international partnerships with other academic institutions for the purpose of broadening knowledge among global urban educators, influencing policy development, and enhancing actions that lead to more equitable, inclusive, and excellent education for all.