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Focus on Urban Education

The College of Education at Michigan State University works to create better educational opportunities for all people, especially those living in the most under-resourced areas of our state and nation. That is why the faculty recognizes a special imperative to support and address the challenges facing schools in urban settings.

The college has a record of successful partnerships in service to urban students and educators, and many efforts have been designed to help teachers and researchers gain the knowledge and experiences needed to affect positive change in urban contexts.

Preparing teachers

The College of Education offers an Urban Educators Cohort Program, urban-infused course sections and field experiences in partnering urban communities. Teacher candidates are often placed in urban school environments such as Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit for their required post-graduation internship.

Certificate in urban education for graduate students

Graduate students in the College of Education have an opportunity to study issues of urban education in greater depth through the Urban Specialization. This interdepartmental sequence of courses is primarily for doctoral students who have a particular interest in teaching and conducting research within the contexts of urban communities. Learn more by visiting the Urban Education Graduate Certificate website.

A Detroit headquarters

In 2010, the College of Education re-affirmed its long-standing commitment to improving educational outcomes in Detroit by establishing a local office in the MSU Detroit Center, at 3408 Woodward Ave. The building includes classroom space for MSU teaching interns, and for a range of education outreach activities in Southeast Michigan.

Working with the Skillman Foundation

The College of Education supports urban school improvement efforts in schools across the city of Detroit through partnerships with the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation, which is committed to developing good schools and neighborhoods for children. Most recently, MSU operated the foundation’s Good Schools Resources Center, providing a range of resources and professional development opportunities for schools that receive grants from the foundation.

Summer High School Scholars Program

Each year, up to 60 students from urban school districts spend four weeks on campus during the Summer High School Scholars Program. The college preparation experience includes living in dormitories, taking practice ACT tests and developing skills for writing, studying and using technology. With current MSU students as counselors, participants learn about issues of social justice and what it takes to achieve their dreams – especially in the kinesiology or education fields.

Based on the College of Education’s efforts to recruit promising future teachers while they are still in high school, the number of Detroit Public Schools graduates pursuing teacher preparation at MSU has more than tripled since 2003.

Urban Immersion Fellowship

The College of Education partners with Detroit Public Schools and Detroit non-profit agencies to provide MSU education students with in-depth exposure to the city of Detroit and community resources each summer. The seven-week Urban Immersion Fellowship includes experience teaching in urban settings, weekly workshops and a stipend.

Woodrow Wilson teaching fellowships (post-bachelor’s degree)

For prospective urban math or science teachers
Michigan State University recruits and prepares teachers to teach mathematics or science in Michigan’s urban schools through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship. The alternative teacher certification program is for recent college graduates and career-changers that have backgrounds in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Fellows complete a yearlong internship in Detroit or Grand Rapids schools and must commit to teach in an urban school district for three years.

For individuals of color
MSU also may nominate and enroll students for the Woodrow Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. The program supports individuals of color in becoming K-12 public school teachers, particularly in high-need urban or rural schools.