Wayne State University — Coleman A. Young Foundation Endowed Chair of Urban Affairs

Wayne State University invites applications for a nationally prominent academic to be hired at a senior rank to hold the Coleman A. Young Foundation Endowed Chair in Urban Affairs. The successful candidate’s assignment will be held jointly in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Law School. The holder of the chair will be referred to as the Coleman A. Young Chair and will embody the namesake’s commitment to Detroit and political/racial equity.

The University

Wayne State University, founded in 1868, is a nationally recognized public, urban research university in Detroit. Wayne State is Michigan’s only urban research university and is known internationally for its scholarly contributions. Committed to educational opportunity, research and community enrichment, Wayne State serves a critical role in Michigan’s higher education landscape. It is one of only a few institutions (among them the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, Harvard and Stanford) to hold the highest Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching designations in both research and community engagement.

Wayne State University’s campus, located in the University Cultural Center and Historic District in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, encompasses approximately 200 acres.  Wayne State enrolls nearly 27,000 students, making it the third largest among Michigan’s 15 public universities and one of the 50 largest in the nation. Wayne State boasts the most diverse student body among Michigan’s public universities with students from 48 states and more than 70 countries.

Wayne State University commits to its urban research mission by continuing to provide access and opportunity to higher education for students of all backgrounds in order to nurture the next generation of professionals who will use their education to advance the causes of civil rights and social justice in all threads of society and to meet the needs of our Detroit and surrounding communities. It is essential that the staff and faculty of the University reflect this diversity and represent Wayne State University’s reputation for excellence in research, creative expression, and as a leader for equal justice.

The Position and the Opportunity

Coleman A. Young, who served as Detroit’s mayor for 20 years, endowed the Coleman A. Young Endowed Chair in Urban Affairs. Young’s early years of achievement were marked by his path-breaking work in the fields of labor and civil rights and, later, by his work in the areas of urban politics and urban development. He established the Coleman A. Young Foundation (CAYF) in 1982. Its mission is to develop leadership among youth through college scholarships, mentoring and other support for personal growth and development. More information on the CAYF and its scholars program can be found at: http://www.cayf.org/. He was also the first holder of the Chair at Wayne State. The mayor left office in 1993. He died four years later. CAYF is a living legacy of his lifetime of work. All of the assets that he earned were left to the foundation to provide opportunities for future generations in the city that was his life. Since 1986, the foundation has awarded more than 500 scholarships.

The Coleman A. Young Foundation Endowed Chair was established to recognize academic and relevant achievement and to promote the field of urban and policy affairs at Wayne State University in the context of Detroit. The position provides a unique opportunity to promote high-impact activities and research on matters central to modern urban affairs. The holder of the chair will occupy a highly visible and influential position in the university, the metropolitan Detroit area and the broader community by playing a thought leadership role on issues of urban affairs in academia. She or he will be expected to have a close relationship with the CAYF as well as other Detroit foundations and nonprofit groups.

The holder of the CAYF Endowed Chair will collaborate with faculty members on their research and teaching in the broad areas of urban affairs, social justice, civil rights, race relations, urban health policy, social economics, public administration and law. This is a senior rank professorship with a competitive nine-month salary. There are funds available for research support, travel and research assistance from the CAYF chair endowment.

The chair will promote leadership, research and teaching in urban-related areas, e.g. urban government policies, social issues, civil rights, racial disparities in housing and health care, social justice, urban studies, race relations, law, and public policy. The chair will also generate external support for research and public service and enhance interaction between the university, the city of Detroit, the Coleman A. Young Foundation, and the diverse communities in the metropolitan Detroit area.

Qualities and Qualifications

Ideal candidates will have many of the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

The minimum qualifications are: (a) an earned doctorate and/or a JD; (b) a substantial record of published work based either on research or reflections on practice; or (c) career experience in related government or foundation management, urban policy,  health policy, social justice policy, or a related field; and (d) a record of direct involvement in public service achievement. The preferred candidates will have: (a) a commitment to labor, racial equity or health disparities; (b) significant and vital public service leadership experience; (c) a track record in securing funded research or community-based projects; (d) teaching excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels; and (e) a demonstrated commitment to Detroit and issues of race in a urban context. 

The Endowed Chair is expected to meet at least quarterly with CAYF to report activities and receive feedback. Application review will begin in November 1, 2020 and continue until the position is filled. Applications should submit a CV, cover letter, research statement, teaching statement, up to three publications/preprints, and three letters of reference to the job posting on the WSU Online Hiring System.  To apply, go to jobs.wayne.edu and search for posting number 045258.

Wayne State University is a premier, public, urban research (R1) university located in the heart of Detroit where students from all backgrounds are offered a rich, high quality education.  Our deep rooted commitment to excellence, collaboration, integrity, diversity and inclusion creates exceptional educational opportunities preparing students for success in a diverse, global society.  WSU encourages applications from women, people of color and other underrepresented people.  WSU is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.