The University of Michigan has been making concerted efforts to engage thoughtfully and purposefully with the city of Detroit. To that aim, the recent inception of the Detroit Advisory Group gathers faculty leaders and community advocates to collaborate “on Detroit-related matters, emphasizing strategic direction, engagement, programming and infrastructure.” In her February 12, 2019, piece for The University Record titled “U-M establishes advisory group to integrate Detroit engagement,” Lauren Love details the group’s goals and names its members, including Ford professors Elisabeth Gerber, H. Luke Shaefer and Robert Hampshire.
James Holloway, who chairs the group, emphasizes the intentionality of such efforts, stating that “we are formally bringing together faculty and staff who are highly engaged in Detroit who will strengthen and deepen our networks of knowledge across the institution.” Each of the Ford faculty chosen to join the council brings their own policy perspective to that aim. Gerber’s research often hones in on intergovernmental cooperation in U.S. metro areas, and she is a research lead for the the Detroit Metropolitan Area Communities Study (DMACS), a U-M initiative, designed to regularly survey a broad, representative group of Detroit area residents about their communities, including their experiences, perceptions, priorities, and aspirations. Shaefer serves as director of Poverty Solutions, a multidisciplinary initiative to inform, seek out, and test new strategies for preventing and alleviating poverty, and through his research studies the effectiveness of the United States’ social safety net.
Robert Hampshire, who has extensive experience in both public and private sectors, will bring in his expertise on transportation policy and innovative mobility services. He has been tasked with a separate, but related research project to better understand potential barriers for engagement related to the Detroit Connector shuttle service. The study will examine patrons’ experience riding the shuttle.
Read more about the group’s creation and goals here.