September 4, 2023

Warriors in the Community, episode 21: The "Changing Detroit” course

Warriors in the Community on WWJ Newsradio 950

Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters.

In this episode, we interview political science professor Kevin Deegan-Krause, Ph.D., who leads a groundbreaking new Honors College course called “Changing Detroit,” which promotes civic activism and seeks deeper understanding of Detroit. In the process course participants learn tools of analysis that will allow them to make sense of any complex human system. Students learn how and why Detroit has changed and what active role they can play in transforming Detroit — or anywhere else — for the better. 


Intro: This is “Warriors in the Community” brought to you by Wayne State University, and now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our community, here is Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today I am with Kevin Deegan-Krause Ph.D., professor of Political Science, and the instructor of a groundbreaking course in our Honors College that potentially could have a major impact on how college students view our Detroit communities.

Give us a brief overview of this course that you teach.

Kevin Deegan-Krause: So, I have the great honor to teach a course called Honors 1000, Changing Detroit. This is a course that we teach to every single one of our incoming Honors students, and that course takes a deep dive into the city of Detroit.

Darrell Dawsey: What kind of information do students learn in this course and how does it help them as part of both WSU and our larger Detroit community?

Kevin Deegan-Krause
Kevin Deegan-Krause Ph.D., professor of Political Science.

Kevin Deegan-Krause: So, we take them from the very beginnings of the city all the way to the present day, we actually start with plate tectonics where Detroit was on those to where we are now, and we follow Native peoples in. And then we follow the Europeans in, and we follow the development of Detroit from a tiny trading post to in the early 19 hundreds, a bombshell — something that really had almost never been seen before on the planet. The explosion of the automobile industry, the fastest growing city in the world, one of the richest cities in the world and a city that really transformed for good and for bad, transformed the whole world.

Darrell Dawsey: Now, what kinds of impact do you expect students who take this course to have on our city?

Kevin Deegan-Krause: I think the first thing that we want to teach them is to be good guests in this city. Many of them do not live in the city, and so I want them first and foremost to come with respect, to come with curiosity, with a desire for knowledge and the ability to put aside some of those stories they may have heard about how Detroit used to be, but then beyond that, I want them to actually be able to think about how do we look at our own society? How do we look at the structures around us? How do we make sense of those? And then how do we do something about them?

Darrell Dawsey: Kevin Deegan-Krause, thank you so much for joining us.

Kevin Deegan-Krause: Thank you.

Extro: This has been “Warriors in the Community.” For more Wayne State News, please visit us online at and join us here next Monday at the same time for more warriors in the community.

Faculty spotlight


Darrell Dawsey
Phone: 313-577-1204

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