Leveraging Assets for Student Success

My grandmother, Mrs. Thelma Robinson and my parents, Rev. Dorothy Hudson and Mr. Truman Hudson, Sr. served as my first role models in the field of community building.

Similarly, teachers in Detroit Public Schools and WSU, provided me with the guidance and support that sparked my interest in the work I do.

During my undergraduate and graduate years at WSU, faculty and staff like Rev. Dr Percy L. Moore, Mr. Howard Finley, Mr. Glenn McIntosh, Dr. Yongo Bure, Dr. Theodrick Morton, Ms. Pamela Dale, The Honorable Jackie L. Currie, and Ms. Mary Dickson taught me the importance of investing in student’s success. Whether it was a kind word or academic and career counseling, mentorship or friendship, each deposited valued resources that were instrumental to my current body of work.

Due in part to their investment in me, I am indebted to pay it forward to other scholars.

As an action researcher, my work is grounded in the asset-based framework and undergirded in the human capital philosophy. Both ideologies posits people, communities and institutions have the resources necessary for developing, implementing, monitoring and adjusting strategies that are needed for advancing a common agenda.

With the goal of ensuring that students, the university and community allies achieve their missions, I intentionally identify and develop school-community partnerships that allow students to connect theory and practice to their lived experiences. In working with community partners, students’ leverage their creative energy and capital to explore and present potential solutions that address partners’ identified concerns.

Having joint appointments in the College of Education (COE) and School of Medicine (SOM), I have been privileged to work on some groundbreaking projects.

In the case of COE, I am responsible for leading the outreach and marketing efforts for our Metro Detroit TRUE Project. Funded by the US Department of Education, the primary aim of TRUE is to increase the number of classroom teachers in science and math instruction in Dearborn Public Schools and Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Additionally, through my role as an instructor in College of Education I have codesigned and facilitated courses in our LGBTQ+ Studies and Education Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to support students’ engagement in identifying strategies for creating and supporting more inclusive academic environments that address multiple and interlocking systems of oppression.

As the contract manager for a Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) awarded project in the School of Medicine, I am responsible for working with our colleagues to identify and design a best practice framework for engaging black men in the development of a cancer health equity research agenda in Detroit.

Working with colleagues at WSU has been instrumental to my success.

Earlier in my academic career at WSU, I taught in our Nonprofit Sector Studies (NPSS) program (2000-2009). In my courses I partnered with various departments to place NPSS students with meaningful academic service learning projects. Post my transition from WSU in 2009, I saw value in leveraging the rich assets of the university to support learning in the community. Thus, I continued to partner with colleagues from various programs like APEX Scholar. As recent as 2015, through my work with My Brother's Keeper-Detroit Strategic Action & Assets Committee, I worked with Dr. Mark Jackson and his team in the APEX Scholars program to increase urban youth exposure to higher education. Similarly, I have worked with Dr. Leonard A. Savala, III and Mr. Joseph Bradfield in our Office of Multicultural Student Engagement to provide additional support to first generation students.

Currently, I am working with principals at Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Brewer Academy, Detroit International Academy and Douglass Academy to codesign a new student success program, YOUExplore Fellowship.

With a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), YOUExplore fellows from Brewer, Detroit International and Douglass academies will engage in placed-based action research experiences.

Knowing that there is more work to be done keeps me grounded in my work. I have adopted the philosophy that students’ success is central to my success in research, teaching and service in and outside the classroom.

By Hudson Truman, Jr.

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