University and College Centers (Undergraduate Programs)

The centers described below have programs pertaining to undergraduate study. A list of additional centers follows this list.

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute

Leonard Simons Building, Suite 268, 4809 Woodward Avenue
Telephone: 313-577-2654 or 1-888-978-4334; Fax: 313-577-3770
Director: Sharon Milberger, Sc.D; Email:

The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) is one of a national network of 67 University Centers of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), nationally and in U.S. territories. The Institute's mission is to contribute to the development of inclusive communities and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through a culturally-sensitive statewide program of interdisciplinary education, community support and services, and research and dissemination of information.

Staff and faculty engage in technical assistance, training, and research programs throughout Michigan via collaborative efforts with schools, community agencies, community colleges, and other universities. Over 10,000 individuals with disabilities benefit from these activities annually. The Graduate Certificate Program in Disabilities teaches evidence based practices to provide services that enhance the quality of life for people living with disabilities. MI-DDI also collaborates with the Wayne State University School of Medicine on the ARIE Co-Curricular clinical initiative, that assists first and second year medical students in obtaining volunteer hours while providing home visits to families that have children with disabilities. MI-DDI is the lead institution for the Michigan Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program (MI-LEND) Interdisciplinary training program. MI-LEND is a consortium of six Michigan universities including Wayne State University, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan/Dearborn, and Western Michigan University. The goal of the MI-LEND program is to improve the health and well-being of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. This goal is accomplished by preparing graduate and post-graduate level trainees from diverse professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields, and by ensuring high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence.

The Institute develops activities and projects based on the needs of persons with disabilities and the communities in which they live and work. A 25-member Community Advisory Council, composed of representatives from key statewide organizations, caregivers, family members and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, meets quarterly to provide information and assistance to Institute staff and faculty in establishing priorities and evaluating activities.

Humanities Center

2226 Faculty/Administration Building
Telephone: 313-577-5471; Fax: 313-577-2843
Director: Walter F. Edwards, Ph.D.

The mission of the Humanities Center is to nurture interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and intradisciplinary work in the humanities and the arts through competitions, conferences, discussion groups and other programs for Wayne State's humanities and arts faculty and students, and for visiting scholars and artists. The Center promotes excellence in research and creative endeavors through rigorous peer review of proposals submitted to it for funding. By sponsoring programs that involve community participants, the Center supports the University's urban mission. Through its various programs, the Center brings humanists of diverse talents and interests together for conversation and collaboration, and fosters innovation and creativity across the humanistic disciplines.

The Humanities Center provides funding support to both faculty members and students. Two of the Center's most prominent faculty programs are the Marilyn Williamson Endowed Distinguished Faculty Fellowship (MWEDF) and  an annual themed Faculty Fellowship Competition. The Center awards either one or two Williamson fellowships a year, each worth $20,000, depending on the funds available in the  budget. Other faculty  award  programs  include  an annual themed the Faculty Fellowship Competition with between eight and ten recipients awarded up to $6,000 each. Prominent student programs are the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and the Graduate Travel  program.  The  Doctoral Dissertation Fellow will  receive $15,000 plus health care coverage if it is requested. Up to three smaller awards of $500 may be made at the discretion of the Center to applicants for the award. The Graduate Travel program encourages graduate students in the humanities and the arts to present their research or artistic work at national conferences and exhibitions by offering up to $300 in travel assistance to applicants. Please check the Humanities Center website for additional programs that provide funding opportunities for faculty.

Labor Studies Center

3178 Faculty/Administration Building
Telephone: 313-577-2191; Fax: 313-577-7726
Director: Gayle Hamilton

The Labor Studies Center is a comprehensive labor education center committed to strengthening the capacity of organized labor to represent the needs and interests of workers, while at the same time strengthening the University’s interdisciplinary research and teaching on labor and labor relations issues. The Center’s primary areas of research and practice include: training and technical assistance to unions on labor relations and workplace issues; an undergraduate labor studies major and internship program; interventions to increase the organizational effectiveness of unions; the development and diffusion of constructive labor-management relations practices, particularly in the public sector; the formation and institutionalization of labor-community coalitions; and the impact of lean production systems on workers and labor relations practice in the North American auto industry.

Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies

3324 Faculty/Administration Building
Telephone: 313-577-4378; Fax: 313-993-4073;
Director: Jorge L. Chinea, Ph.D.

The Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies is a multi-service unit engaged in teaching, research, and service. The Center plays an important role in the urban mission of Wayne State University and involves four components:

  1. The Center hosts two learning communities: the CBS Scholars Program and the College-to-Career Program. The first one recruits students into the University, facilitates their transition between high school and college, and promotes increased retention. The second program supports students through completion of their degrees and beyond, especially in the areas of career development and graduate school preparedness. It also offers courses and related educational activities for students interested in Latino and Latin American Studies.
  2. It promotes research on issues relevant to the Latino/a community, especially in the urban and workplace environment; and Latin American cultural studies and current issues.
  3. It creates and fosters the interaction and exchange of personnel and resources between the University and the Latino/a community; and it serves as a source of expertise on Latino issues to the larger metropolitan community.
  4. As an advocate for the awareness and advancement of Latino/a issues within the University, the Center contributes to the University's continuing efforts to create a richer multicultural campus environment.

Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics

1309 Faculty/Administration Building
Telephone: 313-577-8839
Director: Steven Kahn, Ph.D.

The Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a research and educational center with a two-fold mission: to find ways to significantly improve the quality of K-12 and introductory college-level mathematics instruction across the United States; and, by using mathematics as a tool, to provide students from inner cities and underrepresented minority groups with the kinds of educational and lifetime opportunities that should be available to all students.

The Center currently operates five core programs: the WSU Math Corps, an outreach program serving Detroit middle and high school students; the WSU Middle and High School Math Network, which provides day to day instructional and/or operational resources to Detroit are a middle and high school math departments; the Math Corps Learning Community at WSU, a University support and retention program for Math Corps "kids" now attending WSU; and the Emerging Scholars Program (ESP), a WSU honors-level calculus and pre-calculus program; and the Rising Scholars Program (RSP), serving WSU students at the developmental level.

All Center programs are based on a shared commitment to excellence and to fostering a sense of community.

Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute

71 East Ferry Ave.
Telephone: 313-664-2500; Fax: 313-664-2555
Director: Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D.

The Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute is an interdisciplinary research institute focusing on urban children and families. It has a long and distinguished history as a research and educational institution, serving as a pioneer in the field of child development and early education. Since it became a part of Wayne State University in 1982, the Institute has encouraged collaborations among faculty from many departments within the University.

The Institute emphasizes research, research training and community engagement and service in the areas of children’s health and development. Current research strengths range from prenatal exposures and child development, infant mental health, cognitive development of high risk infants as well as adolescent health and development. The service programs of the Institute are an outgrowth of its research mission. MPSI operates one of the nation’s oldest preschools. Community outreach and engagement through MPSI’s Healthier Urban Families Program includes training of mental health workers who serve very young children in the care of public and non-profit agencies; consultation to education and child care organizations; workshops for teachers, parents and the public; and the annual Metropolitan Detroit Teen Conference.

Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics

3127 Scott Hall; 540 E. Canfield
Telephone: 313-577-5323; Fax: 313-577-5218
Director: Lawrence I. Grossman, Ph.D.

The Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics is interdisciplinary by design, built around modern molecular genetics, and comprising basic researchers, physician-scientists, computational scientists, and genetic counselors. The diversity of the Center's members and their backgrounds enables activities that range from basic research to clinical genetics to translation to the bedside and, in some cases, to a biotech company. The underlying goal is excellence in molecular biology, molecular medicine, and genetics to increase the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease. The Center occupies over 28,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art space, including both open and closed laboratories, faculty offices, equipment and special procedure rooms, conference and interaction areas, and a server room to support the Center's faculty, staff and students.

Students in the Center participate in research on gene expression and regulation, including the role of DNA-protein interactions and DNA methylation; the structure, function, and evolution of genes; molecular cytogenetics, genome organization, and mammalian gene mapping; long non-coding RNA discovery and characterization; human reproductive biology; protein-protein interactions; cellular stress responses; mitochondrial biology and genetics; neuroscience and the genetic basis for neurological disease; computational biology and bioinformatics. Considerable emphasis is placed on human and mammalian model systems and on understanding human molecular genetic diseases.

Faculty members of the Center often invite undergraduate students to volunteer in their laboratories, which is an outstanding opportunity for undergraduates to gain experience. The Center encourages students to view the profiles of the faculty and directly contact a professor to inquire about volunteering. In addition, each summer the Center hosts an exclusive Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), from which many undergraduate students have moved on to prestigious universities and programs to pursue graduate degrees.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

Opportunities for research in Molecular Medicine and Genetics are available each summer as part of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics SURP. The program provides sophomore and junior undergraduate students with experience in the research laboratories of the Center, located at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Over the course of the summer students work in the laboratories of Center faculty members and attended weekly research seminars. When the program ends in August the students present their work to their mentors, peers, and the WSU research community at a symposium.

Center to Advance Palliative-Care Excellence  (CAPEWAYNE)

4201 St. Antoine, Suite 5C-UHC
Telephone: 313-577-5751; Fax: 313-745-4710

CAPEWAYNE is an interdisciplinary academic center bringing together scholars, educators, researchers and clinicians dedicated to improving the quality of end-of-life care. The main focus areas of this center are education, research and clinical practice, all of which permeated by the field of humanities.

Education: The Center offers an end-of-life curriculum for students, trainees and clinicians across disciplines and levels of training.

Research: The Center gathers researchers who have a shared interest in the conduct of collaborative, interdisciplinary interdepartmental research. Current research projects include evaluating the impact of a palliative care curriculum, called the Compassionate Allies, sponsored by Seasons Hospice Foundation, on the skills and attitudes of pre-medical students.

Clinical Practice: The Center provides resources to clinicians across disciplines and settings that practice palliative care, through a paradigm of sharing and ensuring optimization of clinical care in our community.

Center for Peace and Conflict Studies

2320 Faculty/Administration Building
Telephone: 313-577-3453; Fax: 313-577-8269
Director: Frederic S. Pearson

On November 20, 1965, the Center for Teaching about War and Peace opened its doors under the leadership of Director Russell Broadhead and a committee of distinguished faculty members. The mission then was to provide interdisciplinary, University-wide, academic programs in the field of domestic and international conflict and peace issues. In 1987, the WSU Board of Governors, building upon this rich heritage, created the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

The mission of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies is to develop and implement projects, programs, curricula, research, and publications in areas of scholarship related to international and domestic peace, war, social justice, arms control, globalization, multi-cultural awareness and constructive conflict resolution. The Center addresses this mission in three ways. CPCS supports undergraduate and graduate student excellence through its academic programs. CPCS staff and students engage in scholarly research initiatives on aspects of domestic and international conflict management. CPCS provides community outreach programs that emphasize: conflict resolution, development of inter-cultural understanding, and enhance local knowledge of global affairs.

In 2010, the Center added a Graduate Certificate in Peace and Security Studies to its curricular offerings, a program adding an important credential to master's programs for careers ranging from diplomacy and military affairs to negotiations, violence prevention, education, social service, border security and administration of justice.

Center for Urban Studies 

5700 Cass Avenue, Room 2207 Academic/Administration Building
Telephone: 313-577-2208; Fax: 313-577-1274
Director: Lyke Thompson, Ph.D.; Email:
Managing Director: Charo Hulleza, M.P.A; Email:

The mission of Wayne State University's (WSU) Center for Urban Studies (Center) is to improve the understanding of and provide innovative responses to urban challenges and opportunities. Since 1967, the Center has been committed to serving Detroit and its metropolitan area by conducting and disseminating research, developing policies and programs, and providing training, capacity-building, and technical assistance. The Center is deeply engaged in program evaluation and policy analysis in a range of areas. Through these approaches, the Center participates in defining and influencing local, regional, state and national urban policy. We work with communities, government, institutions and policymakers to transform knowledge into action. The vast majority of the Center's funding comes from grants and contracts with our customers and partners.

The Center facilitates a wide array of demonstration and research projects through a staff of Ph.D. and master's level professionals skilled in social and behavioral science techniques ranging from surveys and focus groups to GIS mapping and information systems development and implementation. The Center employs and engages many students with backgrounds in sociology, psychology, economics, political science, and business administration. The Center collaborates with University faculty who consult on methodological and substantive questions.

Most of the Center's work is focused within six substantive research areas:

  • Healthy Homes
  • Early Childhood and Disabilities
  • Urban Safety
  • AmeriCorps
  • Urban Health
  • Survey Research

The Healthy Homes Unit supports eliminating housing-based health hazards for at-risk populations through research, performance management systems and facilitation. This unit is deeply involved in local and national efforts to eliminate environmental hazards from homes.

The Early Childhood and Disabilities Unit evaluates programs and conducts performance measurements geared to improve the lives of people, including children and students, with developmental delay or disabilities. Evaluation results are used to improve service delivery in programs across the state of Michigan.

The Urban Safety Unit focuses on identifying and implementing collaborative solutions to reduce crime in select Detroit neighborhoods and other Michigan communities. While these urban safety efforts primarily target the Detroit area, many of the research efforts can be expanded at a national level as effective practices for reducing crime and increasing resident guardianship.

The Center's AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project is working with Detroit residents to organize and harden their homes to prevent crime in their neighborhoods. Through these efforts and those of the Midtown CompStat Initiative (collaboration between WSU Police, the Center, and other organizations), crime in Midtown Detroit is down over 50% since 2009.

The Urban Health Unit partners with local agencies to conduct community-based participatory program evaluation research on specific urban health issues such as HIV/AIDS and obesity. Research and evaluation results have improved program delivery and have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

The Survey Research Unit uses the latest computer-aided telephone interview and field data collection methodologies on a variety of research projects for Wayne State faculty and departments and for government departments and community initiatives.

Through these endeavors the Center has major financial and health impacts on the Detroit community while furthering the deeper understanding of our urban challenges.

Other WSU Centers and Institutes

Other Wayne State University Centers and Institutes that may provide opportunities for undergraduates:

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
4100 John R., 2nd Floor; 313-576-8670; Fax: 313-576-8668
President and CEO: Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D.

Bioengineering Center
818 W. Hancock, Bioengineering Bldg.; 313-577-0252; Fax: 313-577-8333
Director: King H. Yang

Cardiovascular Research Institute
4360 Scott Hall; 313-577-4630; FAX: 313-577-8615
Director: Karin Przyklenk, Ph.D.

Center for Automotive Research
2121 Engineering; 313-577-3887; Fax: 313-577-8789
Director: Naiem A. Henein, Ph.D.

Center for Social Work Research
5447 Woodward Avenue; 313-577-4419; Fax 313-577-8770
Director: Joanne Sobeck, Ph.D.

Center for the Study of Citizenship
3155 Faculty/Admin. Bldg.; 313-577-6140; Fax: 313-577-6987
Director: Marc W. Kruman, Ph.D.

Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies
2311 Faculty/Admin. Bldg.; 313-577-2679; Fax: 313-577-8136
Director: Howard Lupovitch, Ph.D.

Confucius Institute
Manoogian Hall, Suite 4199; 313-577-0129
Director: John Brender, Ph.D.

C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development
275 E. Hancock; 313-577-1337; Fax: 313-577-85
Interim Director: Chaur-Dong Hsu, M.D.-M.P.H.

Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues
Walter P. Reuther Library, 5401 Cass Ave.; 313-577-2191; Fax: 313-577-5359
Director: Marick F. Masters, Ph.D.

Institute for Learning and Performance Improvement
339 Education Bldg.; 313-577-5139; Fax: 313-577-1693
Director: Ingrid Guerra-López, Ph.D.

Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
6135 Woodward Ave., Suite 2115; 313-577-6590; Fax 313-972-8025
Director: Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D.

Institute of Gerontology
87 E. Ferry St.;
226 Knapp Bldg.; 313-577-2297; Fax: 313-664-2667
Director: Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

School of Medicine Ligon Research Center of Vision
K220 Kresge Eye Institute; 313-577-1325; Fax: 313-577-1486
Director: Gary Abrams, M.D.

Manufacturing Information Systems Center
Mike Ilitch School of Business, 5229 Cass Ave.; 313-577-4545; Fax: 313-577-4880
Director: Arik Ragowsky, Ph.D.