About Detroit Initiative

We are a Service-Based Learning Course for undergraduate students at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. We partner with Detroit community organizations to expand students’ understanding and application of community psychology topics discussed in the classroom. Projects include such activities as facilitating after-school activities for elementary school-aged youth, developing community outreach activities, working on community education projects, and/or tutoring. This direct practice experience in the community based setting provides for greater understanding of course concepts, more in-depth learning, and a site for a community-based research project.


Established in 1995, the Detroit Initiative seeks to provide opportunities for students and faculty to engage in further education, service, and research in the Detroit area through a focus on community-identified priorities.


  • Work in partnership with organizations in Detroit and Wayne county
  • Respond to community-identified priorities and needs by linking University resources with community partners
  • Prepare students for graduate school, professional and/or leadership roles within communities and non-profits
  • Provide meaningful and relevant opportunities for student learning, reflection, and professional development
  • Increase student knowledge regarding community engaged methods, social justice, and multiculturalism in relationship to communities in Detroit