Kaplan Center for Research on Urban Education

The Kaplan Center for Research on Urban Education has been renamed this past summer to reflect, honor the lifework and vision of Dr. Leonard Kaplan, an uncompromising advocate for the social and affective well-being of the "whole child" in America's schools. The Kaplan Center will carry forward his legacy by producing high-quality and interdisciplinary locally-relevant research for community organizations, educational stakeholders, regional education reporters, educational policy makers, and peer-reviewed journals.

A founding principle of the Kaplan Center is our belief that university faculty have a responsibility, as public servants, to enrich public dialogue in support of the public good.

The Role of Philanthropy in Urban Education Reform

Philanthropy, Equity, and Education Research

Na'ilah Suad Nasir, Presenter of 2nd Annual Distinguished Lecture in Urban Education
Na'ilah Suad Nasir

Na'ilah Suad Nasir is the sixth President of the Spencer Foundation which invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives. She held a faculty appointment at the University of California, Berkeley from 2008-2019, where she also served as Vice-Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion. Nasir earned her PhD in Educational Psychology at UCLA in 2000, and was a member of the faculty in the School of Education at Stanford University from 2000 – 2008. Her work focuses on issues of race, culture, learning, and identity. She is the author of Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement for African-American Youth and has published numerous scholarly articles. Nasir is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Join us on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, to focus on pressing matters centered on urban education, and discuss implications for policy, curriculum, teaching and learning, and school-community relations.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020 | 5 pm Reception | 6 - 8 pm Lecture & Panel

Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, Law School, 471 W. Palmer, Detroit, MI 48202



Pamela G. Alexander, panelist for 2nd Annual Distinguished Lecture in Urban Education
Pamela G.

Pamela Alexander is the Director of Community Development for Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. In this position she is responsible for leading Ford Fund's community engagement and outreach initiatives with key non-profit organizations throughout the U.S.





Wanda Cook-Robinson, panelist for 2nd Annual Distinguished Lecture in Urban Education

Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson is the Superintendent of Oakland County Schools. In this role she is applying her years of educational experience and vast leadership skills to support the academic achievement of over 200,000 students in Oakland County's 28 public school districts.





Nate McCaughtry, panelist for 2nd Annual Distinguished Lecture in Urban Education

Dr. Nate McCaughtry is a Professor and Assistant Dean for the Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies and the Director of Center for Health & Community Impact in the College of Education at Wayne State University.






Punita Dani Thurman, panelist for 2nd Annual Distinguished Lecture in Urban Education
Punita Dani

Punita Dani Thurman is Vice President of Program & Strategy, leading strategy and overseeing the execution of the Foundation's programmatic work