As part of Marygrove’s larger focus on urban leadership, the College has formed what is known as the Marygrove Urban Agenda initiative (MUA). MUA was developed to help local high school students develop leadership skills to find ways they can have a positive impact on the communities where they live and go to school.
With help from a grant from Campus Compact and program leader Marygrove professor Tal Levy, fifty students from Mumford and Cody high schools came to Marygrove to discuss the concept of peer mediation as a way to find solutions to the problems of learning in their schools—specifically violence.
As these students are trained in peer mediation, they learn practical ways they can take control and manage difficult and/or violent situations. These “peer mediators,” then discuss the ideas with other students to advance the concept.
Levy’s inspiration for the MUA evolved from a Wayne State University Urban Agenda (UA) program. The original UA program was created by his mentor and friend, the late Otto Feinstein, a political scientist and activist for social justice from Wayne State University, Levy’s alma mater. The UA program was originally an exercise in political and civic literacy—it called for enhancing students’ understanding of the political process by participating in political gatherings with students from other colleges and universities.
When Levy started teaching at Marygrove in 2005, he introduced students of his introductory political science class to the UA program and then decided to create a program to fit the needs of Marygrove and its surrounding communities. He redesigned the UA program into the MUA.
“I especially like the idea of bringing local high school students to Marygrove and helping them try to solve some of the problems they experience at their respective schools and communities,” said Levy. “The students suggest fresh ideas to address problems and effective techniques to implement them. I also like the fact that Marygrove students participate in the program as role models for the high school students.”
Levy is also launching the Marygrove Urban Teaching Agenda (MUTA), also available by a grant from Campus Compact which just began this year.
“We are looking for both undergraduate and graduate Marygrove College students who have experience in tutoring Math and English,” said Levy. “We want them to volunteer their time at Mumford High School to help students who have difficulties in those subjects and one way to do it is by getting student tutors involved.”