Mission Statement

Preparing a New Generation of Civil Rights Leaders.

Vision & Why

Purpose & Goals

The Youth Civil Rights Academy aims to prepare a new generation of civil rights leaders who will strengthen civil rights and social justice. Through both online and face-to-face educational experiences, young people will learn more about how to promote and defend their rights and how to create changes in their schools and communities.

Future civil rights leaders need to be more than just familiar with a handful of heroic figures; young people must have a deep understanding about diverse people of African, Asian, European, Latin American, Native American and Middle Eastern descent, and issues in their everyday lives.

They will be expected to understand identity, diversity, justice, and action, inclusive of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, religion, ability, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, through Youth Civil Rights Academy programs which include:

  • Campus ProgramsBring students to the University of Michigan for programs designed to prepare our next generation of civil rights leaders, as well as offer college preparation. Participants attend sessions designed to develop leadership skills, and build relationships between high school and university students.
  • School and Community Organizing – Reach out to schools and communities to discuss civil rights issues. We work with students and teachers to help them formulate curricula and integrate content in courses and activities.
  • Digital Stories & Courses Offer online courses in a variety of formats for targeted audiences, addressing modern civil rights issues which concern young people of diverse social identities, and providing a platform for collaborating and conversing with peers on topics of interest.
SYD

This resolution was developed by a group of young people and passed unanimously by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. “The resolution is a call to action for schools, school districts, and school boards to strengthen diversity training and civil rights education in Michigan schools. The efforts of MCRC to expand and improve civil rights education come in response to the state receiving a failing grade in teaching civil rights from the Southern Poverty Law Center.” Read more about it at April 1 Public Forum at U-M Dearborn on the State of Civil Rights Education in Michigan

Guiding Principles

The Youth Civil Rights Academy aligns itself with the University of Michigan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and values.

 

Diversity respects the wide range and variety of individuals and issues; equity refers to the fairness of giving voice to concerns that affect civil and human rights; and inclusion provides opportunity for participation in issues that affect these rights.
Our Team
Mitch Rosenwasser

Mitch Rosenwasser

YCRA Home Camp Director

Mitch Rosenwasser is Executive Director of Camp Michigania, U-M’s Alumni Association’s Family Camp. Mitch has 2 degrees from U-M in ’85 and ’90. Camp is a HUGE part of Mitch’s life! In 14 years on staff at Tamarack Camps, he was a supervisor, trip leader, Development Director, and for the last 20+ years, board member. He’s lectured and led trips at U-M’s New England Literature Program kitchen. He spent 8 years as CFO of a meeting / event planning company, until his Michigan and Camp passions collided, becoming executive director of Michigania in 2002. He has enhanced the camper experience, significantly improved camp’s infrastructure, led fundraising for multiple capital campaigns, while maintaining the history and traditions that make Michigania a place like no other.

Rachel Niemer

Rachel Niemer

Consultant

Rachel is the Director of Outreach & Access at the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan. She focuses on implementing the Academic Innovation DEI strategic plan, exploring new ways for faculty to engage the public with their scholarship, and understanding how our center can best recruit, support and celebrate faculty innovation. Prior to joining the Academic Innovation team, she worked with faculty and administrators to support teaching best practices as an Assistant Director at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at U-M. Before moving to Ann Arbor, she taught at University of Rochester and Gustavus Adolphus College.

Ellen Kuhn

Ellen Kuhn

Consultant

Ellen is a public engagement specialist at the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation. To support President Schlissel’s strategic focus area on faculty public engagement, Ellen builds partnerships with individuals and units around the University to foster engagement projects that are grounded in mutual trust, reciprocity, and empathy. She works collaboratively to enhance existing public engagement projects; build capacity for effective and ethical public engagement; connect public engagement projects around campus to one another; and foster new conversations between university and public stakeholders.

Elyse Aurbach

Elyse Aurbach

Consultant

As Public Engagement Lead at the Center for Academic Innovation, Elyse works to create opportunities for university and public partners can connect, collaborate, and learn from one another. Elyse leads strategy development for Academic Innovation’s part of the U-M Presidential strategic area of focus for faculty public engagement, conceptualizes and carries out projects in collaboration with faculty and staff, and develops opportunities for the campus community to come together and learn with and from one another.

James DeVaney

James DeVaney

Associate Vice Provost for the Center of Academic Innovation

James provides leadership for academic innovation at U-M. He leads the Office of Academic Innovation (AI) and strategic initiatives that span the university. James provides strategic and operational leadership for AI, including the Academic Innovation Labs (AI Labs), Academic Innovation Fund (AIF), and the Academic Innovation at Michigan (AIM) series. The three AI Labs – the Digital Education & Innovation Lab (DEIL), the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG), and the Gameful Learning Lab (GLL) – operate together at the intersection of curricular innovation, technology, and learning analytics in order to create a culture of innovation in learning. AI is shaping the future of learning at a 21st century research university and redefining public residential education. In his role overseeing AI, James is focused on creating catalysts for academic innovation and fostering personalized, engaged, and lifelong learning within the U-M community and around the world. James is also responsible for U-M’s strategic partnerships with Coursera and edX.

Prior to his role at U-M, James was a senior director at Huron Consulting Group where he co-founded the firm’s global education and digital education practices. Previously, he lived in the United Arab Emirates where he established the firm’s presence in the MENA region. James has worked with and provided strategic counsel to more than 50 universities in more than 15 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. In addition to world-class research universities, James has advised startup colleges and universities, new educational ventures, international branch campuses, government agencies, national libraries, museums, think-tanks, social enterprise organizations, and K-12 focused nonprofits

Bryon Maxey

Bryon Maxey

Engagement Manager for the Center of Academic Innovation

Bryon collaborates with faculty and course teams to build and develop learning opportunities for Academic Innovation’s nascent and ongoing initiatives. He is intricately involved with ensuring the successful delivery of various Academic Innovation initiatives and relaying the benefit of that experience to inform future experimentation. In addition, Bryon contributes to the early stages of the initiative process, lending his expertise and perspective to design conversations as part of a multifaceted instructional team.

Prior to Academic Innovation, Bryon worked as a K-12 educator in both Detroit and Chicago. He also has experience as a statewide community organizer in Michigan.

Keesa V. Johnson

Keesa V. Johnson

Program Manager

Keesa V. Johnson is an award-winning learning designer, creative systems thinker, and culture creative.  She holds degrees in Media and information and is currently pursuing a Master of Integrative Design (MDes) degree at the University of Michigan Penny Stamps School of Art and Design which is one of the top 10 Art and Design Schools in the country.  Her knowledge spans across a variety of domains that intersect between art, science, design, and leadership.

In her role as the YCRA Program Manager she curates materials for the website, including recruiting participants and coordinating the design and creation of new youth stories and teacher resources. Ensure that youthcivilrights.org is kept up-to-date, coordinate specific events for youth and teachers to promote civil rights education, including a Youth Summit, Teacher Workshops, and a Civil Rights Camp

Lauren Atkins Budde

Lauren Atkins Budde

Director of Design Management for The Center of Academic Innovation

Lauren pulls together all of the skills, talent, and resources needed to bring a faculty member’s vision for digital learning opportunities to life by collaborating with faculty, course teams, instructional designers, digital media specialists and external platform partners to design, develop and deliver innovative and engaging digital courses and learning initiatives.

Prior to coming to AI, Lauren was an educational services lead at Seelio, working with colleges and universities across the U.S. to design and implement successful reflective eportfolio programs within and across curricula. Previously, she was an instructional technology consultant within the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts where she assisted faculty from a wide range of disciplines develop curricula and integrate technology-enabled learning opportunities, such as collaborative blogs, online literary journals, digital history projects, anti-plagiarism modules and flipped classrooms.

Roger Fisher

Roger Fisher

Co-Associate Director of IGR

Roger Fisher is a Co-Associate Director of The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR). In his role, Roger teaches training and practicum classes, directs IGR’s partnership with the School of Social Work on the Summer Youth Dialogue Program, performs high-level administrative functions for IGR, trains K-12 professionals, consults with other Higher Education institutions on dialogue programs and works on special Student Life projects. He is an U-M alumus and has a B.S. in Psychology and also did graduate work in Psychology. Roger has been a National Co-Lead Facilitator for LeaderShape Inc. for over 20 years. Roger feels motivated to do the work he does by the idea that citizenship is all about equal participation and shared power. He has a strong commitment to civic engagement and community activism. When he’s not working for IGR, Roger spends a lot of his time volunteering as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Power Inc.  He is also a music fan and aficionado of Motown era music.

Barry Checkoway

Barry Checkoway

Director

Professor Barry Checkoway is an internationally-recognized scholar and practitioner on youth empowerment, neighborhood development, and community change. His projects and publications draw on work with grassroots groups, community agencies, and government programs in the South Bronx, Detroit, Mississippi Delta, central Appalachia; and in South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with support from the World Health Organization, Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and other institutions.

He worked with the White House in 1990 to launch AmeriCorps, then served as founding director of the Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program, Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, Michigan Youth and Community Program, and Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity.

Collaborators