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Center Directors

Lyke Thompson, Ph.D.

Lyke Thompson became the Director of the Center in January, 2003. He has sought to streamline the administrative operations of the Center while improving the quality and increasing the quantity of research. He has worked to increase the number of doctoral-level staff and the range of projects undertaken with WSU faculty and staff.

Dr. Thompson has been teaching at Wayne State for about 14 years as a professor in the former College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs and in the Department of Political Science. He teaches program evaluation, urban administration, Detroit Politics, and Michigan Politics.

Dr. Thompson's research specializes on program evaluation and policy analysis, with recent concentration on community development, the effects of lead poisoning on children, disability policy, and the impact of term limits on state legislatures. He has published in the areas of urban labor markets, citizen attitudes about service delivery, welfare reform, service collaboration, evaluation theory and design, early childhood education, and training for people with disabilities.


Charo Hulleza
Managing Director


Charo Hulleza, Managing Director for the Center for Urban Studies, earned a Masters of Public Administration degree from Wayne State University after completing a B.A. degree in the political science program.

Ms. Hulleza's area of expertise is in public policy and program evaluation. She has been engaged in research with a focus on these areas for sixteen years. Her research is both quantitative and qualitative, centering on issues of policy analysis.

One of her major projects during her tenure has been the evaluation of Early On Michigan. This project is in its 13th year of implementation and the study has given Ms. Hulleza, and the various researchers who have worked with her, a rich, longitudinal perspective on a statewide initiative, tracing its evolution in a changing political environment.

She especially enjoys designing research protocol, including instrument development, piloting procedures, quantitative data analyses and interpretation, especially in the context of policy research. She plans to continue to be involved in studies/research that have the potential for improving the social conditions, especially for those in urban areas.

Program and Project Directors

David Martin, Ph.D.
(313) 577-6564

Urban Safety Program

The Urban Safety Program works with community organizations and government agencies on collaborative projects that address persistent public safety-related issues.

The Urban Safety Program conducts research on "best practices" and model programs, analyzes crime and community data, and provides technical assistance to community organizations and government agencies.

The program has developed several innovative projects including "Mapping Out Safe Routes to School," a program that engages youth in community problem-solving through GIS mapping technology; and "Taking Stock of Neighborhoods: A Community Statistical System Demonstration Project," an interactive GIS mapping website that provides community access to neighborhood-level statistics on social, economic and environmental conditions and trends.

Other initiatives have produced innovations in police crime mapping in consultation with the Detroit Police Department, and "Transforming Neighborhood Problem-Solving in Detroit," which brings together city government, city residents and WSU in a collaborative program seeking inventive solutions to persistent neighborhood problems.


Rachel Orlowski


Survey Research

The survey research unit gathers primary data through a variety of data collection techniques, providing clients/scholars with state-of-the-art methodologies for their research projects. SRU capabilities include: Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI), Computer Assisted Self-administered Interviews (CASI), community-based in-person interviews, focus groups, and mail surveys.

The unit has the capability to implement any and all phases of a project, from design and implementation to production of computerized data files and data analysis. The CATI facility employs 30 full-and part-time telephone interviewers with a full-time supervisor and computer programmer trained in the newest software programs.

CUS' Survey Research Unit has seen a recent increase in community-based research projects focusing on urban health issues. Recent research partners include: National Institute of Environmental Sciences and the University of Michigan School of Public Health, University of Michigan's School of Social Work, and the Urban Institute for the National Institute of Justice.



Lyke Thompson, Ph.D.
(313) 577-5209

Economic Development

The Economic Development Unit works on issues pertaining to municipal economic growth.  To this extent, the unit conducts research on “best practices” of municipal economic incentives, analyzes economic and survey data, and provides technical assistance to organizations and municipal governments.

The Economic Development Unit has conducted several economic impact studies which measure the economic contribution and impact of various organizations and groups through Southeast Michigan. The unit has also completed program evaluations for businesses and market vendors in the region, and has completed an extensive study on the foreclosure crisis in Macomb County.

Our research on economic development approaches, along with surveys of local governments throughout southeast Michigan has put us in a unique position to understand and work with these governments in a strategic manner to help bolster their local economies.


Charo Hulleza
(313) 577-8831


Early On Michigan

Beginning in 1993, a WSU research team has evaluated the effectiveness of Early On Michigan through a grant from the Michigan Department of Education. Early On Michigan coordinates early intervention services for children with disabilities or developmental delays and their families.

The Qualitative Compliance Information Project looks at whether Early On makes a difference for participating families and provides this information to the Michigan Department of Education and to the Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services. Data from the evaluation is valuable in ascertaining the progress of, and facilitating improvement in, service delivery.

The project surveys participating families, Early On professionals, and stakeholders on their satisfaction with various services being offered and the extent of implementation of these services through a range of data sources and investigations. The Project then examines the data collected and the data collection measures used for their usefulness, producing an annual Overview Report.


Charo Hulleza
(313) 577-8772

Evaluation Research

Evaluation research is the systematic application of research methodologies in assessing social intervention programs. The evaluations conducted by the ERU are methodologically rigorous and in keeping with state-of-the-art evaluation practice. Evaluations utilize responsive, culturally sensitive research approaches. The staff excels in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and is experienced in the design and implementation of Formative/Process and Summative/Outcome evaluation projects.

The ERU services range from complete evaluation design and implementation of large multi-site, multi-year evaluations to providing consultation or coaching to organizations preferring to build their internal evaluation capacity. Project management is also available, including management of multiple and simultaneous data collecting and processing activities.

Recent research partners include: The Skillman Foundation, Detroit Health Department, 36 th District Court, U.S. Department of Education, Detroit Public Schools, and the WSU College of Education.


Lyke Thompson
(313) 577-5209

Michigan Metropolitan Information Center (MIMIC)

The Michigan Metropolitan Information Center's (MIMIC) primary task is investigating, tracking and portraying demographic trends in urban population and housing in southeastern Michigan. Research also focuses on community development, needs assessment, location/site selection and affirmative action planning. MIMIC provides technical support to research projects, offers services to the general public, and serves as the coordinating agency in the Census' Bureau's State Data Center (SDC) network. MIMIC's expertise has recently been called upon in projects with United Way/Community Services, Detroit Data Partnership, the Skillman Foundation and City Connect Detroit.

Tracking diversity in Detroit is one of MIMICs major activities. Maps expressing trends and other demographic information are prepared daily and available through the CUS website. These Geographic Information System (GIS) maps assemble, store, manipulate and display geographically referenced information according to location. Changing neighborhood integration patterns are made comprehensible due to the use of GIS maps.

MIMIC's staff is currently developing a web-based system for use by Detroit-area social service agencies in proposal writing and grant application.