Higher Education and Human Resources

Davenport University names interim dean of College of Urban Education

April 14, 2015
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Davenport University names interim dean of College of Urban Education
Susan Gunn. Courtesy Davenport University

An experienced educator and faculty member who helped launch the College of Urban Education at Davenport University is now its interim dean.

Davenport University said last week that it has appointed Susan Gunn to the role.

New leadership

Gunn assumed the leadership role after the college’s founding dean, Andre Perry, resigned from the position to pursue consulting work and return to New Orleans to rejoin his wife and family, according to a statement by DU.

“Davenport University is deeply grateful for Dr. Perry’s considerable efforts to launch the college and develop its curriculum. This work will continue, with no loss to the progress we’ve seen thus far, under the able leadership of Dr. Susan Gunn,” the statement said.

Gunn said that the College of Urban Education “is a program I believe in.”

“I am looking forward to all the great things that are going to come through this college,” Gunn said. “And it already has a wonderful partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools. I think we are going to really make a difference.”

The role

As interim dean, Gunn will be assisted by faculty and staff to continue the development of the urban education college in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Gunn played “an instrumental role” in launching the college and its first graduate-level program cohort.

Linda Rinker, EVP of Academics and provost of Davenport University, said due to her expertise, Gunn is an ideal candidate to continue helping teachers and educators be prepared to effectively meet the needs of urban school districts in the state.

The college offers a master of urban education.

“She is a passionate and dedicated educator who strives to help students in urban environments understand a good education is a pathway to becoming productive citizens and achieving life goals,” Rinker said.

Career in academia

Gunn also serves as chair of the science department in the DU College of Arts and Sciences and joined Davenport as an assistant professor in 2010.

Throughout her career at DU, Gunn has also led the renovation of existing labs to improve air quality for students, development of a STEM-based community outreach academic summer camp program and created the new bachelor of science in biological laboratory science.

As an educator, Gunn has experience teaching at multiple academic levels, including Detroit-based Cass Technical High School, community college, graduate school and medical school.

“I am a product of urban schools, and I taught in urban schools. I am a scientist and an educator. My teaching experience is broad, and I know what it takes,” said Gunn in reference to providing exposure and opportunities for children in urban school settings. “It is not a traditional program. We are doing new things.”

Gunn holds a B.S. in education and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Michigan.

She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School. 

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