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Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to teach course at University of Michigan this fall

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS) -- Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be heading to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a visiting professor this fall.

Lightfoot—a 1984 graduate of U-M—will join the faculty of the Ford School of Public Policy as the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation policymaker in residence.

Lightfoot will co-teach a strategic public policy consulting class with Professor Jeffrey Morenoff. The course will pair grad students with nonprofits in Chicago and Michigan to help solve challenges the nonprofits are facing when it comes to delivery of services, U-M said.

"I have started a not-for-profit whose goal is to support community based organizations to build the internal infrastructure they need to remain viable for their communities," former Mayor Lightfoot said in a news release. "These organizations are in many instances critical assets in these neighborhoods and are essential for neighborhood vibrancy.

"To make this vision a reality, however, we need a large cadre of consultants who share this view about the importance of community-based organizations, and are willing to work at tables set by the community to share their time and talents in furtherance of building capacity and solving problems," Lightfoot continued.

Lightfoot served one term as Chicago's mayor, but lost her bid for reelection in the first round of voting last year. Current Mayor Brandon Johnson defeated Paul Vallas in the subsequent runoff election.

Most recently this past spring, Lightfoot has been in the headlines for being brought on to investigate Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard, amid claims that Henyard misused public funds. In May, Henyard vetoed the investigation that Lightfoot is set to lead, but village trustees overrode the veto.

In February of this year, Lightfoot engaged in a "fireside chat" moderated by U-M Ford School Dean  Celeste Watkins-Hayes about her background and the challenges she faced as mayor.

"We are delighted to welcome U-M alum Mayor Lori Lightfoot back to her alma mater," Watkins-Hayes said in a news release. "With her extensive experience as a public servant, Mayor Lightfoot will offer her insightful and multifaceted perspective to our students and inspire our future leaders to grapple with the opportunities and the deep complexities of leadership."

At the Ford School, Lightfoot will be joined by another household-name former big-city mayor. Bill de Blasio, who served two terms as mayor of New York City from 2014 through 2021 before leaving office due to term limits, will return to the school this fall after first beginning teaching there this past winter.

He will again teach the course, "When policy met politics: How real change is made."

"Last semester, I experienced the dynamic, focused nature of Ford School students," de Blasio said in the U-M news release. "I have never taught a more engaged and devoted group of students. I'm coming back this semester to help develop another great cohort of future American leaders."

Lightfoot and de Blasio were each the mayor of their respective cities in especially challenging times—including the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and the days of civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police that same year.

U-M noted that the two former mayors have "forged an enduring friendship."

"As former heads of two of America's largest cities, Lori Lightfoot and Bill de Blasio will offer our students a front-row seat into how local leaders influence important conversations happening at the local, state and national levels," Watkins-Hayes said in the release.

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