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Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joining University of Michigan staff as visiting professor

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will join the University of Michigan staff in the fall as a visiting professor, the university announced on Thursday.

Lightfoot, who was the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to lead the city, will join the Ford School of Public Policy to co-teach a strategic public policy consulting class. According to a news release, graduate students will pair with social impact not-for-profit organizations in Chicago and Michigan "to solve challenges those groups are facing in the delivery of services in their respective communities."

"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," Lightfoot said in a statement. "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 served as mayor from 2019 to 2023 before losing her reelection bid. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1984.

Additionally, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will return to the university as a visiting professor in the fall. De Blasio, who served as mayor from 2014 to 2021, joined U of M staff this past winter. He will return to teach the class "When policy meets politics: How real change is made."

"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," said Ford School dean Celeste Watkins-Hayes in a statement.

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