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 21 years as a professor in the Department of Political Science and in the former College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs. 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 and economic 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 has served as the Managing Director of WSU’s Center for Urban Studies since 2003. Her area of expertise lies in policy analysis and program evaluation. She has been engaged in research with a focus on these areas for over 20 years.
Charo provides research guidance to many of the Center’s key initiatives, including those involving primary data collection (surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.) in the area of early childhood, family supports, and special education. One of her major projects has been the evaluation of Early On Michigan. This project is in its 22nd year of implementation and the study has given Charo, 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.
Charo considers it a privilege to share her working knowledge of all aspects of research with other Center researchers, including protocol design, instrument development, piloting procedures, data analyses, and interpretation. She plans to continue to be involved in research studies that have the potential for improving social conditions, especially in urban settings.
Charo earned a Masters of Public Administration degree from Wayne State University in 1992, after completing a B.A. in Political Science from Oakland University.