Welcome to Professor Darry Powell-Young

by Jade Ryerson

The Honors Program is excited to introduce Prof. Darry Powell-Young (he/him). He comes to DePaul from Wayne State University, where he is completing his Ph.D. in Political Science. Prior to coming to DePaul, he taught at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.

In the fall of 2021, Prof. Powell-Young will teach a section of HON 208/302 focused on Race & Urban Public Policy, which will provide “an in-depth look at different ways to consider race and political representation in America and how race has been intertwined with policy development in the 20th and 21st centuries.” After a year of teaching online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Powell-Young is eager to get back into the classroom in the fall. He is excited to teach HON 208 as an in-person seminar, since he greatly enjoys engaging students in critical dialogue, assisting in shaping their opinions about various topics, and helping them to be socially aware. Teaching online required a big adjustment for Prof. Powell-Young, since he has been teaching in-person for a decade. His first teaching job was at his own alma mater, Lincoln Park High School. After teaching there for three years, he continued to teach throughout his time in graduate school. He has taught courses about American politics, urban politics, and social science research methods and statistics.

The topics of these courses closely align with Prof. Powell-Young’s own research interests. Focusing on Chicago Public Schools and the city’s system of mayoral control in particular, his dissertation investigates whether city mayors affect academic achievement among Black male students. He discovered that mayoral control does impact academic achievement, especially as it relates to financing and different levels of funding for schools across the city, and his research supports the city’s transition to a fully elected school board, an issue that state lawmakers voted and passed a bill on in June 2021.

Prof. Powell-Young plans to extend his research to different cities, including the District of Columbia where the school board is modeled on Boston and Chicago’s system of mayoral control. In addition to researching education in the nation’s capital, Prof. Powell-Young hopes to work there one day. He wants to become a policy analyst for secondary and post-secondary education in the U.S. Department of Education and work his way up to become a Director in the Office for Civil Rights.

Prof. Powell-Young’s lifelong passion for education was instilled in him at an early age by his mother, father, and grandmother. He remembers that his family has always been pro-education, advocating for it as a “ticket to whatever you want to do in life.” He attributes where he is today to all of their love and support. Similarly, he has been fascinated by politics since a young age. He recalls being the only ten-year-old he knew who avidly watched Meet the Press.

In addition to keeping his nose to the grindstone, Prof. Powell-Young’s mother provided him with one of his all-time favorite memories. She surprised him with tickets to the Price is Right for his twenty-first birthday. He was even one of the first four contestants and played Cliff Hangers for kitchen appliances, although he lost by five dollars. He fondly remembers spinning the big wheel, but went over by a dime.

Originally from the South Shore neighborhood, Prof. Powell-Young is excited to be back home in Chicago. He’s looking forward to spending time with friends and hitting up Navy Pier—where he had his first job at a Häagen-Dazs—to see how things have changed. Until he takes Washington by storm, we at DePaul can count ourselves lucky to have him. Welcome, Prof. Powell-Young!

(Prof. Powell-Young will also be teaching PSC 223 Urban Politics in the fall. Tell your friends!)

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