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From City Hall to lecture hall:
ex-mayor teaches on New Haven

For years, Yale undergraduates have studied their adopted hometown in a political science course called "New Haven and the American City." Now they'll learn it from a man who lived it: John DeStefano, who this week finished a 20-year run as New Haven's mayor and this month will take on a new role as a Yale instructor.

"I approach it as a practitioner rather than an academic,” DeStefano tells the New Haven Register.

Teaching will be a sideline for DeStefano, whose bachelor's and master's degrees come from the University of Connecticut: his new day job is as an executive at a community development bank.

"New Haven and the American City" has been taught by political scientist and management professor Doug Rae (who served a short stint at City Hall under DeStefano's predecessor, Mayor John Daniels); architecture professor Alan Plattus ’76; and Elihu Rubin ’99, an assistant professor of architecture and urban studies. After reviewing their syllabi, DeStefano decided to put together his own reading list: "I don’t think you can do someone else’s story; you should do your own story."

Sprinkled with DeStefano's own speeches, the reading list also includes classic urbanist subjects, such as New York City builder Robert Moses (Yale class of 1909) and Jane Jacobs, as well as New Haven-specific texts by Rae, former Yale Law School professor Robert Solomon, and the New Yorker's William Finnegan. Hizzoner will focus on issues that dominated his two decades in office: crime, education, immigration, and the role of Yale in New Haven.

In the fall, he'll teach a similar course to graduate students at nearby Southern Connecticut State University.

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