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ProfTALK: 'City is Our Campus' is CSU Profs' Motto

From time to time, Cleveland State University will profile new faculty members with a “getting to know you” feature called ProfTALK. Learn about your prof’s background, bona fides and how they contribute to the momentum of Engaged Learning. Then get behind the desk and learn a little more about what makes them tick. This time, we visit with two CSU profs who understand the criticality of the words “the city is our campus” and vice versa!

Meet Leah Hudnall, M.A. and Markita C. Warren, Ph.D.!

Lea Hudnall ProftalkLeah Hudnall, M.A.

M.A., Nonprofit Administration, John Carroll University

B.A., Communication and Culture, Howard University 

Back in August, City of Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb appointed Cleveland State University College of Education and Public Affairs (CEPA) Assistant Professor of Practice, Leah D. Hudnall, to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) Board of Education. Professor Hudnall also joined the faculty of CEPA’s School of Urban Affairs in 2022 and is teaching undergraduate courses in nonprofit leadership and administration, contemporary urban issues, urban studies, and the African American experience this fall.

She also serves as a board member of Birthing Beautiful Communities, The Land, and Cleveland VOTES. In 2020, Hudnall founded The Legacy Perspective, a civic consulting firm that offers project management, community engagement, and communications services to its client partners. Her professional journey has included roles the KeyBank Foundation, Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland, the George Gund Foundation, and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

What three words come to mind when you think of Cleveland State University?

Accessible, local, proximate.

What is a common question you get from CSU students?

Being so new to the university, I haven't fielded many questions yet.

What do you like most about teaching and why?

The opportunity to connect with leaders of tomorrow.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My family loves to bounce around the greater CLE area. We find activities suitable for our intergenerational family - spanning in age from 4 months to 80+ yrs.

Where is your favorite place in Cleveland and why?

My grandparents' home in the Lee-Harvard, Miles-Seville neighborhood of Cleveland. They had the home built in 1969. It reminds me of where I come from and also where I'd like to go in my work in the community.

What is a “fun fact” about you that many people may not know about you?

I'm very creative - when I had time, I was deep into arts and crafts.

What is your personal motto/mantra/axiom?

“Those closest to the pain, should be closest to the power.” - Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts' 7th Congressional District.


Markita Warren ProftalkMarkita C. Warren, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Urban Education, Policy Studies, Cleveland State University

M.Ed., Secondary Education, John Carroll University

B.A., English Language, Literature, and Writing, John Carroll University

Dr. Warren is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the College of Education and Public Affairs, Department of Teacher Education. In this role, she teaches Middle School Methodology and Literacy courses. Her research interests include the linguistic needs of African American students, diversifying K-12 curriculum, culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies, and the experiences of Black or urban students in educational settings. She has presented her work at several conferences and is a reviewer for the Journal of Negro Education. Prior to higher education, Dr. Warren served as a practitioner, coach, and leader in multiple school districts and non-profit educational organizations for 15 years and was recognized as a Top 100 RESA Educator by the Ohio Department of Education and received an Excellence in Teaching award from CSU.

What three words come to mind when you think of Cleveland State University?

Student-centered, community, accessibility.

 What is a common question you get from Cleveland State University students?

“What was it like being a teacher in public schools?” or “Can you tell us a story about a 'particular moment/example' during your teaching experience?”

What do you like most about teaching and why?

Teaching is a unique opportunity to help others discover what they are most passionate about and delve into how those topics are related to others. I love being able to assist students in the process of learning and finding connections they are most intrigued by along the journey.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I like to sing, read, volunteer, and spend time with my family.

Where is your favorite place in Cleveland and why?

My favorite place is Mentor Headlands Beach. The serenity of the location and the view of Lake Erie is beautiful.

What is a “fun fact” about you that many people may not know about you?

I have a long history of music in my family (most of us sing or play an instrument). My grandmother, Helen Turner-Thompson is a history maker and preserver of Black gospel music. I also sing and have even released an album!

What is your personal motto/mantra/axiom?

“Nothing will work unless you do.” - Maya Angelou