PERE Publications

A Foot in Both Worlds: Institutionalizing Progressive Community-­Engaged Research Centers within Universities

A Foot in Both Worlds: Institutionalizing Progressive Community-­Engaged Research Centers within Universities

By Jeffrey O. Sacha, Jared P. Sanchez, Ange-Marie Hancock, and Manuel Pastor

December 2013

A Foot in Both Worlds: Institutionalizing Progressive Community-­Engaged Research Centers within Universities explores the relationship between universities and the public through the recent development of progressive community-engaged research centers (PCERCs).

These centers are a relatively new forum through which community-engaged academic research is supported and conducted by universities. The progressive political orientation of PCERCs, including their work on policy change and community capacity building, sets them apart from more traditional research centers.

Our criteria for these centers—that they are both progressive and community-engaged—highlight the originality of these types of institutions. Not only do they embody true progressive principles such as research focused on inequality and power structures; but the centers are also involved in local struggles for social and racial equality and often have direct partnerships with community-based organizations.

The sustainability challenges and strategies for founding, funding, and institutionalizing PCERCs teach us important lessons about the state of university-supported, community-engaged scholarship.       

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