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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Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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