Spring, the season of growth, brings change. Among the changes this year in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) is that the Community Service Center is re-launching as the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE). The vision for IPRE is to integrate applied research and experiential education while addressing important problems facing Oregon communities, agencies, local governments, and nonprofits.
“Through stronger integration with the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, IPRE’s goal is to help solve problems and generate ideas, while training a new generation of professionals to work in the public and nonprofit sectors,” said Rich Margerum, head of the school.
Since 1973, the center-turned-institute has completed 800 projects in collaboration with hundreds of clients and more than 1,500 students. Built on more than 40 years of applied research and service to Oregon and beyond, IPRE will continue to collaborate with partners from across the state while involving students directly in substantive projects in areas such as:
- community engagement
- community resilience
- economic development
- entrepreneurship and business development
- food systems
- land use
- natural hazards
- natural resources management
- nonprofit management
- program and policy evaluation
- recreation and tourism
In addition, IPRE helps manage the applied capstone projects for PPPM’s three graduate programs: Community and Regional Planning, Nonprofit Management, and Public Administration.
Current activities of the institute include the following:
PPPM faculty members are collaborating with IPRE to research the “New Natural Resource Economy” in 10 eastern Oregon counties, identifying new mechanisms of production, consumption, and restoration that seek to enhance the natural resources that form the base of most rural economies.
PPPM, IPRE, and Lane County government are entering a new multiyear partnership to link researchers and student teams to address some of the difficult issues facing the county. PPPM has a policy lab office at the Lane County building and is starting to reach out to additional government partners.
PPPM student teams designed a fundraising plan for the Siuslaw Watershed Council and Wellsprings Friends School, developed a feasibility study for a new community foundation in Redmond, and produced a plan for a regional “Give Big” day.
IPRE faculty members and students are exploring the potential for innovation hubs, districts, and ecosystems to spur economic development and public-private sector partnerships in Eugene-Springfield.
In addition to the newly focused Institute for Policy Research and Engagement, PPPM is proposing a new doctoral program in planning and public affairs that would include concentrations in sustainable transportation, housing affordability and land use, and diverse community engagement.