Collaborative Urban Problem-Solving:

Community-Based Studio

The UofM’s PhD in Urban Affairs program is designed to prepare graduates with the necessary skills in research, evaluation, and policy design to address the kinds of socioeconomic challenges that face Memphis and other cities like it. By providing training in evidence-based practice to local and regional professionals, the program will increase capacity to address urban challenges in Memphis and the Midsouth. 

The Ph.D. Program in Urban Affairs uses a two-course sequence, Collaborative Urban Problem Solving I and II, that allows doctoral students to engage with a community partner to collaboratively address community problems with interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise.  

Organizations that are selected to work alongside students in this capacity will benefit from having a team of dedicated doctoral-level researchers working to solve a critical issue. The course(s) will have a led faculty member who will work with the students and the organization to ensure that the final product provided to the organization meets their needs. 

The year-long studio sequence serves as the synthesis mechanism for the Urban Affairs and Public Policy PhD program, which is 1) interdisciplinary, 2) geared at preparing researchers to address urban or metropolitan issues, and 3) designed to give students the opportunity to learn through engaging in local research that benefits the greater Memphis community. 

QUALIFICATIONS: Organizations who apply must have the capacity to provide necessary workspace, data, and collaboration throughout the duration of the academic year. Organizations must also have a significantly sized project or idea that will require more than a few months' work. Organizations will help in shaping the end product, but must allow for students to develop the necessary tools (surveys, fieldwork, interviews, comprehensive literature reviews, organizational analysis, or environmental scanning) in order to provide a finished product to the organization at the conclusion of the year. 

Organizations interested in being considered the program should complete the online application here. (You can view a preview of the applicaiton here.)

For the 2024-2025 academic year, one organization will be chosen for the year-long studio. Applications will be accepted through February 8th, 2024, and decisions will be issued in mid-March.

Slides from the winter 2023/2024 interest meeting can be found here.

If you have further questions about this program or other SUAPP Initiatives, please contact Dr. Katherine Lambert-Pennington (k.lambert-pennington@memphis.edu).