Research and Centers

The School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy is home to four research centers that allow students to engage with faculty pursuing research in social and economic disparities, nonprofit, philanthropic and public sector capacity building, urban development and environmental planning, safety, policing, and criminal justice, family and youth services, and addressing community health gaps. More on each research center can be found below.

Center for Advancement of Youth Development (CAYD)

The Center for Advancement of Youth Development seeks to fill the gap for youth-serving organizations by providing their staff with opportunities to access high-quality training, evaluation, and technical assistance without leaving the community. CAYD works to develop strategies to identify and implement solutions to challenges confronting youth and families in distress.

Gregory Washington, Director
CAYD website

Institute for Interdisciplinary Memphis Partnerships to Advance Community Transformation (IIMPACT)

iIMPACT is an umbrella structure designed to transform community engagement and research within The University of Memphis. iIMPACT serves as a catalyst to ensure that the current and future initiatives consciously work to achieve the same goals. It is collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and designed to create a culture of health for children and families.  

Dr. Susan Elswick, Director
iIMPACT webage 

Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (IPNL)

The Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (IPNL) promotes effective philanthropy, advances nonprofit leadership practice, and strengthens the nonprofit sector through education and research. Our vision is to serve as a portal for 1) nonprofits to access the expertise and opportunities at the University of Memphis and 2) students and faculty to access the rich context available for engaged scholarship, service learning, and applied experiences.

Dr. Erin Nelson, Director
IPNL webpage 

Public Safety Institute (PSI)

The Public Safety Institute (PSI) at the University of Memphis is an interdisciplinary research center committed to identifying and advancing best practices in the field of public safety. Through the PSI, the University and the Crime Commission have entered a research-practice partnership to benefit the Memphis community. The goals of PSI are to help define and execute an applied research agenda tied to the local Operation: Safe Community plan; identify evidence-based and evidence-informed practices and solutions in the areas of crime prevention, intervention, and reduction; and organize forums and symposia to improve practices related to crime and public safety.

Bill Gibbons, Executive Director
PSI website

University of Memphis Design Collaborative (UMDC)

The University of Memphis Design Collaborative is a partnership between the Division of City and Regional Planning and the Department of Architecture. It serves as the university's outreach arm and focuses on community challenges in urban design and community development.

Andy Kitsinger, Director
UMDC website