In the context of the communities we engage with, the Center for Community Research & Engagement’s work is predicated on trust, communication, shared authority and reciprocal learning. We believe that the university is a resource to communities. In this regard, we seek to maximize relationships between the university and community to ensure equal justice and equal rights, including equal access to health and education opportunities.
To accomplish this mission, the Center is engaged in research to increase understanding of the welfare of residents across cultures in urban areas, and create and then test methods that may initiate and sustain changes and improvement. Co-directed by Robin Toof and Andrew Hostetler, the CCRE’s tools and tactics include on behalf of the community:
- Promoting scholarship in understanding how to strengthen communities, e.g., reduce crime, reduce drug addiction or gang violence, promote learning and advancement to higher education by community youth, support parenting and overall health and well-being;
- Identifying problems and develop plans in collaboration with, and at the request of, community-based agencies and service organizations;
- Engaging in research-data analysis;
- Facilitating university-community team planning, dialogue, and the collaborative implementation of programs and strategies to alleviate the problems;
- Providing assistance in building relationships within the community;
- Developing projects that can be the basis for future grant-applications by the communities to support change;
- Recruiting students and UMass Lowell faculty who can provide expertise and support as part of these teams;
- Evaluating of community programs to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.