Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you choose a new name?
The new urbanCORE was created in 2020. Charlotte’s urbanCORE has evolved from the department known as Metropolitan Studies to the Office of Urban Research and Community Engagement to our most recent name. urbanCORE (Community Oriented Research + Engagement) reflects our central role in advancing Charlotte’s prominence as an urban research university, our focus on social impact in the community, and our commitment to facilitating reciprocal engagement among students, faculty, staff and community partners.
How is urbanCORE organized?
Our work is organized around supporting the university and community in three areas: Policy & Research, Community Partnerships, and Faculty & Student Engagement. Policy & Research relies heavily on the expertise and assets of the Urban Institute and its Institute for Social Capital. Community Partnerships is driven in part by key staff who previously operated as part of the Community Relations office in the Division of University Engagement. Faculty & Student Engagement is overseen by our Director of Engaged Scholarship with new, dedicated staff focused on faculty and student support.
What are the affiliated units within urbanCORE?
urbanCORE includes the Urban Institute and its Institute for Social Capital and the Women + Girls Research Alliance, as well as leaders overseeing community partnerships and faculty and student engagement.
What are urbanCORE’s key initiatives?
Major initiatives at urbanCORE are aimed at building an infrastructure to support highly collaborative engaged scholarship that leads to transformational social impact. These initiatives fall within our three core functions:
As part of our Policy & Data efforts, we are:
- Upgrading and optimizing the integrated data system housed at the Institute for Social Capital to make it more accessible to researchers and practitioners.
- Creating a dashboard of equity indicators to facilitate collective impact among campus and community partners.
- Cultivating interdisciplinary, engaged research through the Urban Institute’s Gambrell Fellowship program.
Through our Community Partnerships work, we are:
- Leading a partnership inventory campaign to promote, navigate and measure hundreds of university-community partnerships
- Helping faculty connect with key community partners that align to their engagement initiatives
- Facilitating our participation in a national network of funders and advocates for engaged scholarship and community engagement
- Building a Community Innovation Incubator to foster collaboration between resident-driven initiatives and engaged researchers on campus
- Fostering a network of partnerships to elevate the voices of marginalized women through research grants and convenings led the Women + Girls Research Alliance
Through Faculty & Student Engagement, we are:
- Researching the influence that engaged scholarship has had on promotion and tenure guidelines
- Hosting development workshops and trainings for faculty leaders and researchers to advance engaged scholarship within their colleges and departments
- Creating a student e-Portfolio system for to encourage and map student engagement
- Establishing outreach opportunities for student engagement programs across campus
- Sharpening service-learning guidelines and increasing faculty participation
- Coordinating greater collaboration among community-oriented research centers across academic disciplines
Who are the key contacts?
- Dr. Byron P. White, Associate Provost of Urban Research and Community Engagement
- Dr. Lori Thomas, Executive Director, Urban Institute and Institute for Social Capital
- Dr. Tamara Johnson, Director of Engaged Scholarship
- Joy Paige Springs, Senior Director of Strategic Community Partnerships
- Dr. Michelle Meggs, Executive Director, Women + Girls Research Alliance
How does urbanCORE fit with the University’s strategic plan and goals?
Charlotte’s Strategic Plan and Civic Action Plan have both emphasized the need to not just produce scholarship but to produce — and measure — impact on our community. urbanCORE provides the structure and dedicated staff needed to support the University’s engagement efforts, measure their collective impact and ensure that we lead the way in co-producing transformative solutions.
How does urbanCORE differ from Research & Economic Development?
With a strategic focus on facilitating engaged scholarship that addresses social impact, co-producing solutions in concert with a range of community members, and a mandate to measure the impact of those efforts across the community, urbanCORE works with and complements the broader research efforts of the Division of Research & Economic Development.
How do you support student engagement?
urbanCORE works with a host of programs across campus that drive student engagement – including honors programs, service-learning courses, student affairs, student-led organizations and athletics – to explore opportunities and learning that enhances the engagement experience for students and community partners. In collaboration with those units, we are developing a new digital “e-portfolio” system to help students and organizers measure, facilitate and formalize student engagement across campus.
How can I get involved or connect with urbanCORE?
You can contact executive assistant Greer Friedrich, or any of the key personnel directly to learn more.
Where are you located?
urbanCORE and its affiliate organizations are located in the Sycamore building at 9310 Mary Alexander Road, next to the Susie Harwood Garden.