Contact Information

Beth Frankel Merenstein
Associate Vice President for Community Engagement and Experiential Learning
Davidson Hall, 212.0201


About CPPSR:


A tradition of outreach to Connecticut towns and nonprofit organizations

The Center for Public Policy and Practical Politics was established at Central Connecticut State University by Board Resolution #00-71, on July 14, 2000, and was designated as a Connecticut higher education center of excellence, pursuant to section 10a-25h(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes. Prior to this, the Center for Social Research was established at Central Connecticut State University by Board Resolution in 1992.

Both centers strived to assure full utilization of the knowledge generated at the Centers through outreach programs of informational and training assistance offered to Connecticut towns and nonprofit organizations, with student participation and faculty research and expertise actively incorporated into the services rendered. It was determined that the administration of both centers could be more efficiently and effectively managed under one administrative unit.

Formation of CPPSR

A Connecticut higher education center of excellence

In 2003, the Center for Social Research was incorporated into the Center for Public Policy and Practical Politics to form a single administrative unit with no change in mission or status, pursuant to Board Resolution # 03-13. The new administrative unit is called the Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR). Board Resolution #03-13 also provides that the Center for Public Policy and Social Research continue as a Connecticut higher education center of excellence with the mission to promote an understanding of the history, structure, people, and policies of our State's government for both students and the larger community through public policy development, applied research, University outreach, and community engagement in Connecticut.

CPPSR goals and resources

Supporting thoughtful citizenship and public service

Noted for offering innovative academic research and outreach programs which promote a greater understanding of the history, structure, processes, personnel and policies of State government, the center seeks to illustrate the important role of our state's contribution to national policy, and to encourage active participation in local and state affairs through thoughtful citizenship and public service.

CPPSR does so through several resources, including:

CPPSR works on many initiatives in the areas of

The center has assumed a leading role in providing for the professional education and training of government officials.

CPPSR's social research unit functions as an affordable resource for local and state government, non-profit organizations and communities needing expert consultancy or assistance, such as:

  • survey research,
  • communication campaigns,
  • program evaluation,
  • and project development.

Among the University resources available through CPPSR are expert faculty and motivated students from CCSU's Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Professional Studies, and Engineering and Technology. CPPSR offers faculty and students a valuable opportunity to apply their academic knowledge and applied research experience to real-world environments.

An essential component of CCSU's outreach model

Since the 1999 Kellogg Commission report, CCSU has consistently worked to make community engagement a priority, encouraging multidisciplinary activity and creating new incentives for faculty to engage in community outreach work. Support for community outreach work is exhibited at the highest level as reflected by the university's mission statement, which includes specific mention of outreach activities.

Former President Richard L. Judd (1998) perfectly encapsulated the sentiment of the CCSU outreach model.: "The needs of our communities are real, and our faculty have a lot to offer in terms of research, training, and expert consultancy. CCSU has earned the reputation of a quality teaching school, I would like to see it known as a quality community outreach institution also. This vision will be well served by elevating the importance of applied work benefiting the community that is consistent with our high standards of academic excellence."

The Center for Public Policy & Social Research at Central Connecticut State University is dedicated to enriching the quality of public policy, public service, University outreach and applied research in Connecticut. We provide a wide range of information, training, research and consulting services to communities, municipal and state government and non-profit organizations. We develop, facilitate, and support faculty and student projects, which advance their scholarship, applied research and real-life experiences. The Center, which has become an important component of the university's outreach mission, facilitates multidisciplinary linkages among faculty and community groups. The CPPSR performs multiple roles, acting as an information/communication function, a brokering/negotiation function, and a delivery function for the University.

Fulfilling the mission with integrity

Working closely with its affiliated units, CPPSR carries out its mission with vigilant adherence to the principles of academic freedom, non-partisanship, sound ethics and respect for diverse community values. In implementing these principles, CPPSR provides its staff with opportunities for professional development and personal growth to better serve the public good. Designated as a Connecticut Higher Education Center of Excellence and housing the Governor William A. O'Neill Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Practical Politics, CPPSR utilizes expert faculty, dedicated staff, motivated student research assistants and state-of-the-art technology to provide a wide range of professional training, research, program evaluation, analysis and consulting services to municipal and state governments, public policymakers, not-for-profit organizations and the greater community.

CPPSR develops and facilitates faculty and student projects that advance their scholarship, community engagement and applied research experiences. CPPSR believes that by providing students with opportunities for hands-on experience in the policy-making process, in which they can help to make a measurable difference in improving the quality of life for their fellow citizens, students will be encouraged to engage in public service.

Through its archival and oral history programs, CPPSR promotes greater understanding and appreciation of the significant contribution of Connecticut's citizens to our state and nation. CPPSR further serves Connecticut by providing a forum for the framing and debate of a myriad of current, critical public policy issues, and by collaborating with faculty and academic departments to identify and develop non-partisan, evidence-based policy options.