Center for Public Policy & Social Research




The Center for Public Policy and Social Research (CPPSR) has been designated a Connecticut Higher Education Center of Excellence by the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut State University System. CPPSR was founded at Central Connecticut State University in 2003 through the merger of Center for Social Research, established in 1992, and the Center for Public Policy and Practical Politics, established in 2000.


CPPSR is 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. Through its work, 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.


The center incorporates the Governor William A. O'Neill Endowed Chair In Public Policy and Practical Politics and works collaboratively with the Institute's Justice Policy Division, and the Confucius Institute on many initiatives in the areas of public policy, applied research, and development of student service learning experiences.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.

Role of CPPSR in CCSU's Outreach Model

CCSU is following the advice of the 1999 Kellogg Commission report by making 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 new mission statement which now includes specific mention of outreach activities and by the following public address made by former President Richard L. Judd (1998). "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."

Several incentives are offered that encourage faculty to engage in outreach activities. A mechanism for supplementing faculty salaries for outreach work that is performed in addition to their normal workload is included in the faculty union contract. Deans, at their discretion and with agreement of relevant department heads, can release faculty from teaching responsibilities by awarding "reassigned time" for engaging in outreach activities. Departments can then be "reimbursed" for lost teaching effort with part-time adjunct faculty if needed. In addition, based on Ernest Boyers Scholarship Reconsidered, outreach activities are now considered in promotion/tenure evaluations.

Several programs at CCSU are specifically designed to link the university with surrounding communities. The Continuing Education Division of the university offers a large number of noncredit training programs. The School of Education operates a very successful Professional Development School (PDS) Network consisting of five school districts. Each PDS hosts CCSU student interns and has a CCSU faculty member assigned to it who assists with program development/evaluation efforts. It is housed in the Office of External Affairs. The community outreach mission of the Center was furthered institutionalized during the late 1990s as a result of a HUD funded COPC project. The Center, which has become an important component of the university's outreach mission, facilitates multidisciplinary linkages among faculty and community groups. The CPPSR is following the advice of Lynton and Elman by performing an information/communication function, a brokering/negotiation function, and a delivery function.

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.

Fulfilling the Mission

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.