Center for Public Policy & Social Research



Contact Information

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



The mission of CPPSR is 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, community engagement, student-centered programming and excellence in public service in Connecticut.



Public Policy

Since 2000, CPPSR has brought University expertise to non-partisan forums addressing significant public policy options facing the state, including:

  • regional cooperation,
  • shared services,
  • public-private partnerships,
  • gender pay inequity, transportation-related issues in Connecticut,
  • campaign finance reform,
  • The Fifth District Congressional Debates.

Applied Research

The Social Research unit employs expert CCSU faculty and motivated student research assistants to conduct the following:

  • survey research,
  • focus groups,
  • market research,
  • needs assessments,
  • communication campaigns,
  • program evaluation,
  • project development for state and local governments and non-profit organizations.

Community Engagement

CPPSR implements social research opportunities to CCSU and students, while promoting the use of University resources in our outreach and community engagement efforts. The William A. O’Neill Endowed Chair and the Center for Public Policy and Social Research have linked the academic resources of CCSU with the broader Connecticut community. These on-going efforts include:

Student Focused and Student Activated Programs

Since 2016, CPPSR and the O’Neill Chair have integrated CCSU student influence and involvement in every aspect of our work. As the staff composition of CPPSR changed, these resources have become available for Student Assistants. Student Assistants have been assigned research roles in preparing for CPPSR conferences, forums, and debates. These efforts include:

CPPSR now regularly involves students and Student Government representatives in the planning and design of our public programs and diversity initiatives through the staff/student planning committee, comprised of staff, students, faculty and appropriate organizational partners, who periodically evaluates what conferences or forums should be planned.

 We believe that connecting students to the democratic process in a more complete and substantive involvement from initial program planning to final implementation give them an opportunity to communicate and learn from professional staff, technical experts and elected government. This type of collaboration — putting students and student organizations front and center — is an approach that CPPSR seeks to replicate.

Excellence in Public Service

As part of the O’Neill legacy, a significant aspect of CPPSR’s mission continues to serve as a resource to public servants and entities seeking consultation, training, and professional development. CPPSR/CCSU serves as the Connecticut Institute for the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) - the recognized accrediting agency in the field. We are entering our 20th year training Connecticut Town Clerks, and increased the number of trainings of Town Clerks statewide, including an annual training of town clerks from Connecticut, New England, and New York State, utilizing CCSU expert faculty.