About Urban Studies
The Urban Studies Program of the Abilene Christian University School of Social Work supports effective planning and delivery of human services in the Abilene Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA) through community-based research, education, and consultation. Activities of the program are designed and conducted through university/community collaborations with governmental and/or nonprofit organizations to enhance the service delivery capability of the organization.
The Urban Studies program operates with an annual allocation from the University, begun in response to a major donor's interest in programs targeted to minority populations, both within the University and through university-community partnerships. While developed to respond to human services in the Abilene SMSA, including surrounding counties, the focus of Urban Studies at ACU is similar to community service research at other universities, such as the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas.
University funding for Urban Studies is supplemented by external revenues from community programs on a project by project basis. Program funds are primarily used to provide research stipends or scholarships to School of Social Work students enrolled in graduate and/or undergraduate research courses.
Urban Studies projects are designed and conducted in response to community requests for assistance in the areas of service delivery research, education, and consultation. Examples of project activities include assistance in researching and preparing grant applications, agency staff and board education, consultation on matters of program administration and planning, program evaluations, and community needs assessments.
In addition to community-based requests for project assistance, the program provides assistance to School of Social Work faculty in brokering community-based research with human service organizations as part of the School's curriculum emphasis on evidence-based professional practice.