The ISCD of the Abilene Christian University School of Social Work supports effective planning and delivery of human services in the Abilene Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) through community-based research, education, and consultation. Activities of the institute are designed and conducted through university/community collaborations with governmental and/or nonprofit organizations to enhance the service delivery capability of the organization.
The ISCD 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 MSA, including surrounding counties, the focus of the ISCD at ACU is similar to community service research at other universities.
University funding for the ISCD 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.
ISCD 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 institute 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.