Investment beyond Campus

Chicago’s reinvigorated engagement with the surrounding community is exemplified by its work to improve the city’s schools. The new Urban Education Institute, which has attracted corporate, foundation, and individual gifts, brings together the Consortium on Chicago School Research, the Urban Teacher Education Program, the Center for Urban School Improvement, and theUniversity of Chicago Charter School, which operates four public elementary, middle, and high schools on the South Side.

With the Committee on Education—bringing together faculty in economics, human development, mathematics, public policy, psychology, sociology, and social service administration—the institute believes that its work on the South Side—integrating research, teacher preparation, and the development of exemplary schools—can become a national model.

Research-to-Practice Paradigm

In the same vein, the University of Chicago Medical Center has launched theUrban Health Initiative. A collaborative effort to reorganize services and optimize expertise at the Medical Center and other South Side hospitals and health centers, its goal is to reduce health disparities by improving access to medical care and raising the standards of care for the area’s chronically underserved residents. As with the Urban Education Institute, the hope is that the program will produce a research-to-practice paradigm that can be applied nationwide.

Other campus-community initiatives include the Civic Knowledge Project of theDivision of the Humanities, which offers programs, tutoring, and library access to local residents, who in turn help catalog and archive their neighborhoods’ cultural, economic, and political histories. Each year, through the Collegiate Scholars Program, a group of tenth-graders from the city’s public schools begin three years of academic enrichment and counseling to help them prepare for college, while the new Chicago Public Schools Scholarship Program provides 20 high school graduates with full, four-year tuition scholarships to the University.