NYU Inequality Research Collective

In spring 2020, I researched and co-created a design proposal to improve NYU’s impact on inequality and other social issues. To support the work of our client, NYU’s Office of the Provost, and their new inequality initiative, we aimed to resolve the existing disconnect between NYU faculty and real-world practitioners and policymakers, often called the research-practice or practitioner-scholar gap. Research included:

  • reviewing academic literature on education, psychology, sociology and public policy, focusing on the research-practice gap and strategies for engaged scholarship
  • analyzing contributor data from The Conversation, a not-for-profit media outlet that publishes news stories written by academics and researchers
  • interviewing industry experts in research-practice communication
  • interviewing NYU faculty
  • designing and distributing a survey to NYU faculty
  • analyzing and visualizing qualitative and quantitative data from survey results

My colleague and I proposed that NYU create an umbrella organization for interdisciplinary research and engaged scholarship on issues related to inequality. This initiative, which we called the NYU Inequality Research Collective (IRC), would reside in the Office of the Provost and coordinate the efforts of NYU faculty and existing NYU institutions and centers. We proposed three core components: 

  1. an online resource hub with a comprehensive, searchable expert network;
  2. a new position dedicated to building and mediating research-practice relationships; and 
  3. training, workshops, and resources for engaged scholarship and non-academic communication

The IRC would provide a structure for interdisciplinary collaboration and would serve as an umbrella organization to unite the diffuse nodes of research across NYU under a strong, highly collaborative, and transparent organization for impactful research on inequality. 

This proposal was presented to the Deputy Provost and several key faculty members on her inequality initiative.

A memo, proposal report, and live presentation were delivered to the Deputy Provost of NYU and members of their initiative on inequality. The Deputy Provost requested that we continue research the following year and conduct a follow-up survey to understand how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic and social change work. This work is currently ongoing.

Note: The proposal and presentation cannot be published outside of NYU.

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