Office of Metropolitan Impact Winter 2012 Grant Awardees



Community-Based Research Seed Grants 

These seed grants are used to promote research that is developed in collaboration with community partner organizations and/or their clients, $500-$5000.


Paul Draus

Behavioral Sciences Department/ Associate Professor of Sociology

Award:  $5000

Summary: The proposed study will examine the impact of rapid depopulation on the Oakwood Heights community, located in the far end of Southwest Detroit, as the result of a major buyout of homes by Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC).  We will assess the social impact of the proposed buyout, which enters its first phase later this year, using an interdisciplinary approach and both quantitative and qualitative methods to capture the dynamics of the process as it rolls out over the next year, by tracking its impact on the physical environment, on the community as a whole, and on individuals and households.


Bruce Pietrykowski

Academic Affairs and Social Sciences Department/ Director, Center for Labor and Community Studies, Professor of Economics

Award:  $3600

Summary: The goal of this project is to develop the local capacity to conduct participatory action research (PAR).  PAR is a research method that is gaining in popularity in the social and behavioral sciences.  While its primary uses have been in the fields of education and public health we would like to expand the use of these methods to the social sciences (economics, political science, sociology, policy, business, communications…).  We propose to convene a series of working meetings with faculty from UM-Dearborn and surrounding academic institutions to evaluate PAR methodology and develop plans to use the method in our own community-based research.


Juliette Roddy

Social Sciences Department/ Assistant Professor

Award:  $4875

Summary: This project employs an innovative interdisciplinary design for capturing data concerning the lives of those exiting correctional institutions and attempting to reintegrate in the City of Detroit, working side by side with practitioners on the front lines of this issue.  The project will directly involve the community partner organization, Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation, or SHAR, and ex-offenders themselves, in the interpretation and application of research findings in an interactive group lecture setting.  The goal of this study is to develop a mixed-method approach with potential to explore the dynamic interaction of individual, contextual and community-level factors associated with long-term recovery and successful social reintegration.  The effort also offers a productive collaboration that sheds light on the dynamics and mechanisms of social reintegration while disseminating research into community practice.



Emily Wang

Office of International Affairs/ International Services Representative

Award:  $5000

Summary: There is consensus among the urban education about the importance of finding teachers with the full range of knowledge, skills and experience which are needed to tackle the challenges low-income and immigrant neighborhoods are facing.  In order to overcome the barriers of learning opportunities, the work cannot be executed without widespread community involvement and support from the organizations who serve these communities.  The learning partnership between U of M – Dearborn and ACCESS’ Family Literacy Program will create new educational pathways into youth and adult literacy education.  The goal is to provide educational sources and support the literacy programs which only institutions of higher education can provide, tailoring the resources to the challenges of literacy learning and revitalizing low-income and immigrant communities.