Community-engaged research activities through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) are in the spirit of the U-M’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world, and to develop leaders and citizens to challenge the present and enrich the future. By community-engaged, we mean students and faculty are not only researching within communities, but they are working with and learning from the communities. Our program is not merely place-based, it values communities’ expertise with and vital interest in their own histories, cultural wealth, aspirations and concerns. At the core of community-engaged research is reciprocal partnership where the community’s involvement deepens understanding of the issues being explored and ensures that the products created are of mutual interest and sustained benefit to the community. These learning opportunities are transformative in developing our students as leaders and citizens with the confidence, skills, knowledge and commitment essential for quality research and social action for years to come.
We are committed to following U-M Engaged Michigan principles and values to guide our students’ work in ethical and sustainable ways:
- Principle of Recognition for the expertise and knowledge within the community
- Principle of Respect for individuals, communities, and their resources
- Principle of Equitable Partnership focused on reciprocal relationships, transparency, and accountability
To Learn About Our Existing Community-Engaged Research Partnerships, Please Read Below
During the academic year, students may choose from community-engaged research and creative project opportunities in nearby communities including Detroit, Flint, Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County under the direction of community organizations or U-M faculty or both. Students can commit between 6 to 12 hours per week working on community-engaged research while they take other courses. Depending on the nature of the project, students could possibly complete some of their required hours remotely, but ideally will get to spend at least some of their project hours learning about and engaging with the community firsthand.
Students also participate in a seminar with a social justice focus that introduces skills and approaches for research in reciprocal partnership with communities, and provides a space where students share and learn about each other’s project experiences.
Community organizations interested in having students work with them on their research or creative project needs during the academic year may submit proposals through the link below. Priority will be given to project proposals received by August 15. The proposal questions can be accessed at this link: https://myumi.ch/wlEDn
U-M faculty interested in having students work with them on community-engaged research projects during the academic year may submit proposals here:
The Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program (DCERP) is a 9-week summer fellowship that annually recruits 15 to 20 undergraduates who work full-time with Detroit community organizations on projects concerning a variety of research topics. The students also become part of a learning community that live in Detroit (housing provided at an urban campus) as they regularly share about their project experiences and participate in a curriculum that introduces them to the city and its history through a social justice lens. Community organizations interested in having students work with them on their research needs may submit proposals here:
Examples of Community-Engaged Research (CER) Projects
Assisted Detroit African-American Muslim and African Muslim storytelling project with background work for new multi-media website and permanent public archive.
Researched evidence-based addiction treatment practices to inform creation of a new program seeking to provide effective treatment for Flint residents with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.
Conducted community outreach and gathered feedback in Northeast Detroit to inform strategic plan for a neighborhood “Main Street” economic revitalization initiative.
Surveyed residents in Southwest Detroit to identify indoor air quality problems to aid organization’s environmental work and to inform City of Detroit Council
Analyzed feedback from children in an after school learning program to identify strengths and weaknesses of in person and online versions of the program to inform creation of a successful hybrid (in person and remote) education program.
HEALTH DISPARITIES DURING COVID
Collected stories from community members about their experiences addressing health, social and economic problems stemming from the pandemic. The data will help to advise Washtenaw County policy decisions.
Helped nonprofit strategize and plan community events to increase awareness and understanding of the “Clean Slate Bill” to enable individuals to expunge criminal records and get a second chance at integrating into the workforce and other opportunities.
For more examples of CER projects from 2020-21, visit: