Institutes, Centers and Services

The following Institutes, Centers, and Services are housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Center for Economic Development
The Center for Economic Development is a research and community-oriented technical assistance center that is partially funded by the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. As an EDA Center housed at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, it fits well with the department's long tradition of outreach to Massachusetts' cities and towns, and is well suited to meet EDA's mission, goals and objectives. Its faculty and students have worked on economic development issues in more than 200 cities and towns in the past ten years. As well, its faculty has specializations that include industrial development, retail/commercial development, tourism, marketing, employment training, quantitative analysis and data analysis.

Center for Heritage and Society
The UMass Amherst Center for Heritage and Society (CHS) is a multidisciplinary initiative to craft new approaches to heritage conservation and communication around the world. CHS offers research opportunities for scholars working in heritage related fields such as archaeology, history, environmental science, landscape architecture and regional planning, European studies, Native American Indian Studies, Afro-American Studies, Classics, legal studies, and public policy. Additionally, the Center provides undergraduate and graduate students with training and experience in heritage planning and management.

Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies
CLACLS promotes research, training, and public engagement on the histories, cultures, and politics of Latin American and Caribbean peoples across the Americas and throughout the world. Bridging the divide that historically has separated Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies as institutionalized knowledge formations with distinctive intellectual genealogies, political trajectories, and bureaucratic moorings at U.S. universities is central to our mission. The Center seeks to be a hemispheric, crossborder space for critical reflection, exchange, and intellectual production. We aim to engage in genuine interdisciplinary work, fostering the creative convergence of discipline-based knowledges. CLACLS is committed to sustaining links with Latin American and Caribbean communities in the U.S. and across the Americas, as well as to bringing the alternative knowledge produced in those communities to bear on our teaching and research.

Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA)
The Center for Public Policy and Administration is the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching, and engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. CPPA attracts high-caliber national and international students to its Masters of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) program. CPPA also offers a certificate in public policy available to UMass Amherst undergraduates. Home to a growing number of research initiatives, CPPA houses the National Center for Digital Government, Science & Technology in Society and the Public Engagement Project.

Center for Research on Families (CRF)
The Center for Research on Families (CRF) actively supports and disseminates social and behavioral sciences research on issues relevant to families. CRF is an interdisciplinary research center whose mission is to build a strong network of faculty with expertise in family research who are able to generate collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects, and to create unique programming to bring research to policy-makers and the public. As a basic unit of human and animal life, research on families at CRF encompasses disciplines as diverse as the life sciences, social sciences, public health and nursing, education, and natural resources. This rich mix of disciplines has been a key to faculty enthusiasm for CRF.

Center for Resilient Metro-regions
The Center for Resilient Metro-regions practices a research and outreach mission focused on sustainable development for rural areas and small industrial cities. CRM was established in 1985 to undertake a program of applied research focusing on ways that growth can be managed and controlled through actions of local governments and advocacy groups.

Computational Social Science Initiative
The UMass Computational Social Science Initiative is a cross-disciplinary, collaborative group designed to address the challenges and opportunities presented by collecting, storing, and analyzing large scale data related to the social world. With core faculty coming from disciplines as diverse as computer science, political science, sociology, and statistics, the group brings together the expertise necessary to create practical solutions to modern problems in quantitative social science.

Institute for Social Science Research
ISSR facilitates social science research and methods across the University of Massachusetts. By taking guidance from our research faculty's interests and supporting their efforts, the Institute draws its dynamic strengths and directions from the evolving enterprise of contemporary social research.  ISSR supports the research mission of social science on campus by offering:

  • grant management 
  • qualitative and quantitative research training opportunities 
  • grant mentoring programs 
  • workshops and speakers 
  • methods and data analysis/programming consulting services
  • support for interdisciplinary research teams

Labor Relations and Research Center (LRRC)
Founded in 1964, LRRC is an integrated program of graduate education, research, and direct service to workers and the labor movement.The Center's faculty and staff also conduct national research about work and labor, including research on organizing, strategic campaigns, labor and community coalitions, living wage campaigns, and globalization. Much of this work has been funded by the labor movement. We also offer research services in support of organizing, bargaining, and in the policy arena for regional and local unions and state and central labor bodies.

National Center for Digital Government
Established in 2002 with support from the National Science Foundation, NCDG is based in the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Its mission is to build global research capacity, to advance practice, and to strengthen the network of researchers and practitioners engaged in building and using technology and government. NCDG strives to apply and extend the social sciences for research at the intersection of governance, institutions and information technologies.

National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution
The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution supports and sustains the development of information technology applications, institutional resources, and theoretical and applied knowledge for better understanding and managing conflict. The Center believes that networked information technology can be uniquely leveraged to expand and improve conflict management resources and expertise. We are only at the beginning of understanding how individuals separated by great physical, cultural, or technological distances can utilize resources and expertise virtually. We conceive of the online environment as a "place" where increasingly powerful tools will be available for working to find solutions to many forms of offline/online conflict, whether they are public or private, whether they involve commercial transactions or other social relationships, and whether they are international or domestic.

Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)
PERI promotes human and ecological well-being through original research. Our approach is to translate what we learn into workable policy proposals that are capable of improving life on our planet today and in the future. In the words of the late Professor Robert Heilbroner, we “strive to make a workable science out of morality.” Established in 1998, PERI is an independent unit of UMass Amherst with close ties to the Department of Economics. Since its founding, PERI has become a leading source of research and policy initiatives on issues of globalization, unemployment, financial market instability, central bank policy, living wages and decent work, and the economics of peace, development, and the environment.

Science, Technology & Society Initiative
The Science, Technology & Society Initiative (STS) promotes multidisciplinary collaboration among the natural, physical and social sciences, engineering and public policy. It is a hub for interdisciplinary research on the Internet and society, the societal implications of nanotechnology, and ethics.

Springfield Design Center
The UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield (Design Center) is a collaboration between the UMass Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, the Architecture + Design Program, and UMass Extension/Center for Agriculture.  Open since 2009, it provides an inviting and creative workspace in downtown Springfield where UMass Amherst students and staff  interact with city officials, design and planning professionals and the general public.

The Civic Initiative
The Civic Initiative is dedicated to promoting Democracy through education both at home and abroad. The United States has directed considerable effort toward advancing Democracy. The Civic Initiative supports that effort and extends it to include research and education efforts aimed at our own local and national Democracy.

UMass Amherst Summer Field Schools
Anthropology offers several field programs that offer in-depth training, including the Field School in Archaeological Heritage, the Field and Lab Methods in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology , the Archaeological Field School Israel, and the Madagascar, Past and Present: Biodiversity, Extinction, and Conservation.

UMass Archaeological Services
Archaeological Services is a consulting organization with expertise in a wide variety of cultural resource management surveys. The staff has completed more than 500 regulatory compliance research projects over the past two decades. They offer extensive experience with federal and state regulatory standards for survey project management, research methodology, fieldwork, analysis, and correspondence with State Historic Preservation Officers, and is committed to timely, responsive action to serve the compliance needs of our clients.

UMass Poll
The UMass Poll is an effort by scholars at UMass to study public opinion about a variety of political and social questions affecting the New England region. Panelists are recruited online and may, occasionally, be re-contacted to determine whether they are interested in participating in additional surveys.

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