In 2017, Dr. Austin A. Lane, the 12th president of Texas Southern University, announced the launch of TSU’s comprehensive plan for strengthening its imprint–the Urban Research and Resource Center (URRC). Forty-four years earlier, the Texas legislature officially designated the university as a special purpose institution for urban programming. Since that time the university has engaged in numerous programs that focused on the urban community, especially under the guidance of its fourth president, Dr. Granville Sawyer who established the Urban Resource Center in 1972. The launch of this Urban Research and Resource Center reimagines that dream in a number of ways.
First, the URRC is designed to be a university-wide program that will provide a central clearinghouse for the university’s urban programming, academic and practical. The URRC is the result of the collaboration between the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and the School of Public Affairs. Today, the URRC is one of three institutes/centers at the law school, joining the Earl Carl Institute for Legal and Social Policy, founded by Professor Marcia Johnson in 1992 and the Institute of International & Immigration Law launched in 2002. Professor Johnson is a co-founder of the URRC along with Distinguished Law Professor James Douglas, Dr. Michael O. Adams, Professor Carroll Robinson and L. Anthony Johnson who serve as the board of directors of URRC, Inc.
Second, the URRC supports scholarly research about issues that affect urban communities, at home and abroad. Scholarly teams as well as individual scholars work to publish research that impacts and improves urban life. The URRC relies on professors’ expertise throughout the university to conduct problem-solving research in science and technology, forensics, entrepreneurship, and academic curricula that provide pipelines to college, post graduate studies, health, arts, psychology, sociology and law.
Third, the URRC works directly with the urban community as a collaborative stakeholder and neighbor to help communities develop, grow and thrive.
The URRC is funded by individual donors and grants. In 1947, the Texas legislature committed to providing funding for Texas Southern University as rigorously as it did for the University of Texas. We expect that, in part, through our efforts, that the promise will be realized.
The Urban Research and Resource Center focuses on five areas:
- Public Education Reform
- Criminal Justice Reform
- History of African Americans in Houston
- Urban Resources
Housing, Economic and Community Development”