What is CRSC?

The Department of Political Science at Valparaiso University officially opened the Community Research and Service Center (CRSC) in the fall of 1995.  The primary goals of the CRSC are to provide research assistance and other services to government, not-for-profit organizations, and in some instances businesses, in Northwest Indiana while simultaneously providing opportunities for undergraduate students to act in integral ways in the process of developing and executing applied research projects.  Undergraduate students not only learn basic research methods, but gain practical experience in working for and dealing with government, business, and other organizations in Northwest Indiana.  As a means to achieve these goals, the CRSC forges partnerships with various community organizations from Northwest Indiana.  Over 75 projects have been completed for over 50 different organizations and over 400 students have been involved in these projects.

Students can become involved in the CRSC in a variety of ways. Many of the projects are done as part of community-based learning built into courses.  There also are paid Research Associate positions available, as well as unpaid and paid internships.  Research Associates work part time during the school year, and we also have full-time, 10-week positions in the summer.  The responsibilities of a Research Associate include helping with designing studies, preparing questionnaires, developing and drawing samples, conducting surveys, coding and analyzing data, writing reports, and presenting the results of the research.   Research Associates have come from disciplines as varied as Sociology, Political Science, Education, Engineering, and Communications.  Internships are often project specific, single-semester activities undertaken for credit.  Internship opportunities have included projects such as community mapping, neighborhood association development, community organizing, and studies of hate crimes in the region.  Departments represented through internships include Geography, Education, German, English, Communication, Sociology, Political Science, Business, Economics, and others.

According to the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, Valparaiso University's Community Research and Service Center (CRSC) is a model for how a small private college can combine human assets (faculty and students) with private funding to have an impact on its community.