December 2013


Phil Nyden

David VanZytveld
Associate Director

Aggeliki Gikas
Office Manager

Christine George
Associate Research Professor

Ronald Grzywinski
CURL Visiting Scholar

Jack Macnamara
CURL Visiting Scholar

Anthony Orum
CURL Visiting Scholar

Julie Hilvers
University Community Research Coordinator

Teresa Neumann
University Community Research Coordinator

Graduate Fellows:
Catherine Gillis, Mary Rojek, Bill Byrnes, Sean Young

Undergraduate Fellows:
Edward Chong, Eirene Haralambopoulous, Michael Janusek, Iqra Mushtaq, Hannah Ramlo, Risa Visina


From the Director and CURL Team

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are excited to share updates on CURL collaborative research projects with our community partners.  Highlighted are a few of the more than dozen projects in which we are engaged.   Keep an eye on our website and like us on Facebook to keep up with our work and other developments relevant to communities in the Chicago and beyond.
Although we are community-engaged, CURL’s reach is far beyond Chicago.   In cooperation with the University of Technology Sydney Shopfront, we just published the sixth issue of Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement.   This issue focuses on models of successful university-community research partnerships.   This Fall, CURL also worked with the British Consul General’s Office in Chicago to host – with the Centers for New Horizons on Chicago’s Southside – a parliamentary delegation from the United Kingdom wanting to learn more about the transformation of public housing and impact of current social welfare policies on Chicago communities.   Still other plans are in the works to compare issues of diversity and social integration in Chicago and cities in Europe and Asia.
Eighteen months after moving to our brand-new space in Cuneo Hall on Lake Shore Campus, we are now settled in and building on our already strong connections on campus and in the broader Chicago community.
Phil Nyden

Donate to the Kale Williams Scholarship Fund
$25,000 Fundraising Goal to Endow the Scholarship

In honor of Kale Williams and his career as a social justice advocate and visiting Senior Scholar at CURL, the Center is leading an effort to endow a Kale Williams Scholarship Fund. The fund will support continued commitment by future generations of students to his work and ideals.

Kale Williams worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to secure fair-housing opportunities for all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or income. After the 1966 open housing marches, Williams co-founded the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, where he served as executive director for over 20 years. After service there, he was invited to Loyola University Chicago as a visiting professor of applied ethics and later was appointed the senior scholar in residence at Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL). He served in that position for more than 10 years and inspired numerous students and faculty. In addition to teaching and writing, he coordinated the Chicago Freedom Movement 40-year anniversary events, which examined the movement’s legacy and unfulfilled dream of a fully just and inclusive city.

Our goal is to raise $25,000 by December 31, 2015, to endow the Kale Williams Scholarship Fund and ensure that it becomes a permanent part of the University’s support for undergraduate students at CURL who are emerging as leaders in human rights.

Once the scholarship fund reaches $25,000, the University will match this amount, dollar for dollar, doubling the reach of each donation made to support the scholarship and endowing the fund so that it will continue in perpetuity.

Your generous support contributes to a legacy of learning and research.  To learn more and donate to the Kale Williams Scholarship Fund, CLICK HERE.

New issue of our e-journal, Gateways has been published

CURL's e-journal Gateways, co-published with the University of Technology Sydney Shopfront, is now available on-line. The focus of this issue is on various facets of university-community partnerships and research collaborations.

Knowledge Exchange with Business and Professional People of the Public Interest (BPI)

CURL and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) have created a Knowledge Exchange to work with BPI staff and board members in understanding the implications of demographic trends, theory, and current research for policies aimed at reducing poverty.  It is a knowledge exchange because it combines research knowledge and practical policy experience into the ongoing discussions among BPI staff, researchers, practitioners and policy advocates.

Phil Nyden, CURL’s Director, views this relationship as an opportunity to rethink university/policy partnerships: “In many ways this has the potential of being a model for how universities think about their research and educational programs. As we move down the road the university should be looking at how we can work more closely with people who have hands on experience in policy and pragmatic issues.”

Hoy McConnell, BPI’s Executive Director, values the unique approach CURL takes with urban research making such a partnership attractive:  “CURL stressed the importance of sharing the knowledge of community based organizations in its anti-poverty work, a significant feature of BPI's approach as well.  This was a key factor in our selection of CURL.”

The Knowledge Exchange builds upon the collective knowledge of members of CURL’s research teams and the knowledge and experience of BPI’s past and present staff. Catherine Gillis, a CURL Graduate Fellow, also sees the importance of this partnership in her own work: “Working with the Knowledge Exchange sparked a lot of questions for my own research. It is also exciting to know that I'm doing research that will have a direct impact on policy development.”

CLICK HERE for more information and updates on the Knowledge Exchange. 

Advancing Healthy Homes/Healthy Communities: Tackling Environmental Disparities

As part of the Advancing Healthy Homes Initiative, CURL along with faculty from the Chemistry and Biology departments and the Medical School joined forces with community partners Erie Neighborhood House, Centers for New Horizons and Metropolitan Tenants Organization to complete a pilot research project to identify levels of heavy metals in the neighborhoods of Bronzeville and Pilsen.  Hair samples were identified as the least obtrusive way of collecting these data.  In order to do this, the project team worked with local barber shops and salons to train them in collecting hair samples and recruiting their clients to participate in the study.  As co-researchers, the barbers offered yet another perspective on the communities and the opportunity to reach residents within the neighborhood. 

This unique data collection method was not only innovative but it also provided a unique collaborative experience for everyone involved. As Risa Visina, a key undergraduate fellow working on the project put it on the perspective of undergrad data collection opportunities: “Working on the pilot study, provided me with hands-on experience with public health research outside of a laboratory setting. I was able to be a part of conversations with community partners regarding public health concerns in their neighborhoods and interact with community members throughout the project.” Adrian Segura, the CURL Graduate Fellow and Healthy Homes Coordinator completed his Masters in Public Health from Loyola with a concentration in Epidemiology and was able to incorporate this project into his Masters' Capstone.   

Another important component of this project was the opportunity to involve youth from the community organizations.  Erie Neighborhood House youth visited the Lake Shore Campus and heard a presentation on environmental health by CURL fellows and witnessed the chemical processes of measuring the levels of heavy metals in hair samples. They also talked with our colleagues at the Institute of Environmental Sustainability about the use of mapping in presenting research findings.

CURL is pleased to host such visits that expose youth in Chicago to collaborative research being done in their communities on a variety of topics. Check back for more updates on the progress of this project!  CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Deferred Prosecution Project

The Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney has an innovative program for first time, nonviolent felony offenders.  Based on the experiences with that program, Governor Quinn signed a bill to authorize other counties in the state to also have such a program.  A team of researchers from Loyola University Chicago along with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority are working on an evaluation to describe how the Deferred Prosecution Project was implemented and what have been the outcomes of the program.  This will be used to help other jurisdictions who will be implementing this new program. 

We are interviewing program staff, prosecutors, defense attorneys, participants in the program, and analyzing administrative data.  The project started in January and is being led by Christine George from CURL, Don Stemen from Loyola’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and John Orwat from Loyola’s School of Social Work.

CLICK HERE to learn more. 

New Staff and Fellows

Aggeliki Gikas and Teresa Neumann

In May, Teresa Neumann "graduated" from CURL Graduate Fellow to CURL's new full-time University Community Research Coordinator.  In July, Aggeliki Gikas joined the team as Office Manager.  Many thanks to Gina Lopez who took a promotion to become Executive Administrative Assistant in the Institute of Pastoral Studies. We also have many new Undergrad and Graduate Fellows on the CURL Team.  Learn more about our new fellows!

New CURL Visiting Scholar, Jack Macnamara

We are happy to welcome Jack Macnamara as a CURL Visiting Scholar.  In the late 1960s Jack was the chief organizer of the Contract Buyers League of Chicago, an organization of African-American homeowners who were gouged by unscrupulous real estate speculators when they bought their homes.  The Contract Buyers League initiated two federal lawsuits and conducted a strategically planned payment strike.  As a result, 450 families got their contracts renegotiated with an average savings per family of $13,500. 

After his early organizing experience he took at 30-year break to run a private company.  He is now back working on community issues at CURL.  Among the topics that Jack is exploring are: financial exploitation of African American communities; social emotional learning; culture of peace and non-violence in schools; and an urban scholars program for high school dropouts.

Friday Morning Seminars

CURL Friday Morning Seminars are held regularly on Friday mornings during fall & spring semesters from 10:30am until 12:00pm in the CURL Library (Cuneo Hall, 417). Loyola faculty, students, staff, community members, and guests are welcome. Please note: Unavoidable changes may be necessary. Call 773.508.8521 or visit CURL’s website  to confirm specific presentations.

December 6: Videos of Early Uptown Community Activism. Mirko Popidic, Independent Producer and Videomaker.

Upcoming spring semester presenters and working topics:
  • Tom Lenz, Former Lead Organizer at United Power for Action and Justice: Efficacy of community organizing
  • Gomberg-Munzo, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, LUC:  Immigrant women in Chicago and the right to work
  • Tony Orum, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, CURL Scholar: Changes in Shanghai over the past 20 years 
  • Chris Egan, Sr. Gwen Farry: 8th Day Center for Justice 
  • Ron Grzywinski, Mary Houghton co-founders of Shore Bank;  Nisha Sutaria, Megan Hryndza:  Campaign for Better Banking
  • Andrew Papachristos, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Yale: Network analysis of violence
  • Dan Pitera, Detroit Collaborative Design Center Executive Director, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture
  • Mary Charles, Grants Director, School of Education, LUC: Academic Coaching
  • Twyla Blackmond Larnell, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, LUC:  Tax Increment Financing (TIFs)
  • CURL research team: Deferred Prosecution Project

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About Us

CURL engages in collaborative research which connects faculty and students to community and nonprofit organizations, civic groups, and government agencies community partners are actively engaged in all aspects of the research -- from conceptualization and design to data collection and analysis. This collaboration creates innovative solutions that promote equity and opportunity in local communities.

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Center for Urban Research and Learning
6430 N. Kenmore Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
p: 773.508.8540