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Institute for Metropolitan Affairs

History and Background

The IMA seeks projects that impact the Chicago metropolitan area and engage the communities of Roosevelt's Chicago and Schaumburg campuses. It works to apply academic expertise to policy problems affecting the region. Its work in the field of social welfare is consistent with Roosevelt's historic mission. The Institute's core activities include:

  • Facilitating and conducting major research projects in business, economics, education, political science, public policy, and sociology.
  • Conducting symposia, forums, and presentations on public policy areas of regional interest.
  • Assisting Roosevelt faculty with the development of teaching and scholarship.
  • Providing contract consulting to Chicago area governments and institutions.

History of the Institute

The Institute for Metropolitan Affairs was created in 1989 to address public policy issues through policy analysis and strategic community planning. Major products during the 1990s included a White House Conference on the Future of the U.S. Workplaces, recommendations for Chicago trade show and convention planning, analysis of hospital emergency department overcrowding, the Mayor's Education Roundtable on school reform strategies, and a wide variety of projects dealing with community development, health, and safety.

Since the late 1990s, the IMA has conducted more than 40 funded projects and engaged over sixty students in its professional work. In pursuit of its mission, the Institute focuses on:

  • Conducting research aimed at illuminating issues important to understanding the context within which public policy operates in the Chicago area.
  • Providing technical assistance to important institutions operating in the metropolitan area.
  • Involving Roosevelt students in authentic research experiences and providing them with opportunities for financial support.

In order to be responsive to the diverse interests of the university and its faculty, the Institute's mission addresses a broad array of social policy areas. Its recent work focuses on several areas of expertise: substance use issues, drug education for youth, mental health and social service provision, alternatives to incarceration, re-entry barriers, public policy process analysis, legislative tracking, and LGBTQ issues.

In 2005, Institute leadership established the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy to study the impacts of drug policy on the criminal justice system, health, housing, social identification. The Consortium's projects view social policies through the lens of substance use and drug policy. These areas include criminal justice reform, including alternatives to incarceration; expansion of treatment services using evidenced-based criteria and grounded in harm reduction philosophies; and developing programs for hard to serve populations, including homeless populations and prevention programs for youth.

Partner Organizations

The Institute maintains partnerships with a number of regional advocacy and research organizations. Our partners include:

  • AIDS Foundation Chicago
  • Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic
  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
  • Chicago Jobs Council
  • Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers
  • Chicago LGBT Substance Use and Abuse Taskforce
  • Chicago Metropolis 2020
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Cook County Public Defender's Office
  • Developing Justice Coalition
  • Enlace
  • Heartland Alliance
  • Illinois African-American Family Commission
  • Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Illinois State University
  • Latino Cultural Exchange Coalition
  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
  • Mayor's Office on Re-entry
  • Metro Chicago Information Center
  • Midwest Harm Reduction Institute
  • National African American Drug Policy Coalition (Howard Univ)
  • Protestants for the Common Good
  • Safer Foundation
  • Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities
  • University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration