A solutions-oriented approach

Arizona State University is a forerunner in research productivity. More importantly, ASU research is use-inspired, socially embedded, a catalyst for change and innovation, and highly responsive to real-world problems. The Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions leads the university in the production of research that has system-wide and largescale impact on a myriad of social, behavioral, economic, and political challenges. Through rigorous applied research, we are developing solutions with the potential to better our response to pressing issues and positively impact our communities locally, nationally and globally.

Solutions more often than not require work that gets out of academic silos. Although our disciplines appear diverse, the commonality is clear in the projects that we take on: social work and criminology share strong links around the cycles of victimization and criminality that must be broken; vibrant urban centers require efficient administration and robust public participation as much as safety and economic vitality.

The college is implementing a Research Support and Advancement Plan. The plan has five goals, with accompanying outcomes, that it intends to accomplish:  

  • Goal #1: Implement research solutions to pressing social issues by providing responsive, timely, and impactful faculty and student development and mentoring; (Associated impact: This goal will result in research faculty increasing their capacity to acquire external funding which will enhance their research careers);
  • Goal #2: Devise and implement research solutions by building, equipping, and dispatching transdisciplinary science teams; (Associated impact: This goal will result in research faculty teaming with colleagues internal and external to the college. Also, this goal will contribute to faculty developing systematic lines of inquiry that are responsive to pressing social problems and needs).
  • Goal #3: Expand, support, and promote research centers and institutes that are enterprising and collaborative-driven; (Associated impact: The realization of this goal will lead to research centers becoming more sustainable and increasing their external support. Likewise, this goal is intended to align the efforts of research centers whose missions and goals are complementary).  
  • Goal #4: Elevate the college’s research profile by expanding traditional measures of impact; (Associated impact: The impact of this goal is not directly monetary in nature. Instead, this goal will lead to the development of a catalog of products that can be used to measure and highlight the impact of the college’s research); and
  • Goal #5: Conduct community-inspired (and relevant) research projects; (Associated impact: The impact of this goal is to become more embedded with and responsive to pressing community needs. A secondary impact includes the ability of PUBSRV research teams to forge sustainable relationships with community partners and other research stakeholder groups).