University News

Newly Launched Center for Equitable Cities: Adler's 4th Social Justice Institute 06.12.17
Newly Launched Center for Equitable Cities: Adler's 4th Social Justice Institute

Building upon its history of formative work within Chicago’s communities, Adler University has officially launched its fourth center aimed at propelling research, learning and its mission of social justice.

The new Center for Equitable Cities advocates for policies and practices that seek to remedy social, economic and political inequalities plaguing communities throughout the city, and world. It follows the university’s Institute on Public Safety & Social Justice, Center for Adlerian Practice and Scholarship, and LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center.

“Many of our city’s most pressing social issues can be attributed to growing forms of inequality,” said Dr. Dan Cooper, executive director for the Center for Equitable Cities. “If we continue to address each of our issues — like violence — in isolation, we will only be treating the symptoms of much larger structural problems. Now, more than ever, we need to shift our focus to equitable policies and practices that address root causes such as longstanding segregation and disadvantage.”

Cooper, who has collaborated with city leaders to refine the center’s concept, says nearly all urban social issues can be best addressed by reversing long-established patterns of inequality.

Examples of existing disparities include racial segregation; growing wage and wealth gaps; lack of affordable housing; the misrepresentation of marginalized populations among elected officials; and voter disenfranchisement.

The Center for Equitable Cities will serve as an information clearinghouse mobilizing those in the Adler University community. While initial groundwork will be rooted in locally, future opportunities will comprise faculty and students from all three of the university’s campuses in Chicago, Vancouver and Online.

Work through the institute will include:

  • Conducting original research on the intersections of inequality in Chicago across time and space;
  • Presenting compelling data visualizations to persuade lawmakers and the general public about the importance of inequality;
  • Documenting and evaluating current policies and practices that have positively addressed inequality;
  • Completing action-oriented research alongside existing organizations to understand under way efforts while advocating for a city-wide approach; and
  • Identifying gaps and opportunities in legislation, policy, and resource allocation to most efficiently address urban inequality’s symptoms and sources.

Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D. says the new center aligns with the school’s legacy of not merely adopting an “issue-by-issue” strategy to remedy violence, housing, education and health issues. Rather, a comprehensive approach is crucial to communities’ evolution.

“Chicago is arguably the most divided and inequitable city in the United States, and we will not ignore longstanding racial segregation as its main cause,” Crossman said. “Together, we can start the paradigm shift required to ignite change.”

About Adler University

Adler University educates students to engage the world and create a more just society. Established in 1952, it enrolls more than 1,400 students in master’s and doctoral programs for social change through its campuses in downtown Chicago and Vancouver, as well as an Online Campus. Adler University’s mission is to continue the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities and advancing social justice.