Issue Spotlight: Southwestern Pennsylvania Infrastructure Primer

The Infrastructure Primer is a continually updated publication produced by the It gives a comprehensive overview of the region's infrastructure in layman's terms, covering multiple sectors and addressing emerging trends.

Click here to read the most recent report>>


During its bicentennial year of 1987 the University of Pittsburgh convened the Advisory Council on Regional Development (ACORD) that included more than one hundred western Pennsylvania leaders, to recommend ways in which the University could more aggressively and effectively accomplish its mission of public service. The ACORD's Committee on Federal-State Relations responded with a recommendation that the University establish an institute of politics and public policy to provide a forum for leaders of all sectors to gather together in a neutral setting to examine regional issues, develop consensus, and effectuate programs that would benefit the region. The establishment of the Institute of Politics was the University's positive response to that recommendation.

After over 20 years of effective programming, the Institute continues to serve as a catalyst in the analysis of important regional issues and to function as a forum for convening federal, state, county, and local government officials, in association with academics, foundation, civic, and business leaders, to discuss important regional issues and seek coordinated solutions to regional problems.


The Institute of Politics delivers timely information about the great issues affecting our region to elected officials and community leaders, and the public whom they serve, and provides a neutral forum where that knowledge and associated diverse viewpoints are discussed, digested, enriched, and applied to the goal of promoting the quality of life and economic vitality of western Pennsylvania.

In announcing the selection of the Institute of Politics for the 2003 Good Government Award, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh averred that

"the work of the Institute in informing and engaging students, community, and civic
leaders, foundation and corporate executives, elected officials and foreign dignitaries
in discourse on good government lies at the heart of our democracy and serves
as exemplary civic leadership."

The Institute of Politics' sustained impact as western Pennsylvania's public policy forum and catalyst is significantly enhanced by its ability to:

  • Provide a unique forum for public policy decision-makers
  • Access public policy expertise
  • Engage the policy-making community
  • Serve as a living laboratory for scholars
  • Offer a real-world observation post for students
  • Serve as an educational resource for western Pennsylvania

The Institute actively develops educational seminars, legislative briefing sessions, discussions, and public forums to stimulate discussion on pressing public issues. It then shares theses analyses and insights through regular publications that are distributed to elected federal, state, and county officials, as well as selected municipal, civic, and community leaders throughout western Pennsylvania. In this way, the Institute seeks to have a positive impact on the ability of leaders throughout the region to work together to address the challenges confronting western Pennsylvania and achieve results to advance the region.

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The Institute of Politics will be recognized as the region's most effective partner in the development of enlightened public policy that promotes the vitality of western Pennsylvania to the benefit of individuals, institutions, and businesses.

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Board of Fellows
The purpose of the Board of Fellows is to provide leadership and guidance to the IOP in the selection of targeted programming that has the potential to favorably influence the development of public policy. Members of the Board are expected to be active participants in the design and implementation of Institute programming consistent with the mission, vision, and values of the Institute. Comprised of public and private leaders of the region, the Board will meet formally twice per year to set the overall direction of the Institute. Board members will also be invited to serve on the Institute's Policy Committees and may volunteer (or be called to duty) as part of the Institute's quick-response team which reacts to rapidly arising issues of interest.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Fellows will provide continuous oversight for the Institute's operations and ensure consistency with the mission. The membership of the Executive Committee is drawn from the Co-Chairs of the Policy Committees.

Policy Committees
The role of each Policy Committee is to assess public policy needs within their domain and to recommend targets for programming that will measurably affect the development of public policy. The Committee Co-Chairs and members are expected to assume leadership roles in the development, implementation, evaluation, and follow-through of Institue programming in their areas.

Click here to view the policy committee pages.

The Institute of Politics has historically operated with a small and efficient staff to develop and implement its programs, special projects, publications, and internship offerings. The Institute is a component of the Chancellor's Office. Key staff of the Institute of Politics include:

  • Mark Nordenberg, Chair
  • Terry Miller, Director
  • Megan Soltesz, Deputy Director, Finance
  • Briana Mihok, Senior Policy Strategist
  • Kim Bellora, Policy Strategist
  • Tracy Papillon, Executive Assistant

Read more about our staff. >>

In addition to full-time staff, the Institute of Politics operates with the aide of talented consultants in publication writing and design, website construction, audio-visual support, and many other realms of activity.

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©2009 University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics - 710 Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 - (412)624-1837