Institute of Politics

Active Programs

The Institute of Politics serves as a regional catalyst, bringing public and private sector leaders together in private sessions to focus on issues of significance to Western Pennsylvania. This role requires the development of seminars and other off the record discussions which are regional, intergovernmental, interdisciplinary, and non-partisan.

The Institute's programming strategy includes two criteria:

  1. Public and elected officials will assist with the development and implementation of all programs.
  2. All programs will be tailored to involve a policy impact or outcome.

The Institute is currently working on the following intiatitves:

Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Improving Incarceration Policies and Practices in Allegheny County report examines the dramatic growth of national and local incarceration rates in recent decades even as crime rates have fallen. Building upon improvements already achieved by criminal justice professionals in Allegheny County, the task force’s report advances recommendations to create a fairer and more equitable system that allocates taxpayer dollars efficiently, effectively, and humanely, without compromising public safety. Click here to learn more.

Strengthening Relationships in Education

The Institute's Education Committee is developing programs that would build capacity among superintendents and other school leaders to serve as more effective advocates for the students in their districts. Click here to learn more.

Elsie Hillman Civic Forum

The Elsie Hillman Civic Forum is designed to engage students in activities that prepare them to lead lives as engaged and contributing citizens. The forum brings community leaders and young people together for educational programs, research projects, and mentoring opportunities designed to foster student involvement and fuel civic progress in the Pittsburgh region. For more information on the Elsie Hillman Civic Forum, please visit its website


The Institute's Health and Human Services Committee in partnership with Women for Healthy Environment the Institute hosted the Creating Healthy Communities: Get the Lead Out Conference that examined the various sources of lead: water, soil, and paint/dust. In summer 2018, the Institute will form a lead-safe demolition working group, which will develop a model ordinance for lead-safe demoltion. Click here to learn more. 

Opioid Overdose Epidemic

The Institute's A Continuum of Care Approach: Western Pennsylvania’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic report recognizes that the opioid crisis is simultaneously one of public health and public safety, and identifies gaps in existing protocols and programs. To address these gaps and build upon Western Pennsylvania’s existing successes in combating the epidemic, the report advances recommendations for public health and public safety organizations across the region. The Institute has continued this work through a special edition of Commonwealth and an examination of the opioid crisis on Pitt's campuses. Click here to learn more.

Future of Policing

The Institute's Public Safety and Emergency Prepardness Policy Committee is developing a forum that will build consensus, collaboration, and mutual trust, between law enforcement officers, municipal leaders, and community leaders, around critical and emerging issues in policing to promote continuous improvement to our law enforcement environment for both officers and residents. The forum will address challenges and barriers to policing as identified by active police officers, and will offer presentations, discussion, and policy options based on national best practices. Click here to learn more.

Small Business Development

The Institute's Economic Development Committee is exploring how best to strengthen connections and collaboration between small businesses, entrepreneurs, and anchor institutions to drive business development, especially in distressed communties. Click here to learn more.

Tom Murphy Case Study

The case study will examine Mayor Tom Murphy’s qualities of character and leadership and the transformative initiatives and challenges that occurred during his tenure as Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. Furthermore, the case study will explore the impact and application of the outcomes of the Murphy administration on the current political, social, and economic atmosphere in the greater Pittsburgh region. Click here to learn more.