Institute of Politics

Past Projects

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 discussions which are regional, intergovernmental, interdisciplinary, non-partisan, and off the record.

The Institute's programming strategy includes two criteria:

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

The Institute has worked on a variety of intiatives since its founding. Below are some of our past featured intiatives:

CTE and Project Based Learning

The Institute's Moving Beyond 20th Century Education: Emerging Trends in CTE and Project-based Learning report attempts to highlight the connections between improving educational achievement and preparing students to take part in the workforce of tomorrow through the new methods of integrating career education and project-based learning that are occurring within our region. The report showcases these innovations to promote greater understanding of these practices among education and workforce stakeholders. Click here to learn more.

Food Insecurity

On November 9, 2017, the Institute partnered with The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to produce "Hunger - the Gateway to Other Ills." This program highlighted the social and economic costs of food insecurity in our region from the perspectives of the business, education, and health care communities. For more information, click here.

Health Literacy

In 2010, the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics held a town hall meeting that introduced health literacy as a critical topic in our region. As a result, regional health and human service leaders came together with a goal to improve health literacy in our region. Under the Institute's guidance and leadership, that group has come to be known as the Regional Health Literacy Coalition. The Coalition is currently housed at the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania. Click here to learn more. 

Regional Water Management Task Force

The Regional Water Management Task Force was an 11-county effort between 2006 and 2009 to improve water management and water quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The costs of addressing sewage overflows, abandoned mine drainage, and poor stormwater management will be staggering–conservatively estimated at billions of dollars–and these costs will only escalate as time goes on. The goal of the Regional Water Management Task Force was to reduce these costs and protect our region's most valuable asset by promoting increased regional collaboration and efficiency. Click here to learn more. 

Shale Gas

In August 2013, two years of study and dialogue culminated in the release of Shale Gas Roundtable: Deliberations, Findings, and Recommendations setting forth recommendations for the improvement of unconventional oil and gas development in Pennsylvania, including development in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. The recommendations promote increased research, modernization of state regulations, and the building of relationships across sectors to support environmental protection, quality of life, and economic development goals for the region. Click here to learn more. 

Suburban Poverty

In the summer of 2015, the Institute's Suburban Poverty Special Advisory Committee examined the issue of suburban poverty in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The committee’s work culminated in the development of a policy brief entitled Poverty: Beyond the Urban Core, which was designed to educate regional leaders on the changing demographics and landscape of poverty in Southwestern Pennsylvania by examining the unique obstacles that municipalities, human service providers, and nonprofits face while addressing poverty-related issues in the suburbs. Click here to learn more.

Urban Agriculture

In partnership with the Allegheny County Conservation District, the Institute's Urban Agriculture Special Committee developed a model urban agricutlure ordinance for municipalities in southwestern Pennsylvania. This ordinance is captured in Urban Agriculture: A Guide for MunicipalitiesClick here to learn more.

Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation

The Institute formed the Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation Task Force, which focused on a tool to allow a struggling municipality to voluntarily dissolve into the country in which it is located. The county would then provide municipal services to the former municipality in exchange for a tax or fee. The deliberations and research of the task force have been captured in the report entitled Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation: Creative Solutions for Counties of the Second ClassClick here to learn more.