Since its founding, CUMU has been a leading voice and forum for the current and future generations of higher education leaders grounded in urban and metropolitan communities. Our member campuses are on the leading edge of critical issues in higher education and society. The power of CUMU is that we connect and convene these campuses to explore, create and disseminate knowledge that supports our campuses and the communities they serve.

CUMU Research Collaborative

We are excited to announce the CUMU Research Collaborative. Launching in late spring 2022, the Research Collaborative includes appointed members from CUMU member institutions. Grounded in CUMU’s mission, the Research Collaborative identifies research priorities and opportunities across the CUMU membership, develops and oversees a Research Fellows Program, and leads collaborative research initiatives.

  • Research agenda
    The CUMU Research Collaborative determines, with input from CUMU’s leadership, executive committee, and members, the types of research-based resources and products that are useful to CUMU members and the field more broadly. Based on this input, the Collaborative creates a draft research agenda.
  • Research Fellows Program
    One key initiative for the Collaborative’s oversight is the development of a Research Fellows Program. This entails providing input on the parameters of the opportunities provided and outcomes expected from participants. Additionally, the members select the research fellow(s) for each cycle.
  • Advise on initiatives
    Additionally, the CUMU Research Collaborative serves as an advisory committee as opportunities, questions, and requests arise from member institutions and partner organizations. This may include considerations of grants, research initiatives across member institutions, and the development of programming to support research related to our mission.

Previously funded research initiatives


Dr. Mary Ann Villarreal

Mary Ann Villarreal, Ph.D., serves as vice president for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah, and chairs the CUMU Research Collaborative.


Email Valerie Holton, interim executive director, with questions and to learn about funding opportunities.

Research Fellow

Lina D. Dostilio, EdD, Associate Vice Chancellor, Community Engagement, University of Pittsburgh, 2019 CUMU Research Fellow

Research Team

  • Mary L. Ohmer, PhD, Associate Professor, Social Work, University of Pittsburgh
  • Kara McFadden, Research and Evaluation Associate, University of Pittsburgh
  • Sera Mathew, PhD, Assistant Professor, Point Park University
  • Carrie Finkelstein, Graduate Student Assistant, University of Pittsburgh

Funded by The Kresge Foundation

Research Lead

The Center for Community Planning & Development at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University

Lead Author

Molly Schnoke, Project Manager, Community Planning and Development and Levin College Forum Program

Funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Research Lead

Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative (HRAC), Portland State University

Lead Authors

  • Marisa Zapata, PhD, Associate Professor of Land-Use Planning; Director, HRAC, Portland State University
  • Jacen Greene, Co-Founder and Assistant Director, HRAC, Portland State University

Funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Kresge Foundation