1965: The University Of Missouri Board Of Curators established the CENTER FOR METROPOLITAN STUDIES to provide "teaching, research, and service to the metropolitan community of St. Louis." The center conducted public policy studies for many local, state, and federal agencies on issues including public housing and governmental structure.

1973: University of Missouri-St. Louis Continuing Education/ Extension developed PUBLIC POLICY EXTENSION/SURVEY AND APPLIED RESEARCH in the early 1970s to assist local governments and engage in training and educational programs. The technical specialties of Public Policy Extension were public opinion research (telephone surveys, focus groups) and programs evaluation. 

1978: Scholar and art historian Jean Tucker founded the PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY.The gallery exhibited a series of special photographic exhibitions through the Center for Metropolitan Studies, featuring photos with contemporary and historical relevance. The Gallery was a commitment to the Center's support for the arts and its recognition of the importance of the arts in conveying current events.

1988: THE JAMES BUSH, SR. CENTER was established to enhance the ability of St. Louis and the State of Missouri to promote and manage social change constructively through policy research and community service activities. The Bush Center's Dispute Resolution Program provided individuals, organizations, and local governments with information and services to promote cooperative resolutions to conflict situations. Direct services included consulting, facilitation, community problem solving, strategic planning, mediation, and grievance hearings. The Bush Center also coordinated the Margaret Bush Wilson Scholarships and organized various lecture series', with several focusing on African history.

Also in 1988, the INSTITUTE FOR POLICY LEADERSHIP was created to provide leadership training for public officials along the model of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The Institute developed the Regional Housing Alliance, a public/private partnership supported by the City of St. Louis and St, Louis County to increase the number of affordable housing units for low-and moderate income families in the St. Louis region.

1989: A consolidation of the administration and staffing of the Center for Metropolitan Studies, the James T. Bush, Sr. Center and Public Policy Extension/Survey and Applied Research created the UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI--ST. LOUIS PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH CENTERS. Lance Leloup, then- chairman of the UMSL's Department of Political Science, was named as the founding director.

1991: The INSTITUTE FOR POLICY LEADERSHIP became a part of the Public Policy Research Centers. Because of the history and constituencies of the original units, their identities were maintained within the new Public Policy Research Centers.

2000: The Centers conducted a strategic planning process that included broad-based representation from UM-St. Louis faculty and St. Louis regional public agencies. In Spring 2000, a new relationship was forged and the Centers came to be called the PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH CENTER. Alan Artibise was named as the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Public Policy and appointed as PPRC's Executive Director.

The Executive Director position at PPRC was changed to DIRECTOR, and Mark Tranel, head of the Applied Research division, was named to the position. The department now reported directly to UMSL's Office of Research Administration. Also in 2003, Jean Tucker retired as Curator of the PPRC Photography Gallery and Mel Watkin came to PPRC.

Mel Watkin updated the mission of the Photography Gallery and changed its title to the PPRC PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT. The revised goal of the Project is to use photographic training, exhibitions and publications to draw attention to the impact community groups have on the quality of life in St. Louis and to broaden the public's knowledge and access to the photographic arts. The Photography Project also extended its reach by hosting two exhibitions for each show: one on the UMSL campus, and one in the St. Louis neighborhood that is featured in the photographs.


CHRDS channels University resources - faculty expertise, student energy - to individuals and groups seeking stronger, richer communities through the practical application of historical research. CHRDS also aims to enhance the educational experience of students at University of Missouri-St. Louis by providing them training through hands-on history projects.

2005: PPRC added another research division, the PUBLIC FINANCE INITIATIVE. PFI conducts research to examine the policies - and the administration that implements them -- regarding governmental revenue and expenditures at the state and local level.



Dr. Todd Swanstrom joined the University of Missouri-St. Louis as the DES LEE ENDOWED PROFESSOR OF COMMUNITY COLLABORATION AND PUBLIC POLICY ADMINISTRATION. This is a joint appointment with PPRC, the Department of Political Science, and Public Policy Administration. Swanstrom works with PPRC to achieve of its mission of producing and disseminating applied analysis and evaluation of public policies and programs.


2009: In conjunction with the Institute for Urban Research at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, PPRC launched the  APPLIED RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE.