Professor of Sociology & Director for Center of Urban Research & Learning, Loyola University
When Nyden founded the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) he could not have known how deeply his aspirations would be fulfilled. He explains CURL as “a non-traditional, innovative, inter-disciplinary research center that engages in university-community collaborative research where community partners are involved in all stages of the research process from conceptualization and research design to analysis and writing final reports. We have completed more than 250 projects typically involve more than 40 graduate and undergraduate fellows in our collaborative research teams annually, and have worked with over 150 community partners.”
One of the driving motivations in his work is the desire to “examine factors that contribute to stable, racially, ethnically, and economically diverse communities,” in efforts to reduce segregated neighborhoods. Nyden’s approach focuses on assets to forge communities of opportunity for low-income families or racial/ethnic groups that have been excluded from social and economic opportunity. CURL has expanded its Chicago-focused mission. He has connected CURL with the EU’s Science Shops through the Living Knowledge network and with the University of Technology Sydney Shopfront.
Nyden’s work in complex urban neighborhoods, application of the principles of community engagement scholarship, efforts to expand such collaborative networks globally, and exceptional scholarship in public sociology are clear evidence of his contributions to the field of community engagement scholarship.