Shippensburg University is pleased to announce a new partnership as the home of the Connors Institute for Nonpartisan Research and Civic Engagement. The institute, founded by Dr. Lawrence Eppard, associate professor of sociology, works to disseminate high-quality, non-partisan information to the American public around issues of societal well-being, democracy promotion and news literacy.
“We take an aggressively nonpartisan approach to providing Americans with useful information in order for them to make informed decisions,” explained Eppard.
The institute is focused on research and civic engagement events that will deliver non-partisan insight to citizens. Joined by colleagues from Shippensburg University, Rutgers University, Brown University, Bringham Young University, Northwestern University, Occidental College and several media professionals, Lawrence is excited to see the impact of the institute expand.
Eppard currently hosts the podcast “Utterly Moderate,” where he is joined by guests who help him understand timely topics with a focus on empirical evidence and without unneeded opinions or political agendas.
Through the institute, Shippensburg University students will have access to programing, research and fellowship opportunities in an environment committed to students from different social and political backgrounds.
Eppard also plans on introducing two annual reports focused on news literacy and Pennsylvania inequality.
“This center aims to give students, faculty, staff and the public an opportunity to ask a much broader range of research questions and better understand the preponderance of the evidence on key societal issues by being vigilant in identifying and resolving blind spots in our knowledge production and dissemination,” added Eppard.
Dr. Neil Brasher, professor of political science, Dr. David Monaghan, associate professor of sociology and Josephine Smith, instruction and assessment librarian, will support the institute as senior analysts and advisor council members. The institute will expand engagement across the university with faculty, staff and students to harness the research and professional expertise of the campus community.
“We are excited to welcome the Connors Institute for Nonpartisan Research and Civic Engagement at Shippensburg University. The work of the institute and Dr. Eppard are of great value to our students, faculty and staff, but more importantly to our collective society. With unprecedented political discourse and a great need for unbiased and evidence-based knowledge, the Connors Institute can provide a path forward for those seeking to see the return of civility within our democracy,” said Dr. Charles E. Patterson, president of Shippensburg University.
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