Chattanooga Times Free Press: Sunday 23, 2012
UTC professor studies community problem
UTC News Headlines: Posted on September 21st, 2012
The UTC Center for Applied Social Research (CASR) recently conducted research for the Chattanooga Gang Assessment, a comprehensive community assessment that provides the foundation for a full community approach to gang abatement.
“UTC’s specific role through the CASR was to conduct the Student and School Component of the Assessment,” according to Dr. Barbara Medley, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of CASR. “This Component included a survey of over 5,000 middle and high school students from 13 schools throughout the county, 800 Hamilton County Schools teachers, administrators, and staff, and nine focus groups with school personnel and parents.”
UTC’s Center for Applied Social Research (CASR) partnered with the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies to conduct the assessment.
“The decision to be part of this project was directly tied to UTC’s mission as an engaged metropolitan university, and in this capacity, its responsibility as an institution is to be responsive to critical community issues such as gangs,” said Medley, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of CASR.
The Gang Assessment Project was funded by the City of Chattanooga, with additional funding support to UTC from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga.
Medley described several of the most important recommendations to come from the School Component thus far:
- Both students and school employees felt strongly that gang deterrence requires a diverse, proactive agenda that includes innovative programs that meet a wide range of student interests and needs, including entrepreneurial and job-skills oriented programs.
- There is a need to increase the number of counselors and resource officers in the schools, whose primary role is working with students to address their problems and needs.
- Programs and initiatives need to be developed that can strengthen families and parenting.
- The long-standing issue of poverty in core areas of Chattanooga must be addressed, particularly as to how it can be reduced more effectively through jobs and educational initiatives.
UTC Students Aid in City-Wide Gang Assessment
UTC students contributed a substantial amount of work to the Chattanooga Comprehensive Gang Assessment, one of the most comprehensive in the nation, through the Center for Applied Social Research, officials said... Click here to read the rest of the article from The University Echo...
6 Month Gang Assessment Presented to Chattanooga City Council
Thursday, September 13th, principal investigators from The Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies and UTC's Center for Applied Social Research presented their findings from the comprehensive, 6 month, county-wide gang assessment to the city council, the city mayor, other community stakeholders, and the media.
The assessment reveals a metropolitan community that is at a crossroads in dealing with gang activity. In a handful of neighborhoods—Alton Park, East Chattanooga, Westside and Avondale—gangs are entrenched and have been for years. These gangs are multi-generational and gang affiliation is associated with certain neighborhoods. In the rest of the city, gangs are an emerging menace. There is evidence that gangs are spreading. For example, all of the Hamilton County Schools participating in the assessment reported some level of gang activity taking place inside and outside of their walls. To view and access the PDF of the comprehensive gang assessment please click here. The link to the pdf is at the end of Boyd Patterson's letter to the community.
Click to read more and view videos from the Chattanooga Times Free Press regarding the Comprehensive Gang Assessment.
CASR to partner with OCHS Center to conduct Comprehensive Gang Assessment
Over the past three years, Chattanooga has witnessed the escalation of gang activity and associated violence. The entire city has been affected by this development, which had been building over the past fifteen years. The need to address this issue became urgently apparent with several gang killings and violent attacks on young people in the community during the most recent two years. An outcry from the public to take action led to the City of Chattanooga agreeing to provide limited funding to implement a Gang Violence Assessment as part of an initiative recommended by its Gang Task Force. The assessment model was developed by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and has proven successful in reducing the rate of gang presence and violence in a number of other cities.
The University in partnership with the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies will conduct the Chattanooga Gang Assessment, with responsibility for conducting the required comprehensive School Component in which students, teachers and all levels of staff are surveyed about gang-related issues.
From this assessment a comprehensive portrait of student views of the presence of gangs in schools and within the community will be developed, including child-reported gang-related activity; information on the existence of coercion and fear; reasons for voluntary participation; ideas for preventive strategies; and the presence or absence of community supports for youth that deter gang participation. This information will inform a comprehensive strategy for addressing the gang issue in Chattanooga at the school and community level that can be developed by the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County Schools, and the community at large.
Dr. Barbara Medley, Dr. Susan Ritz, and Ms. Marclyn Porter to present findings from the 2011 Student Retention and Diversity Study to Chancellor Roger Brown and the University Executive Team.
In 2011, the CASR was asked to conduct phase two of The Student Retention and Diversity Study (SRDS). This study provided an opportunity to examine issues related to student life, diversity, and academics at UTC. The first phase was conducted in 2008, establishing baseline data that informed university decision-making and initiatives. The 2011 study allowed a comparative analysis of survey data that assessed the impact of changes in the university from student perspectives since 2008.
In January, 2012 study finding were presented to Chancellor Roger Brown and the UTC Executive Team.
Click here to view the Student Retention and Diversity Study 2011.
Click here to view the Executive Team presentation.