Institute for Community Development: U.S. & Abroad

Prof Gilbert and members of Ghana team

Institute Director Dr. Dorie Gilbert, UT students Tim Bailey (Social Work) and Mary Clayton (Engineering), and community members of the rural village of Patriensa discuss construction site plans for Patriensa Pure Enterprise (PPE), a joint engineering and social work collaboration in Ghana.


The Institute for Community Development: U.S. and Abroad seeks to strengthen the resilient capacity of international and local communities through culturally-tailored, sustainable community development projects designed and implemented by cross-disciplinary, inter-university and community-driven collaborations.


The Institute seeks to (1) develop and implement innovative programming that transforms communities, students, agencies, and universities; (2) employ academic service learning and public scholarship models in community development initiatives; (3) bring together scholars from multiple disciplines and universities to work alongside community partners; and (4) create sustainable community development projects that result in increased civic engagement and more just societies.

Community Development Projects:

The Institute currently has several initiatives in community development projects in U.S. and Abroad which draw on art-based practice and various community empowerment models.  Research is a critical component of all projects and the Institute focuses on both quantitative and qualitative methods, including non-linguistic evaluation methods. The training and technical assistance branch offers services, resources and consulting to practitioners, students and community members.

MART, TEXAS   Rural Community Revitalization

  • City of Mart receives NEA Your Town Rural Citizens Design grant written as a class project in the SSW Global Development class (one of 3 in the country awarded)
  • SSW Partners with Writing for Non-Profits class to increase resources for Mart community development

PATRIENSA, GHANA   Rural Village Project Development

  • Cockrell School of Engineering partners with Social Work for Development Projects
  • SW Field Internship creates sustainable development for engineering projects
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science &Technology-Exchange Agreement with SSW

Woman at sewing machine in Ghana

Initiated by the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Projects with Underserved Communities, the enterprise in Ghana aims to create sustainable economic and environmental development through a water sachet business, plastic sachet water recycling/repurposing project, and creating charcoal briquettes from sawdust. Tim Bailey, UT MSSW student, will develop the enterprise’s sustainability through his international field placement in Patriensa, Ghana.  


  • Students help design after-school curriculum for Urban Scholars
  • Sisters of Nia: Evidence-based intervention for young African American girls

For additional information about the Institute and its activities,  please contact Dr. Dorie Gilbert,