News & Events

The story of UROC's Trauma Recovery Project now online

screen shot of TRP website main page

Building on community expertise and the University’s research in historical trauma, UROC's Trauma Recovery Project brought together teams of families, researchers, community leaders, healthcare professionals, and representatives from the faith community in an effort to identify trauma-related issues important to the North Minneapolis community. Learn more about the Trauma Recovery Project through the voices of its workgroup members at

Thor Companies' North Minneapolis headquarters: construction update

Construction on THOR Companies' new North Minneapolis headquarters—located at 1256 Penn Avenue North, on the lot directly west of UROC—began in January 2017.

The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, will include 92,000 square feet of retail and office space, along with a 620-stall parking facility, at the intersection of Plymouth and Penn Avenues. THOR's senior leadership has been a key part of UROC's Northside Job Creation Team since 2014.

Doll Power! Celebrating the Passion of Play

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February 2 to March 31, 2017
UROC Gallery
Artist Robin Hickman shares the story of her work and explores why playing with dolls still matters for adults. In DOLL POWER! Hickman's stunningly detailed photographs, installations, and narratives invite the viewer to learn more about her story and why she has made creating and uplifting dolls her life's work. The gallery reception will be held on Thursday, February 2nd, from 5:00pm - 8:00pm.

Bridging a Divide

Kente Circle CEO and Trauma Recovery Project Workteam Member Larry Tucker is focused on healing people of all races and cultures.

Larry Tucker was 17 when people told him that his life was over. He and his high-school girlfriend had just had a baby and to some, the young family’s future looked bleak. Tucker didn’t see things that way. “I didn’t feel like my life was over,” he recalls. “I felt like my story hadn’t been written yet and I wanted to write my own story.”

Ending Education Inequity

Rybak with students and staff from Harambee Elementary School.

Throughout his 12-year tenure as Mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak was always an outspoken advocate for city schools and public education. So it was no surprise that after leaving office in 2013 he took on the role of executive director of Generation Next, a coalition of education, business and civic leaders working to close the achievement gap.


National journal spotlights UROC and the community

UROC Executive Director Heidi Lasley Barajas is the author of an article in the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities' most recent Metropolitan Universities Journal. Barajas’s piece—Shared Space, Liminal Space: Five Years into a Community-University Place-Based Experiment, written in tandem with UROC’s Director of Research Lauren Martin—shines a light on the ways the University of Minnesota is engaging in the community through the use of shared spaces.

The Healing Power of the Pen

Writer Shannon Gibney reflects on UROC’s Witness Creative Writing Program

Writer Shannon Gibney reflects on UROC’s Witness Creative Writing Program

Since its launch in 2013 with a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, the Witness Creative Writing Program has attracted Northside writers of all levels who want to explore their own stories in a supportive atmosphere. Coordinated by the University of Minnesota’s Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), the monthly program focuses on storytelling techniques, style and the healing power of the pen.

Economic Development and Urban Communities: A Quality of Life Conversation—Thursday, Nov. 17

Plymouth intersection

Join residents, business executives, and community leaders in a UROC Critical Conversation on Economic Development and Urban Communities: A Quality of Life Conversation at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 17. The event will explore the connection between public and private investment in North Minneapolis and other urban communities and its impact on individual and community health, prosperity, and quality of life.

Community Day 2016: Celebrating Partnership

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Join friends, community leaders, and University staff at the sixth annual UROC Community Day, an annual open house celebration of University-community partnerships. Meet the University staff and community partners behind UROC's Northside-based programs, tour the building and gallery, and enjoy free breakfast from local Minneapolis vendors.

Dameun Strange and Innovative Philanthropy

Dameun Strange holds a conductor's baton

Dameun Strange joined the Bush Foundation’s Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellowship in 2015 as part of an inaugural cohort of philanthropy leaders. A member of the foundation’s Community Innovation Program, Strange works to fund creative community problem-solving projects that drive collaborative, asset-based innovation in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and 23 Native nations.

Power to Quit

Dr. Okuyemi speaks to "Power to Quit" participants

Smoking is debilitating to any population, but it can be downright devastating to the more than 70 percent of homeless people who smoke. In addition to being deadly, the habit is often tied to other substance abuse issues, which can reinforce cycles of homelessness and dependency.

Lincoln Community School is poised to become a park-like neighborhood gateway and oasis with help from University-community partners and residents

George and Beverly Roberts, along with some of their neighbors, had already written to the Minneapolis school board expressing concern over the condition of North Minneapolis’ Lincoln Community School playground when, much to their happy surprise, they attended Community Day at the University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC) and found staff there were working on the issue too.

Michael Goh and Peter Demerath are one of several Generation Next/UROC Faculty Fellows working to find solutions to Minnesota’s achievement gap

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It’s a familiar story—across the country, white students are doing better academically than their classmates of different races and ethnicities who typically have lower test scores and higher dropout rates. This “achievement gap,” as it is commonly called, is particularly evident in.

UROC’s after-school program helps young people discover community involvement

Listen up adults: If you want young people to become active, eager contributors to their communities, one of the first things you need to do is figure out who you have to be in order to help them do that. Ross VeLure Roholt, an associate professor in the University’s School of Social Work in the College of Education and Human Development learned that early in his career while working with youth.

Listening, building trust is key to UROC’s Trauma Recovery Project

Insightful conversation is known for sparking positive change. So it seems fitting that the Trauma Recovery Project, launched last spring by the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), hinges on conversations with North Minneapolis residents and faith leaders, community-based professionals and University scholars.

Nice Ride program thrives with UROC’s support

Looking around North Minneapolis, it seems as if bright orange bikes are sprouting up everywhere, and that’s because they are. May marked the second year of the Nice Ride Neighborhood Program, which loans bikes to individuals living in North Minneapolis and South Minneapolis’ Little Earth of United Tribes, as well as the East Side of St. Paul and the Frogtown neighborhood.

UROC's Lauren Martin receives U of M President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award

Lauren Martin, UROC’s director of research, received the 2016 University of Minnesota President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award. The award recognizes faculty members and University employees for excellent community-engaged work and for their academic careers that reflect a longstanding commitment to the University’s definition of public engagement. It was presented by the University's Office for Public Engagement and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

UROC grad students use research to solve real-life problems

Since the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) opened its doors in 2010, faculty and staff have been on a mission to create public partnerships and collaborate with the community in ways that produce meaningful research to solve real-life problems. Graduate students play an integral role in much of that research, making invaluable contributions to projects while gaining experience that can’t be had in the classroom

Farming in North Minneapolis? UROC studies the possibility

Some trends come and go, but consumers’ desire to buy fresh, locally produced food seems only to be growing. Farmer’s market sales are booming, traditional grocery stores are stocking more local and regional produce and more and more people are exploring ways to grow healthy food sustainably. One of those people is Dana Anderson, founder of Living Greens Farm ( in Faribault, Minnesota.

Growing gardeners: UROC helps kids develop green thumb

Gardening builds skills that go far beyond growing food. For more than 30 years, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has been teaming up with other organizations to offer garden-based outreach programs to children ages 5 to 18. Over time, programming has grown from the Children’s Garden in Residence, a seven-week, hands-on experience that combines science and gardening to a variety of garden-based summer work programs that help teens build leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills.