news highlights

Marilyn Higgins named U of M UROC Interim Executive Director

Marilyn Higgins has been named interim executive director of the University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC). She comes to the University and the UROC community with a distinguished career built on more than 30 years of experience in cultivating community-campus partnerships in metropolitan settings.

UROC Community Day—3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5

UROC Community Day graphic

Join community and University leaders for an afternoon of food, music, information and fun at UROC's annual Community Day from 3 to 7 p.m., Thursday, October 5. This year's open-house celebration of community-University partnerships will feature a look at progress in the Penn-Plymouth Avenue corridor and a special tribute to former UROC Executive Director Heidi Barajas.

Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota

UROC has released a first-of-its-kind study on sex buyers in Minnesota. Aided by more than 150 qualitative interviews of law enforcement, prosecutors and social service personnel in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, the report examines the demographics of Minnesota’s sex buyers, their buying tendencies, and methods of entry into the marketplace. The market includes victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

UROC's accomplishments highlighted in external review

As part of the University of Minnesota’s formal review process for academic research centers, UROC underwent its first external program review in November, 2016. The process involved a self-study written by UROC Executive Director Heidi Barajas, as well as interviews, a site visit and a written report with recommendations for growth and improvement by an external program review committee. 

Megan Gunnar named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

UROC Executive Advisory Committee member Megan Gunnar has been named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country's most prestigeous honorary societies.  A University of Minnesota Regents Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and director of the Institute of Child Development in the College of Education and Human Development, Gunnar is a leading researcher in child development and developmental psychobiology.

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 trp.uroc.umn.edu.

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.