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Our applied research is a community resource.
The applied research of the Fitz Center provides a valuable resource to the area’s human services programs, neighborhoods, and other non-profits in the region. The researchers have helped establish community priorities, write needed grant proposals, and evaluate ongoing projects. The evaluation reports have improved the accountability and efficiency of numerous social service, educational, and cultural projects in an era of scarce resources. Professional expertise in data collection and analyses, social service delivery systems, and neighborhood trend analysis has been provided to groups as diverse as a retirement home and the county child protection agency.
Much of our research has been focused on social service programs in Dayton and the surrounding area. Some of these programs have been designed to ameliorate difficulties faced by young parents, some to reduce family violence, some to improve the educational systems’ ability to meet the challenges of teaching students with few supportive resources at home, and still others to help adolescents avoid a range of health-risking behaviors. Center research focuses on accurately assessing the impact of human services programming on the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Center staff members have worked with local groups to reduce the chances of family violence and child maltreatment, homelessness, adolescent pregnancy, and improve school readiness.
In addition to the research and evaluation services provided to human services groups in the Dayton area, Fitz Center researchers work with the Association of Marianist Universities to accurately measure and understand the extent and range of college students’ engagement in civil society on this and the other Marianist campuses. Each year the involvement of undergraduate students in service, service-learning, and other forms of civic engagement is tracked and their opinions and attitudes about the meaning and impact of these activities is carefully considered.
The Center has a long history of working with private groups such as Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, Elizabeth’s New Life Center, Inc., Womanline, and Erma's House Family Visitation Center. Governmental groups such as the Montgomery County Office of Children and Families First as well Dayton Public Schools have used the research and evaluation services of the Center. Funding has been received from government sources including the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs; Montgomery County Job and Family Services, the State of Ohio, and private foundations.