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College of Arts and Sciences


Institute for Public Service and Policy Research

Institute for Public Service and Policy Research

Where do government leaders go to learn more about doing their jobs better? Our mission is to deliver training and technical assistance to the elected and appointed officials who lead the way.

Improving quality of life – social, political, and economic – has been the goal of the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research since it was founded in 1945.  An interdisciplinary research and public service unit of the University of South Carolina, the Institute’s primary focus is South Carolina.

Briefly, the Institute aims to meet the training and technical assistance needs of local and state government and to conduct research that will find effective solutions to the public policy challenges facing our state and communities in the 21st century.

 The Institute has had several incarnations.  Originally called the Bureau of Public Administration, it was renamed the Bureau of Governmental Research (in 1969) and then the Institute for Public Affairs (in 1988) before becoming the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research in 2001. 

We offer a panoply of leadership, management, and technical training programs for elected and appointed officials, as well as seminars and workshops that can be custom-tailored for each group. We also offer technical assistance -- in areas, for example, like strategic planning and organizational structure and design -- to state and local governments on a contractual basis.  We design and facilitate retreats for city and county councils, boards and commissions, and management teams. The Institute also shares “best practices” with local and state governments via our Best Practices Bulletins.

Each year, the Institute is involved in approximately 40 survey research projects to monitor quality of life in South Carolina. Data that are collected provide information to policymakers, the media, and the public on such issues as health, taxation, the environment, recreation, and perceptions of public services.  One of these projects in 2011 surveyed cities and counties in the state to determine how they were being impacted by the recession. 

This is just a small sampling of the many wide-ranging services provided by the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research.  Please click on our website’s links for more details.