· Home

  · About Us

  · Director´s Message

  · Staff

  · Contact Us



Affiliate Centers

Data Center



Manners Award


Steven D. Manners Research Development Awards

Recipients  ·  Announcement

2024 Manners Awardees
Conner · Bilec & Brooks

"Black Pittsburgh Satisfaction and Retention Study"

Kyaien Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH
Kyaien Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH
Professor and Donald M. Henderson Endowed Chair
Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems
School of Social Work
University of Pittsburgh

ABSTRACT: Recent research suggests the city of Pittsburgh is losing Black households at an alarming rate. While Pittsburgh has been identified as one of the most “livable” cities in the United States, this perspective is not shared equally by all its residents. Black Pittsburghers experience significant disparities in Pittsburgh in multiple areas, which have impacted Black Pittsburgher's decisions to stay in the region. This loss has led to significant challenges in the diversification of our workforce and developing healthy and thriving Black communities. Research has consistently called attention to the disparities facing Black Pittsburghers, there is, however, a dearth of research that has systematically studied a representative sample of the Black Pittsburgh population to attain their perspectives on why they left Pittsburgh and why they have chosen to stay in the region. The current project plans to evaluate significant predictors through our Black Pittsburgh Satisfaction and Retention Survey. We propose a sequential exploratory mixed methods design (cross-sectional survey followed by semi-structured interviews) to evaluate the predictors of decisions to stay in the Pittsburgh region long-term, or to leave the Pittsburgh region, among Black Pittsburgh residents (current and previous residents). We will utilize this robust data to develop testable recommendations, strategies, and potential interventions with key community stakeholders to enhance the contributing factors and mitigate those that are predictive of intentions to leave the region.

"Uncovering challenges and opportunities for advancing the University of Pittsburgh's transition to the circular economy"

Melissa M. Bilec, PhD
Melissa M. Bilec, PhD
Co-Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
Bevier Professor
Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

Amy L. Brooks, PhD
Amy L. Brooks, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate
Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

ABSTRACT: In 2023, the University of Pittsburgh committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2037. As part of a portfolio of tools for pursuing carbon neutrality, the circular economy (CE) will play a major role in advancing the University's progress through eliminating waste and pollution, retaining embodied energy through material circulation, and sequestering carbon. Higher education institutions play a critical role in advancing the CE through workforce development, research and innovation, and collaborations with policymakers, other institutions, and local communities. At Pitt, current CE activities remain disconnected, representing an opportunity to identify synergies and pathways for strengthening existing efforts or integrating new ones. To this end, we propose three specific aims to complete this project: 1) Investigate characteristics of CE initiatives among Pitt peers and sustainability leaders; 2) Generate an inventory of CE initiatives at the Pitt; and 3) Identify opportunities for advancing Pitt's CE strategy. To meet these objectives, we will generate an inventory of CE activities through researching publicly available information and conducting research interviews with representatives from Pitt's peers and key stakeholders on Pitt's campus. By synthesizing findings from these efforts, we will develop a strategic plan for the University's CE transition that highlights existing efforts and successes, summarizes short and long-term goals for the University, and shares best practices learned from other CE initiatives at peer institutions to benefit Pitt, the greater HEI community, and the local Pittsburgh community.

Manners Award

Award Overview

Each year, the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) awards the Steven D. Manners Research Development Awards to promising research projects in the social, behavioral, and policy sciences on campus. These awards honor the memory of Steve Manners, a sociologist who began working at the Center in 1974 and served as its Assistant Director from 1989 until his death in September 2000. His research and service to the Center and the University community were dedicated to improving social conditions in the urban environment.

Steven MannersSteven D. Manners

We will make two awards of up to $20,000 each, contingent upon the quality of applications and availability of funds. The proposed research must align with UCSUR's mission of working collaboratively to conduct interdisciplinary research that improves communities and addresses social, economic, health, and policy issues most relevant to society. Full-time faculty, post docs, and research associates from all University of Pittsburgh campuses may apply.

Manners Award Summary List

University Center for Social & Urban Research
3343 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260   ·   412-624-5442