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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

Research and Expertise

The Buechner Institute of Governance provides applied research, evaluation and technical services to improve decision-making and policy in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Region, and the nation. For nearly 30 years, our research staff and faculty affiliates have served as a resource for decision-makers, policy makers program managers, and opinion leaders. We bring diverse, substantive expertise to bear on critical policy issues, especially those affecting families and children, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and communities.  Specific areas of expertise include early childhood and K-12 education, housing and homelessness, disaster management, public finance, energy, environment and sustainability. We work with clients and partners to design and carry out rigorous research studies that provide meaningful results to inform their work. We disseminate results via presentations and publications aimed at policy makers and the public as well as peer-reviewed academic publications.

We have extensive experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including survey research, needs assessments, program evaluations, cost studies, analyses of policy options and legal issues.  We have considerable capability in database design and in using administrative data to answer research questions.   

Buechner Institute researchers also help organizations build internal capacity by supporting them in using logic models and theories of change to inform the evaluation of their work. We provide strategic planning, and meeting and community process facilitation.  We also provides expert staffing to state and local commissions and processes, supplying background research and analysis, staffing, and process design to support productive outcomes.

The Buechner Institute employs seven full-time research staff and has 15 faculty affiliates from the School of Public Affairs.  Buechner Institute researchers have worked with diverse populations including Indian tribes, monolingual Spanish speakers, social service providers, rural communities, seniors, and vulnerable populations.  We regularly work with other Buechner Institute staff specializing in leadership, organization development, training, and facilitation of community problem-solving processes. 

The Research Team’s projects range from large-scale multi-year projects to short-term projects that meet local community needs.  Examples include:

  • CPIRC Evaluation -- Evaluators of the federally funded Colorado Parent Information Resource Center (CPIRC) over the past 18 years
  • Evaluation of DPS Dropout Prevention Programs: Engagement Center and Credit Recovery Programs -- Program evaluation of the effectiveness of two dropout prevention projects that are part of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Intensive Pathways Initiative. 
  • ProComp Evaluation -- Three year evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of Denver Public School’s ProComp alternative teacher compensation program.
  • School Choice Initiative -- Series of studies on how parents make school choices; particularly low- income parents and parents of children with special needs.
  • Boulder County Early Childhood Needs Assessment -- Assessment and identification of early childhood childcare usage and need in Boulder County.  
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT) and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Evaluations -- Three year evaluation of early intervention home visitation programs for children ages zero to five.
  • Denver Scholarship Foundation Evaluation Planning -- Designed short and long term evaluation plan for the Denver Scholarship Fund.
  • Staff to Governor Ritter’s P-20 Council -- Provide staffing to various committees within the P-20 Council developing policy and legislation initiatives.

Housing and Homelessness
  • Indian Housing Block Grant -- In partnership with FirstPic Inc., maintaining the data and formula necessary for allocation of the $600 million Indian Housing Block Grant providing technical assistance to tribes and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development re: grant implementation, compliance, and accurate assessment of needs.  
  • Colorado Statewide Homeless Point-in-Time Counts ¬¬-- Count and describe Colorado’s homeless population and changes in the population over time.
  • Fort Collins Homeless Point-in-Time Count -- Study of homelessness in Fort Collins Colorado.

Non-Profit Organizations
  • Colorado Trust Advocacy Policy Initiative -- Embedded coaches and evaluators in three of Colorado’s largest and most sophisticated non-profits focused on advocacy efforts focused on budget and tax policy and health care access.
  • Partnerships in Health -- Embedded technical assistance on organizational development, strategic planning and collaboration to thirteen Colorado non-profits working to improve access to health care. | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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