Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute

More about the PPI

Beyond the Barrio bookThe Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute is a research unit at the University of Texas at Austin established by the Texas Legislature in September 1995 and named for Irma Rangel in 2009 (previously, it was known as the PPI).  Our focus is researching public policy issues salient to the State of Texas through the support of UT graduate student and faculty research, by publishing our findings in a wide variety of outlets, and by hosting conferences, seminars, speaker series, and other events in order to disseminate research results.

The Institute offers graduate students a unique opportunity to gain experience in the process of academic knowledge production through their work on various projects.  They learn and apply skills such as reviewing policy and political science literatures, analyzing data, designing and conducting opinion surveys, conducting elite interviews, and writing for publication.  Graduate Research Assistants are also assigned to projects conducted by faculty inside and outside of the Department of Government.

Research Fellowships
Through research fellowships, the Institute supports approximately five Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) appointments every Spring and Fall semester for graduate students in the Department of Government as well as other departments and schools. Over the last decade, the Institute has supported over 140 semester-long GRA appointments – almost all at full-time (20 hrs/wk) – as well as some part-time Undergraduate Research Assistantships.  We have also offered over dozens of Summer Session research fellowships, a rare source of financial support for graduate students during these months. 

Research Grants
The Irma Rangel Institute awards research grants to graduate students to support doctoral and other research and to faculty to support work consistent with its research mission.

Graduate Seminars
The cornerstone of the Institute, we hold graduate research seminars (or “clinics”) related to a wide variety of public policy issues.  Our budget item stipulates that “the clinics shall be focused on public policy issues salient to the State of Texas and to be offered as graduate-level seminars to help maximize the partnership with the Tomás Rivera Center, the Center for Migration and Border Studies and other academic institutions. These funds shall be used to pay research fellowships, surveys, and other expenses associated with the clinics” (University of Texas at Austin budget, May 20, 2001).  Beginning with the 1995 Fall semester, the Institute has held graduate research seminars (or “clinics”) each year related to public policy issues such as education, immigration, economic development, NAFTA, employment, welfare reform, public opinion, the U.S. and Texas relationships with Mexico, citizenship, and many others.  One of our most recent clinic project involved Latinos and K-12 education.

Knowledge Dissemination
The Irma Rangel Institute supports research relevant to both academic and policy communities.  Our research has appeared in a variety of scholarly outlets as well as Austin American-Statesman articles.  We have published and supported publications on many policy topics and aspects of the policy process (we are in the process of creating a “Publications” section of this website -- please check back to see an expanding list of available research products).  In addition, the Institute hosts conferences and invites guest lecturers to UT (see the Events link for a list of current and recent events).

 Participants in the 2008 conference 'Latinos and Public Policy in Texas,' under the gaze of Governors Rick Perry and George W. Bush
Participants in the 2008 conference 'Latinos and Public Policy in Texas,' under the gaze of Governors Rick Perry and George W. Bush