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The Institute for Public Service and Policy Research is an interdisciplinary research and public service unit of the University of South Carolina. Our primary purpose is to help governments in South Carolina by addressing current and emerging public policy, governance and leadership issues through our educational activities, applied research, and technical assistance programs.

Our activities support the University of South Carolina-Columbia's mission by providing management and leadership education to local and state government officials, conducting applied research to inform policy making decisions, promoting civic engagement within South Carolina government, and providing practical research and learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

We strive to be a public service research institute that is valued and respected by the University of South Carolina, our stakeholders throughout the state, and our peer institutes throughout the nation.

The Institute has grown from a rich tradition of public service at USC. It was organized in September, 1945 as the Bureau of Public Administration. In 1969 the name was changed to the Bureau of Governmental Research and Service. In 1988 its mission was expanded to include more service-related policy research and it became the Institute for Public Affairs. In 2001 the Institute became a part of the College of Liberal Arts and its name was changed to the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research to convey the functions of the organization more clearly: to meet the training and technical assistance needs of local and state government and to conduct research to find effective solutions to the public policy challenges facing our state and communities.

A more detailed account of the Institute’s early history can be found in Twenty Five Years of Governmental Research written by former director Robert H. Stoudemire.

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