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In the past two decades, the roles of state and local governments have increased greatly as federalist policies are pursued and power is devolved away from the federal government to more local structures. As a result, the need for applied research on state and city level policy and politics has never been greater. The Howard Samuels State Management & Policy Center works to fulfill that need by publishing reports on politics and policy on the state and city level.

The Howard Samuels Center's mission is to advance and promote democracy by focusing on those areas of research and public policy that increase access and participation to the political process, and foster equity and quality of services for marginalized groups.  Center research emphasizes education, welfare policy, community development and empowerment zones. The role of community based organizations is central to the policy research in each area.
The Howard Samuels Center places a high priority on training researchers and scholars, and in an effort to promote diversity in the social sciences, the Center makes a point of seeking out talented women and minority scholars interested in urban policy. The Center provides graduate students the opportunity to get hands-on experience doing original research in the field as well as writing and publishing reports and journal articles while supporting their attainment of a post graduate degree.