2022 Announcing GCSW’s New Hub for Engaged Action Research Lab, (HEAR Lab) - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Announcing GCSW’s New Hub for Engaged Action Research (HEAR Lab)


March 8, 2022

(HOUSTON, TX) - While research aims to help solve social problems, it is often inaccessible to impacted communities and practitioners who could apply the research.  The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is launching a new initiative to create and share research in innovative ways. The Hub for Engaged Action Research Lab, (HEAR Lab) works to build the capacity of scholars to disseminate anti-racist, collaborative, accessible research that centers community and fuels social change.

The HEAR Lab will support faculty in sharing their scholarship via new channels to increase its public impact. Our renowned faculty are experts in a range of research topics and working to make their research more accessible to the public helps to address injustices in policies and practices in our society. 

“The Hub for Engaged Action Research is the product of our increased awareness of the importance of getting our scholarship out to new audiences so that it can more immediately impact policy and practice combined with our recognition that we need to provide resources and supports so that scholars can learn to share their work in new ways”, said Dr. Sarah Narendorf, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development.  “Everything we do in the HEAR Lab is about connecting research and the research process more closely to the community.  Our goal is that what we produce as researchers is developed with community, focused clearly on problems identified by folks in the community, with a clear connection to informing solutions to these problems.” 

Along with Dr. Narendorf, GCSW doctoral students are spearheading the effort to disseminate faculty research in innovative ways and bring it to the forefront of impacted communities. Leveraging their skills, doctoral students are collaborating with faculty members to develop summaries of peer-reviewed articles that are more easily understandable to community audiences.  

 “As a doctoral student focused on disability research, I am astutely aware that the population I serve doesn't always have a way to access the work I do”, said GCSW doctoral student Jody Gardner. “A major component of the HEAR Lab is being able to publicize research in an accessible way and to build the capacity of other scholars in the GCSW to do the same. It's for this reason, among others, that my personal beliefs really align with the HEAR Lab’s innovative approach.” 

As a first activity, the HEAR Lab invites scholars, students, and the community to Walk N Listen together. Each week, the HEAR Lab will share a podcast showcasing women of color discussing topics including health disparities among black women, understanding critical race theory, and racism in artificial intelligence. The goal is for participants to engage in wellness by walking while listening to new ideas. Save the date March 14, 2022, and plan to join in the next four weeks to participate. Follow the conversation on Twitter at @UH_SocialWork. Tweet a picture of yourself walking while listening and/or share key ideas from the podcast with the hashtags #GCSWHEARLab #WalkNListen 


To learn more about the HEAR Lab research and upcoming events visit: https://bit.ly/GCSW-HEARLab

About the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is a nationally recognized program, ranked #22 by U.S. News & World Report. Offering MSW and PhD degrees, the GCSW prepares diverse leaders in practice and research to address complex challenges through exceptional education, innovative research, and meaningful community engagement. Our vision to achieve social, racial, economic, and political justice shapes every aspect of the College, from what students learn in the classroom, to the research we engage in, to the events and partnerships we curate that amplify community conversations and engagement on social justice issues. Learn more at uh.edu/socialwork.