Dr. Margaret Stevens Director
Dr. Margaret Stevens

Who We Are: Mission and Vision
An urban community college needs an urban issues institute. Here at Essex County College, the Urban Issues Institute (UII) is a vibrant and cutting-edge “think and do” tank where our motto is “supporting intelligent, compassionate and sustainable civic engagement and youth leadership.” Civics is a lost trade, a dying field, in public schools across the nation, and especially in urban centers like Newark, NJ, where Essex County College is based. Therefore, the primary mission of the Urban Issues Institute is to offer exciting, dynamic and interdisciplinary programs, events and partnerships for Essex County College students to engage the community in a manner that reinforces their understanding of and commitment to responsible citizenry.


The vision of the UII is that we will be a central coordinating hub for young and sophisticated activists, scholars and entrepreneurs from across the greater Essex County region, and based in the communities of color, as a launching pad for the future leaders of tomorrow. From the programs, events and meetings in our institute we plan to see young people who will be the future politicians, community organizers, intellectuals and go-getters who are shaping the course of history at the local, state, national and global levels.


Above all, the UII is a safe space for in the college and in the larger community for dreamers who dare to do. In other words, we welcome people of any racial, religious or social identity so long as our commitment is to social justice and community empowerment. At the UII everyone feels rewarded for being strong-minded and out-the box.


Stop by our office to watch local elections on cable, discuss current political events, and plan for joint community partnerships.


Our strategic partners include:
New Jersey Black Issues Convention
New Jersey Community Research Initiative
African American Office of Gay Concerns
St. Michael’s Medical Center
City of Newark Office of City Council
City of Newark Youth One-Stop Program




Margaret Stevens, Director
Urban Issues Institute
A. Zachary Yamba Building; Room 4171
303 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973)877-3239
Email: uii@essex.edu

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