The Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) functions as Trinity’s main intellectual catalyst and home for faculty research and curricular endeavors. Working with departments and programs, the Center sponsors or co-sponsors academic conferences, workshops, lecture series, and reading groups that bring Trinity faculty and outside scholars together to discuss and debate a variety of urban and global topics.  Through a variety of initiatives, the Center strives to stimulate and sustain broader faculty interest and participation in urban and global research that can also enrich and extend their teaching and curricular connections to Hartford and other world cities.   Please visit our pages to the left to learn more.


The Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) supports all of Trinity’s existing and new urban and global initiatives and programs through classroom teaching and learning, faculty and student research, semester or summer study away, and experiential activities in Hartford and globally.  Working with faculty, the Center strives to integrate the academic and experiential studies of local urban issues in the Hartford region and global urban issues in a variety of world cities, especially in the cosmopolitan centers of Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Trinidad, Cape Town, and Shanghai where Trinity operates its own study programs in cooperation with local universities.  On campus, a large number of faculty members from a variety of departments and programs participate in the following four urban-centered programs under the Center through teaching, research, and advising.

Cities Program

The Cities Program—an innovative, non-major program that is open to about 15-20 talented and motivated students in each entering class—examines cities and urban issues, past and present, in the United States and throughout the world. These students take a sequence of four courses together for the first year under the guidance and supervision of a small group of dedicated faculty members. Learn more about the Cities program.

Urban Studies Major

In the fall of 2013, Trinity launched its Urban Studies major. This new major provides a broad understanding of how urban dynamics shape both global interdependence and local spaces. It emphasizes how cities are increasingly critical to the organization of economic, soical, and cultural activities that shape and transform human experience. The major provides opportunities for community learning  in Hartford, approved, selective courses at the University of Connecticut or the University of Hartford, study away in international cities, as well as internships in a variety of urban settings.  Learn more about the Urban Studies major.  


Urban Studies Minor

The minor in Urban Studies  helps students develop a sophisticated grasp of the rapidly evolving reality of how dynamic urban centers and regions drive a global system and how cities are increasingly critical to the organization of economic, social and cultural activities. The minor draws from nearly 70 urban courses taught by a variety of faculty within and across many departments and programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Learn more about the  Urban Studies minor.

Community Learning Initiative (CLI)

What is community learning? At Trinity, we define it as a type of experiential learning—an academic course in which the faculty member works in partnership with a person or group from the local community to involve students in an experience they could not get in the classroom alone. The learning goes both ways, as the students and community residents share knowledge. Learn more about the Community Learning Initiative.

Human Rights Program

The Human Rights Program is committed to excellence in the study and practice of human rights.  The Program seeks to foster critical debate about human rights problems, inter-disciplinary dialogue, and conversations that bridge the divide between local and global human rights concerns.   Learn more about the Human Rights Program.

The Center for Urban and Global Studies offer a number of faculty teaching, research, and engagement grants and programs, including:

Course Development Grants

Over the last couple of years, CUGS has made the development of a new urban curriculum a priority. We have worked with a number of tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as with our postdoctoral fellows, to offer new urban courses and to strengthen the urban focus of some existing courses.  As a result, around 20 new or revised urban-themed courses have been added to what had previously been offered.

Trinity College’s Center for Urban and Global Studies has been honored to host visiting scholars from around the nation and around the world.  These programs would not have been possible without the generosity of the Trustees of Trinity College.

Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies

Trinity College’s Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) is one of the recipients to benefit from an endowment meant to advance the urban educational mission at Trinity College.  The endowed funds will support a postdoctoral fellow in Urban Studies.  The postdoctoral fellow is expected to have a Ph.D. in urban planning and design, geography, sociology, anthropology, public policy, or any other urban studies related discipline. The postdoctoral fellow will teach three undergraduate courses during two semesters that pertain to American cities with a comparative perspective, urban planning, land use, real estate, and/or spatial analysis using GIS. These courses are integral to the growing Urban Studies program/major and the Cities Program for first-year students, and can be cross-listed with the department or program of the fellow’s discipline. The fellow will also contribute to the advising of Urban Studies majors and the Cities Program students. In addition, the fellow is expected to carry out his or her research while participating in and assisting CUGS research projects and activities. The position carries a competitive salary and benefits with a small research fund, and could be renewed for a second year.  Click to learn more about the Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies. 

Visiting Rescue Scholar

Trinity College’s Scholar Rescue Program is a one-year fellowship supported by the International Institute of Education’s (IIE) Scholar Rescue Fund and the Scott Michael Johnson ’97 Memorial Fund, which was established by a former chairman of Trinity’s Board of Trustees, Tom Johnson ’62, Hon. ’05, P ’97, and his wife, Ann. They initiated the fund in honor of their son Scott, a member of the Trinity College Class of 1997 who lost his life in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The Johnson Fund supports rescue scholars while they are in residence at Trinity.   The IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund supports scholars who are suffering severe and targeted threats to their lives and/or careers because of their academic work in their home countries. Scholars are brought to host institutions in safe countries where they can continue their academic work in safety.  Click to learn more about the Visiting Rescue Scholar.

Thomas Visiting Professorship

The Thomas Visiting Professorship at Trinity, housed at the Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) and officially launched during the 2016-17 Academic Year, is supported by The Karen and David Thomas China Urban Research and Teaching Endowment at Trinity College set up by former Trustee Karen Kelsey Thomas ’78, P’13 and David F. Thomas P’13. With this support, we invite and host one professor from Fudan University to teach one or two courses on general topics related to China at Trinity during each fall semester. The specific focus of the course(s) is determined between the Thomas Visiting Professor from Fudan, CUGS, and the department/program in which the course(s) are listed. Besides teaching, the Thomas visiting Professor carries out research at CUGS, gives one public lecture, and participates in other academic activities related to his or her scholarly interests. The Thomas Visiting Professorship is half of a symmetrical exchange program between Trinity College and Fudan University, also supported by the Thomas Endowment with partial financial support from Fudan University, that sends a Trinity professor to teach two courses at Fudan during each spring semester.

Luce Visiting Scholar

Supported by a major grant under the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) from the Henry Luce Foundation, we host a visiting scholar from China or Southeast Asia at CUGS for one semester from 2013 to 2017. The Luce Visiting Scholar teaches one course related to the topic of sustainability in Urban Studies and carries his or her research at CUGS. The scholar also gives one public lecture, works with Trinity faculty to strengthen Trinity’s educational partnerships in China, especially with Fudan and Tongji Universities in Shanghai, and participates in other academic activities on campus related to his or her scholarly interests. Thus far we have hosted one short-term visiting scholar from Fudan University, two junior scholars from Tongji University, and one British scholar working on agricultural development and nature conservation in the Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia.

Raether Postdoctoral Fellow

From 2008 through the end of 2011, Trinity College’s Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) hosted three recent humanity or social science Ph.D. graduates as the Paul E. Raether Postdoctoral Fellow. Supported by endowed funds for the center, the postdoctoral fellow taught one undergraduate course in each semester on the comparative issues and challenges facing American and world cities, with a comparative focus on cities of the global South. These courses helped to meet the teaching needs in Trinity’s growing urban studies curriculum and were cross-listed between the department of the fellow’s discipline and another department/program. The successful fellow has a Ph.D. and demonstrated strong evidence of published or publishable scholarship in his/her urban field.  Click here to learn more about the Raether Postdoctoral Fellows.

The Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) fosters collaborative research opportunities that have drawn and involved Trinity faculty and the visiting scholars at CUGS since its inception in 2007. The broader and connected areas of urban and global studies create sufficient room and some organic ties to some Trinity faculty and CUGS’ visiting scholars’ research backgrounds and interests. This collaboration enriches some faculty and the visiting scholars’ own research and teaching expertise and boosts their career development through joint publishing activities.A number of Trinity faculty members have already contributed or are contributing chapters to the published and ongoing books sponsored by CUGS, including Janet Bauer, Jack Dougherty, Thomas Harrington, Michael Lestz, Clyde McKee, Beth Notar, Gary Reger, Michael Sacks, Scott Tang, Andrew Walsh, and Thomas Wickman.The visiting scholars at CUGS who have participated in collaborative research projects and/or co-authored published works are (alphabetically): Fakhmiddin Fazilov (IIE Rescue Scholar, 2011-13), Jing Gan (Luce Foundation Visiting Scholar, spring 2014), Reza Ghanbarpour (IIE Rescue Scholar, 2009-10), Mustafa Ibraheem (IIE Rescue Scholar, 2013-15), Ahmed Kanna (Raether Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies, 2008-09), Abbās Kāzemi (Visiting Scholar, 2013-14), Tyanai Masiya (IIE Rescue Scholar, 2008-09), and Sarah Moser (Raether Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies, 2009-10). The list of publications with the visiting scholars’ names in bold is as follows:

  • 2012    Ahmed Kanna and Xiangming Chen, “Introduction: Bringing the Less Familiar Cities in and Together.” Pp. 1-14 in Rethinking Global Urbanism: Comparative Insights from Secondary Cities, edited by Xiangming Chen and Ahmed Kanna. New York: Routledge.
  • 2011    M. Reza Ghanbarpour, Shima Sajjadi, S.Tahereh Hajiseyedjavadi, and Xiangming Chen, “Investigation of Visitors’ Participation and Willingness to Pay for the Baba Aman Recreational Park, Iran.” Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences 3 (6): 722-728.