About our institutes

Institutes based at PennWest California conduct research, provide professional development and offer specialized services to communities throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

A family hikes through hills.

Child & Family Studies


The Child and Family Studies Institute conducts research into child and family issues to provide parents, educators, policymakers and healthcare professionals with information that can help them meet the challenges of modern life.

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Crime scene tape.

Investigative Sciences


The Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences offers real-time investigative consulting and professional training programs for police, district attorneys, public defenders and others involved in the administration of justice.

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Abstract of Native American head gear.

Native American Studies


The LaDonna Harris Native American Studies Institute fosters understanding and respect for Native American culture and peoples both within the University community and the larger region.

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Gavel and books on desk.

Law & Public Policy


The Institute for Law and Public Policy offers continuing education for a broad range of professionals, including police, attorneys, corrections personnel, educators, regulatory professionals, CPAs and judicial personnel.

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SAI Farm at PennWest California.

Northern Appalachian Network


The Northern Appalachian Network is a multidisciplinary network promoting teaching, scholarship and service focused on the northern Appalachian region, its people and their environment.

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Students study fish in creek.

Partners for Fish & Wildlife


Based at PennWest California, Partners for Fish and Wildlife is a cooperative effort among many agencies. It works with landowners to remediate degraded wetlands and streamside environments, and to restore native grassland and wildflower habitat.

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A rural town in Pennshylvania.

Rural Communitites


The Rural Communities Institute builds collaborative partnerships that enhance the quality of life in small towns and rural communities, especially in southwestern Pennsylvania, through social work and human services programs.

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A student teacher helps a child.

Karen and Tom Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education 


The Karen and Tom Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education is a center for educational excellence based at PennWest California.

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A student goes through an obstacle course.

Serene Leadership Institute


Founded by a PennWest California alumni couple, the Linda and Harry Serene Leadership Institute gives back to the University and the community by sponsoring a speaker series, scholarships, workshops, leadership conferences and other events.


HRSA group

HRSA at PennWest California


The PennWest California Counselor Education and Social Work Departments offer programs for a variety of events including webinars, free training and student stipends through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants.

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Rural Health Behavioral Institute

Rural Behavioral Health Institute


The Rural Behavioral Health Institute strives to provide behavioral health training opportunities and partnerships to the widest range of the vulnerable, underserved, diverse population within Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

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