Charlie Collins

Charlie Collins

Associate Professor

B.A. University of California, Riverside M.A. California State University, Chico Ph.D. Michigan State University

Office: UW1-353
Phone: 425-352-3594
Email: crcolli3@uw.edu
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011


My teaching is guided by one underlying philosophical principle – teaching and mentoring must be paired with the practical application of theoretical ideas to promote a high level of learning, critical thought, empowerment, and active engagement among students. This framework strives to engage students in critical thinking and awareness of larger community and societal issues while simultaneously teaching theoretical processes that underscore social problems.

Additionally, I utilize practical activities, community engagement, and innovative teaching methodologies (e.g. “flipping the classroom”) to enhance the understanding of my students. I view engagement and learning as “multi-centered” such that each individual (student and teacher alike) contributes to the overall knowledge of the classroom. Indeed, I attempt to make my classroom a place where the rising tide lifts all boats.

In addition, I use the lived experiences of each person in the classroom, including my own, to enrich the classroom context across diversity. I firmly believe that the academy is a place where dialogue begins, not where difficult conversations go to die.

Courses Taught

BIS 312: Approaches to Social Research
BIS 315: Understanding Statistics
BISCP 343: Introduction to Community Psychology
BIS 393: Social Networks
BIS 438: Prevention and Promotion
BIS 483: Community Organizing
BPOLST 502: Statistics for Policy Studies
BPOLST 513: Practicum

If you are interested in research methods and/or statistics, please feel free to check out my videos on the topic:


My research seeks to answer the question: in what ways do individuals and communities engage collectively with the goal of addressing social and community change? This focus has led to several research projects that focus on understanding the relationship between relational aspects of community life and the ability of those relationships to potentiate collective action processes. As such, this interest has manifested primarily in understanding the relationships both within and between community action organizations and how these relationships can facilitate collective action processes. As such, I currently lead two research projects to specifically investigate these issues.

The Anti-Racism Research Project

Anti-Racism is a personal and societal standpoint that opposes racism in its many forms. Anti-racist social movements fight for the dismantling of systemically racist social and economic policies, for example. Additionally, many anti-racist activists and organizers promote, at a minimum, equal power sharing for people of color within the social and economic systems (e.g. government, business, education, etc.) that control the lives of Americans. In essence, they seek social, political, and economic self-determination for communities of color.

The anti-racist social movement mobilizes social actors across race, class, gender, ability, etc. to dismantle racist systems of oppression with the goal of creating individual, community, and systems level change. This movement has been successful in building empowered citizens capable of leveraging influence over their lives and promoting the self-determination of their communities.

However, in a “post-racial” society, Americans are frequently taught that race is no longer a determining factor in individual and community outcomes. Anti-racist activists and organizers have fundamentally rejected this narrative and actively fight against it. This project, then, seeks to understand how anti-racist activists and organizers find themselves in a place where they actively work against the “post-racial” narrative and take action to dismantle racist systems. For this project, I talk with anti-racist organizers of color to better understand their personal stories and how they became anti-racist organizers. For anti-racist white allies, I seek to understand how they developed their ant-racist ideology and where they place themselves in the larger movement.

I want to hear the stories of these organizers to understand how their lives have influenced their trajectory. I hope to learn how organizers came to their social justice orientation, how they work to dismantle racism, and how this work has influenced their personal lives and relationships, for example.

The Inequality Research Project

As neoliberalism has given rise to increasing economic and social inequality around the globe – particularly in western democracies – I ponder how this inequality shapes the ability for communities to engage in fundamental democratic processes. Does inequality pose a risk to democratic social and institutional structures that were designed to give voice to the powerless? The inequality research project seeks to understand this question by examining data from communities within the U.S. In one of my recent papers published in the Journal of Urban Affairs, I my co-author and I found that at a minimum inequality undermines social relationships within communities and decreases residents’ sense of safety.

Student Research Assistants

Students assisting in research are engaged in one or more of the following activities:

  • Building research protocols and procedures
  • Recruiting research participants
  • Transcribing interviews
  • Coding and theming interviews
  • Developing quantitative surveys
  • Rating interviews on quantitative scales
  • Presenting research at local and national academic conferences

Additionally, students have opportunities to develop their own research questions and projects relevant to the project.

Graduate students and/or advanced students/RAs will have the opportunity to utilize data collected from this project for their capstone/thesis projects, academic presentations, publications, and/or other academic outcomes.

Requirements and Commitments

Students RAs are asked to commit a minimum of two quarters (excluding summer) to the project at 5-10 hours per week. This time includes attending weekly or biweekly team meetings. Students are also asked to use this experience as a BIS 398/498 class at least one of the two quarters. I prioritize students interested in social scientific research, underrepresented students (e.g. first in family), and those planning on or thinking about attending graduate school. A focus on social change and justice is a bonus! There are no minimum GPA requirements.

We are always recruiting new RAs to start with the team!


  • Experience working on applied social scientific research
  • Course credit in the form of BIS 398/498
  • Potential strong letter of recommendation
  • Possible academic presentation experience

For students interested in joining the project, please email me directly (crcolli3@uw.edu).

Selected Publications

†Indicates student author

Collins, C. R., Guidry, S. (forthcoming). What effect does inequality have on residents’ sense of safety? Exploring the mediating processes of social capital and civic engagement. Journal of Urban Affairs.

Collins, C. R., Neal, Z. P., & Neal, J. W. (2017). Transforming Social Cohesion into Informal Social Control: Deconstructing Collective Efficacy and the Moderating Role of Neighborhood Racial Homogeneity. Journal of Urban Affairs, 39(3), 307-322.

Collins, C. R., Neal, J. W., & Neal, Z. P. (2014). Transforming Individual Civic Engagement into Community Collective Efficacy: The Role of Bonding Social Capital. American journal of community psychology54(3-4), 328-336.

Langhout, R. D., Collins, C. R., & Ellison, E. R. (2014). Examining relational empowerment for elementary school students in a yPAR program. American journal of community psychology53(3-4), 369-381. Neal, J. W., Janulis, P., & Collins, C. R. (2013). Is Community Psychology too Insular? A Network Analysis of Community Psychology Journal Citations, Journal of Community Psychology, 41(5), 549-564.

Foster-Fishman, P. G. & Collins, C. R., & Pierce, S. J. (2013). An Investigation of the Dynamic Processes Promoting Citizen Participation, American Journal of Community Psychology, 51(3-4), 492-509.

Yang, E., Foster-Fishman, P. G., Collins, C. R., & Ahn, S. (2012). Testing a Comprehensive Community Problem-Solving Framework for Community Coalitions,Journal of Community Psychology, 40(6), 681-689.