Written by Amy Conrad Warner, Vice Chancellor Office of Community Engagement
IUPUI embraces key responsibilities in ensuring the vitality of our region. Research, discovery and direct service provides answers to complex health challenges, builds strong communities, and prepares tomorrow’s workforce to innovate and compete on a global level. The fulfillment of this commitment requires accountability and an understanding of the impact we are making with the community.
As an anchor institution – a major institution committed to its location and role in advancing the local economy – IUPUI is making efforts to stimulate the economy of our region by incentivizing employees to live closer to campus and assessing the impact of our purchasing decisions.
A partner in the Indy Chamber’s Anchoring Revitalization Program, IUPUI launched the Anchor Housing program this spring which provides employees with an incentive to purchase or repair a home in the neighborhood around campus. You can read about the first employees to benefit from this program, and the impact it has made on their lives, in this issue. Learn more about the program by visiting the website or stopping by the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership table at the Employee Health & Benefits Fair on October 27, 9 am – 2 pm in the Campus Center.
As an institution of higher education, we consistently strive to improve our ability to assess the impact of our engagement with the community through reliable measurements that combine dependable data, comprehensive levels of input and a broad base of feedback.
Our campus has been on the forefront of higher education civic engagement and assessment for decades. The upcoming Assessment Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest event focused exclusively on outcomes assessment in higher education, will bring together more than 1,000 educators to the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown on October 22-24. Sessions in the conference’s community engagement track include ‘Realizing our Anchor Mission: Indicators to Discover and Enhance Our Impact’ and ‘Assessing Campus-Community Engagement Collective Impact.’
Additionally, and new this year, the post-conference Carnegie Academy will be held at IUPUI. This event prepares college campuses intending to apply for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Community Engagement Classification in 2020. Individuals and college campus teams new to outcomes assessment will acquire fundamental knowledge about the field, learn from individuals who have worked as leaders in the field, and those at all levels will establish networks that serve as resources and offer ongoing expertise.
Outside of the these events, and on an ongoing basis, the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (PPI) serves as a research partner in numerous community projects where they lend their expertise in economic development for the region, tax and finance, criminal justice, public safety, land use and environment, as well as housing and community development. In fact, they are working with the IndyEast Promise Zone to develop community-based data evaluation tools to measure the impact of various initiatives on community quality of life issues. This partnership will teach us new methodologies to measure the impact of our collective contributions within a community.
The Polis Center has been a leader in community informatics since its inception and is a valuable resource for community engagement accountability. This emerging field uses information and communication technologies to help address social, cultural and economic issues. In a series of community forums, called SAVI Talks!, the Polis Center provides insightful data and analysis on the state’s most pressing areas of need.
In an effort for IUPUI to better answer the question of how our campus is engaged with the community, and be able to develop a more strategic approach to engagement, we are an early adopter of the CollaboratoryTM, a cloud-based software application designed to capture institutional community engagement and public service activities. We are working to develop a robust reflection of our community-engaged activities and encourage IUPUI faculty and staff to submit their community-engaged activities in the Collaboratory through One.IU.
IUPUI remains committed to our responsibilities as an anchor institution. We will continue the quest to measure and assess the collective impact of our progress in achieving mutually beneficial goals. By leveraging the economic and intellectual power of our institution in partnership with policy makers, community leaders, and educational enterprises, we will achieve our collective goals and accelerate the vitality of our region.