Civic Engagement Task Force

March 24, 2015

The mission of the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning is to involve students, faculty, and staff in service activities that mutually benefit the campus and community.

Programs are designed based upon the following program goals:
To support the development of service learning classes.
To increase campus participation in community service
activities. To strengthen campus-community partnerships.
To advance the scholarship of service.
To promote civic engagement in higher education.

In Fall 2000, the Dean of the Faculties and the Vice Chancellor for Planning and Institutional Improvement appointed a Civic Engagement Task Force to (a) examine methods to document civic engagement activities, (b) evaluate the quality of civic engagement activities, and (c) envision a civic engagement agenda for the campus and its surrounding communities.

One of the earliest challenges of the Task Force was to define civic engagement as “active collaboration that builds on the resources, skills, expertise, and knowledge of the campus and community to improve the quality of life in communities in a manner that is consistent with the campus mission” (IUPUI Civic Engagement Task Force, 2001). Civic engagement includes teaching, research, and service in and with the community.

Civic engagement, as a scholarly activity, is the work of all schools and departments. Academic units are expected to report on civic engagement activities in annual reports that are part of institutional planning and budgeting. The Center for Service and Learning has key responsibilities to be a catalyst for civic engagement, to collaborate on the assessment of civic engagement, and to work with faculty to document civic engagement as scholarly work, but civic engagement is promoted as being the responsibility of all academic units.

Staff from the IUPUI Office of Informational Management and Institutional Research designed a web-based Institutional Portfolio ( The CETF consulted with this group to create a Civic Engagement Inventory ( as a means for representing civic engagement activities to internal and external audiences. Faculty and staff across campus were asked to enter activities into the interactive database and are asked to update information on a continuing basis.

The Civic Engagement Inventory organizes civic engagement activities along a number of key dimensions: academic unit, types of civic engagement activities, social issues, keywords, community partners, and geographic location. Campus-community activities can be searched by issues, or searched by community agency. The database allows the community access to campus resources associated with civic engagement activities.

The Institutional Portfolio includes Performance Indicators to benchmark and document campus progress towards measurable goals for a) enhancing capacity for civic engagement, b) enhancing civic activities, partnerships, and patient and client services, and c) intensifying commitment and accountability to Indianapolis, central Indiana, and the state. Performance indicators have been an integral part of campus accountability practices and provide a systematic way to gather information that can chart progress toward institutional goals.

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) - IN, Indiana
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