IUPUI wanted its community engagement efforts to be more coordinated and responsive to community needs.  However, faculty and staff were hindered by not knowing which issues are most pressing in Indianapolis communities and how IUPUI is engaged with community partners to address those challenges.


The Polis Center and the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement (OCE) collaborated to create an online community engagement map that  links data from the SAVI community information system and IUPUI’s Collaboratory to highlight community assets, areas facing challenges, where IUPUI is engaged, and where collaboration is or is not occurring.

Building a Data-Informed Approach to Community Engagement

The Polis Center and the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement (OCE) collaborated to create a searchable online community engagement map that depicts the location of select IUPUI engagement activities in Indianapolis communities. The platform also draws in data from the IUPUI Collaboratory and links it with data from the SAVI community information system to provide data on the socio-economic conditions, demographics, and community organizations in these areas.

The Collaboratory is a database of in-depth information about community engagement activities entered by faculty and students. It compiles information about the ways in which they partner with the community through teaching and learning, research, outreach programs, and events. It also describes with whom and for what purpose.

The maps and narrated data stories are a vehicle for engaging stakeholders in more strategic, multi-disciplinary collaboration to address pressing community issues. Faculty, staff, and students with similar interests are able to coordinate efforts and increase the impact of their work. And, the campus now has new ways to use geography in the process of understanding the scope, opportunities, and impact of its community engagement efforts.

OCE strongly values connections and university-community partnerships that enable IUPUI to understand relevant issues of today, prepare graduates and professionals, have an impact on its communities, and find workable solutions to local and global problems. The IUPUI Community Engagement Map leverages two existing initiatives to create a new valuable resource for community and university stakeholders as they work to improve quality-of-life for Central  Indiana residents.