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Phil Duncan
The Center on Congress at Indiana University

Kathryn Dolan
Indiana Supreme Court

Andrew Homan
Indiana Bar Foundation

Dave Brown
Inland Sea Productions

Last modified: Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Indiana Civic Health Index debuts, calling attention to efforts to spur engagement, education

Sept. 13, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- A coalition of Hoosier organizations promoting active citizenship and civic education is releasing the first-ever Indiana Civic Health Index and launching an effort to bring new vitality to the state's civic culture.

On Wednesday (Sept. 14) at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, Lee Hamilton, director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, joins with Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard to unveil the Indiana Civic Health Index, which they hope will focus energy and investment on increasing citizen engagement and strengthening civic learning in the schools.

"The Index will help us understand the civic habits and attitudes of Hoosiers," Hamilton said. "Voting, of course, but much more than that: Giving and volunteering; participating in community and religious groups; exchanging favors with neighbors; staying informed on issues and discussing them with family and friends; working through the political process to address public problems.

Lee Hamilton

Lee Hamilton

"This first Index will give us a baseline, a place to start building up," Hamilton said. "The path to improvement starts with an honest look at where we are."

The Indiana Civic Health Index is drawn from data in the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The Indiana report, available on Wednesday at, is sponsored by the Indiana Bar Foundation, Indiana University Northwest and the Hoosier State Press Association, working in conjunction with the National Conference on Citizenship. NCoC is a nonpartisan, congressionally chartered organization that tracks and promotes civic and political participation, supports history and civics education, and encourages community and national service.

Shepard said the Indiana Civic Health Index can help identify the most pressing civic problems and needs, and spur action plans for change. "Throughout our nation's history, Americans have not been content to be spectators," he said. "We have joined with neighbors in voluntary associations, religious assemblies, political parties and a host of other efforts. We have studied current events and participated in debate on matters great and small, from the town hall to the national capital.

"The Indiana Civic Health Index measures how successfully we are keeping faith with this tradition of engagement," said Shepard. "We hope the Index will prompt discussion and action on how to get people doing more in the civic arena."

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Shepard and Hamilton will be available for media inquiries on the Indiana Civic Health Index project Wednesday afternoon, at 4 p.m. at the Indiana State Museum. The program to formally release the Index starts at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the screening of a rough-cut version of the film We The People, by Inland Sea Productions. It chronicles America's history and founding documents, and will be completed in the full-screen IMAX version in 2012. At the advance screening, media video and still photography will be limited to the first five minutes of the film.

To schedule an interview with Hamilton and Shepard, contact: IU Center on Congress outreach specialist Phil Duncan at 703-209-2005 or; Indiana Supreme Court public information officer Kathryn Dolan at 317-234-4722 or; Indiana Bar Foundation director of civic education Andrew Homan at 317-269-7863 or; or Inland Sea Productions director of film marketing Dave Brown at 734-740-2492 or

About the Center on Congress at Indiana University

The Center on Congress is a non-partisan, educational institution established in 1999 to help improve the public's knowledge of Congress and to encourage civic engagement. The Center developed out of Lee Hamilton's recognition during his 34 years in the U.S. House that Americans should be more familiar with Congress's strengths and weaknesses, its role in our system of government, and its impact on the lives of ordinary people every day. The Center offers an extensive array of civic education programs, projects and resources to foster an informed electorate that understands our system of government and participates in civic life.

The Center is supported in part by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington. For more information, go to