March 10, 2023

Strengthening civics education in Indiana and beyond

This week (March 6-10) marked the nation’s first-ever Civic Learning Week, which brought together students, educators, researchers, policymakers and other community members across the U.S. to reflect on ways to strengthen civics education. 

As distinguished former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton opined this week, being a good citizen remains central to the functioning of the nation’s representative democracy. “American democracy was built on the assumption of an engaged and well-informed electorate,” he wrote in his latest “Comments on Congress” column. “It’s gotten a lot more complicated over the centuries, but if one core truth has remained constant, it’s this: If responsible citizens do not participate in the system, then the system will not work. It’s as simple as that.” 

To achieve this mission, the center, which is part of IU’s Office of the Vice President for University Relations, has developed an extensive array of free civics education resources, training sessions and activities that are used in classroom and other teaching and learning settings here in Indiana and all across the country. 

Recently, the center has partnered with Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus to bring to Columbus, Ind., the nationally recognized program iEngage, a free, weeklong camp for students in grades 4-8 that is designed to provide area youth with an opportunity to learn how to make a difference in their schools, neighborhoods and communities.  

“Arguably, civics education has never been as important as it is today,” said Valerie Pena, associate vice president for the Office of the Vice President for University Relations and executive director of the Center of Representative Government. “And central to IU’s engagement in the life of our state is a responsibility to help educate our young people about the basics of our system of representative democracy and to empower them with the knowledge, skills and frame of mind to make real positive change in their communities.” 

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President Whitten presents IU's budget request in the Senate

IU President Pamela Whitten presented her first IU biennial budget request presentation to the Senate Appropriations Committee this past Tuesday, March 7. President Whitten started by highlighting IU’s three pillars: Student Success and Opportunity, Transformative Research and Creativity, and Service to Our State and Beyond. She reaffirmed IU’s support of the work of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to transform the outcomes-based funding formula in this budget and talked about IU’s capital project requests. Finally, she gave an update on IU Indianapolis and her vision to build a world class urban research university in our capitol city through the realignment of IUPUI by July 2024. 

Read the IU biennial budget request


Statehouse Update

The Indiana General Assembly reconvened for the second half of session this week. After a short break, the bills that made it through their originating chamber have switched sides and will now go through the same process in the opposite body. This Statehouse Update provides a summary of bills the team is tracking and that moved during the ninth week of session.

Read the Statehouse Update


Economic Engagement Update

A game plan to grow Indiana’s sports-tech sector 

There’s a growing team in the effort to accelerate the development of Indiana’s rapidly emerging sports-tech sector. 

On the eve of this year’s Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, the leaders of Indiana University Athletics and IU Ventures revealed a game plan, building on past efforts, to jointly help build a sports-tech sector that rivals other major tech areas in the Hoosier state. The Indiana University Sports Innovation Initiative will uncover new opportunities to improve the student athlete experience, increase on-field competitiveness and grow a pipeline of venture backable sports tech startups. 

“Indiana’s business, technology and sports leaders continue to predict an explosion in the sports-tech sector and have been steadfastly and eagerly building toward this moment for a number of years,” said IU Ventures President and CEO Tony Armstrong. “As such, it’s the perfect time for IU Athletics and IU Ventures to prioritize a game plan centered around advancing the creation of highly promising, IU-affiliated sports technology ideas and putting those ideas into action. 

“We’re confident that we’ve constructed a winning and accomplished team to help Indiana compete and thrive in the sports-tech sector now and well into the future.” 

Read the full story 


Building a reliable and sustainable home- and community-based services workforce

“Time waits for no man. The issues of the aging are the issues of us all.” 

On Thursday morning, March 9, Dr. Hannah Maxey, associate professor of family medicine and director of the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy at the IU School of Medicine, opened with those words during her expert testimony before a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing. 

Maxey, a nationally recognized expert in health workforce policy with more than two decades of experience in health care and public health, appeared on Capitol Hill to share with committee members how several proactive U.S. states, including Indiana, are strategically working to build a reliable and sustainable  home- and community-based services (HCBS) workforce and ensure their aging citizens and those with disabilities are able to receive quality care in their homes or other community settings. 

Read the full story and watch the hearing 


Hoosier hoops great Alan Henderson set to bring his new venture game back to Bloomington 

Alan Henderson will bring both his Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame stature and entrepreneurial prowess back to Bloomington this spring when he joins the best and brightest Indiana University innovators and investors from the Hoosier state and beyond at the annual IU Founders & Funders Network Venture Summit.  

Henderson is now scoring as a successful entrepreneur and inventor. In 2020, he founded Henderson Spirits Group, which honors little-known African Americans who have made significant contributions to the world of fine spirits. 

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IU in the news

IU opens research institute addressing stigma around mental health 

The Irsay Institute, made possible by a $3 million donation from the Jim Irsay family, has formally launched its mission to become a leading national center for addressing the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

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Dennis M. Rome returns to IU as chancellor of IU East  

A former Indiana University Bloomington professor of African-American studies and criminal justice with broad, collaborative experience in academic and student affairs will serve as chancellor of IU East pending approval of the IU Board of Trustees. 

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IU School of Medicine researchers develop blood test for anxiety 

A new test examines biomarkers that can help objectively determine someone’s risk for developing anxiety, the severity of their current anxiety and which therapies would likely treat their anxiety the best. 

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