I'm very pleased to begin my role as interim director during an exciting phase for the IU Public Policy Institute. After two years of discussions and examining the issues affecting Indiana communities, the Institute has unveiled its recommendations in the Thriving Communities, Thriving State report.

In Recommendations for a Thriving Indiana, all three commissions consisting of more than 50 state and local leaders prioritized important topics on which Indiana's leaders to focus, now and in the next 10 years: Education/workforce preparation; leadership and engagement; and quality of life and quality of place.

Those recommendations, tailored to small town/rural, midsized and urban communities, will serve as a blueprint for community leaders and decision makers to develop and measure the impact of local and regional improvement initiatives.

Since my career has focused on helping government, nonprofit and private organizations succeed, it's particularly rewarding to be a part of solutions aimed at improving Indiana and the lives of Hoosiers. I look forward to continuing the Institute's mission in the following months.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Kathy Koehler, Interim Director

Our Work & Announcements
Recommendations for a Thriving Indiana
When it comes to Indiana, one size does not fit all. Our state is blessed with open spaces and small, rural communities reminiscent of simpler times.

At the other end of the spectrum is Indianapolis, the 14th largest city in America, and urban communities from Gary to New Albany, Evansville to Fort Wayne. In between are cities, suburbs, towns, and rural communities of various shapes and sizes. All have differing assets, opportunities, and needs.

Read Recommendations for a Thriving Indiana for a summary of findings on rural/small town, midsized, and urban communities:

Brown County_ Indiana
Thriving Rural/Small Town Communities
The Rural and Small Town commission brought together 16 individuals to examine solutions to common challenges facing 58 Indiana rural counties.

In addition to emphasizing a need to better prepare students to pursue post-secondary education, the Rural/Small Town commission identified the following proposals:   
  • Build individual, organizational, and civic leaders to develop community approaches and a civic vision to problem solving, and generate funding.
  • Create well-maintained physical assets and wired technology which are vital to the success of rural and small towns.
Thriving Midsized Communities
The Midsized Communities commission's 16 members examined challenges facing 41 communities in 25 Indiana counties.   

This report summarizes the commission's work, including recommendations in four focus areas:
  • Quality of life and quality of place;
  • Improving pathways and eliminating barriers to post-secondary education;
  • Cultivating community leadership and civic engagement;
  • Local government reform and innovation.
Thriving Urban Communities
Nineteen commissioners came together to study the issues affecting 13 urban counties throughout Indiana.

In subsequent meetings over 15 months, commissioners developed strategies and recommendations for how urban Indiana communities could maximize their contributions to a thriving state. Here are some of the highlights from those recommendations:
  • Talent development begins with better preschool.
  • New urban leadership must build networks of leaders who are plugged into an intentional system that addresses civic, elected, and nonprofit sectors.
  • Cities must have increased flexibility so they can focus on infrastructure and place making.
IPS Police Department review

Institute researchers conduct IPS Police Department review

Senior Policy Analysts Dona Sapp and Rachel Thelin worked with Indianapolis Public Schools to conduct an overview of Police Department Operations and Activities. Some of the key recommendations include:

  • Develop a stronger records management/data collection system to better evaluate the success of planned programs.

  • Build stronger, sustainable partnerships both internally and externally to share resources and develop a multi-faceted approach to ensuring school safety.

    Indiana state capitol

    New report evaluates effectiveness of Marion County Mental Health Alternative Court

    The Institute collaborated with United Way of Central Indiana and the Executive Committee of the Marion County Supreme Court to examine program activities of Mental Health Alternative Courts during the first year after its implementation.

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    The IU Public Policy Institute delivers unbiased research and data-driven, objective, expert analysis to help public, private and nonprofit sectors make important decisions that directly impact quality of life in Indiana and throughout the nation.





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    The IU Public Policy Institute is a multidisciplinary research  
    institute within the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.