About Us

The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) brings together many of Ball State’s top research and outreach activities to assist Indiana communities as they strive to improve life experiences for residents, businesses, and visitors. ICI harnesses Ball State talent and resources to help Indiana towns, cities, and counties address 21st Century economic development challenges. Our research-policy-practice framework serves as a model for university economic development efforts across the nation. We believe that the single most important element in strengthening local economies is attracting and retaining talented individuals. “Primacy of Place” describes a community’s strategic decision to dedicate resources to improving quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors. It is the foundational principle for all of our work across the state.

Our partnerships lead to informed, effective projects, strategies, and training programs that bring development efforts into the 21st century.

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Mission and Vision


The Indiana Communities Institute strives to lead an economic transition among Indiana communities from an economy based primarily on physical capital toward an economy based more heavily on human capital.


We work with the Center for Business and Economic Research to create and disseminate knowledge to public policy makers, thought leaders, and influencers. This knowledge addresses material changes in the factors that influence the economic performance of communities and how they impact the state’s economic prospects.


We influence community economic development policy makers at local, regional, and state levels by emphasizing the development, retention, and attraction of human capital and by emphasizing the role of placemaking in pursuit of higher levels of economic performance. Our partnership with the national Rural Policy Research Institute led to the creation of the RUPRI Center for Local and State Policy at Ball State.


We engage with economic development stakeholders at community, regional, state, and national levels to aid in formulating and executing strategic, tactical approaches designed to improve economic prospects based on sound policy development and research findings.

Our vision is two-pronged:

  • To establish Ball State University as the undisputed leader in community economic development among institutions of higher learning in Indiana.
  • To establish Ball State University as a model for university economic development engagement at the national level.


The Indiana Communities Institute offers a variety of services and opportunities to communities across the State of Indiana to support communities in their economic development.

We can help you:

  • develop and facilitate workshops
  • customize presentations to focus on current needs/issues
  • assist communities in establishing priorities and developing methods to achieve their greatest opportunities
  • examine community assets and liabilities
  • provide analysis of tourism assets and potential
  • bring diverse community groups/members together in order to assess needs and set priorities


The Indiana Communities Institute collaborates with a number of experts and talented professionals across the Ball State campus. They provide research, technical resources, guidance, and professional knowledge to our many projects.

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Indiana Communities Institute

Whitinger Business Building, room 149
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306



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