Center for Urban and Regional Excellence

Center for Urban and Regional Excellence

Picture of Center for Urban and Regional Excellence

Center for Urban and Regional Excellence

Chicago, United States 

School of Business and Economics
Indiana University Northwest


The Center for Urban and Regional Excellence engages Indiana University Northwest and the community in partnerships that jointly formulate programs and policies to support thriving Northwest Indiana communities. The center works collaboratively with organizations in all sectors to address challenges and co-create solutions in diverse areas including economic development, government efficiency, nonprofit leadership development, public safety, transportation policy, environmental sustainability, health disparities, and arts and culture.

Main Activities

The center engages in outreach and partnership building activities.  Both types of activities are focused on improving the quality of life in the Northwest Indiana region.   Outreach activities provide life-enriching educational opportunities to community members on a variety of social, economic and environmental issues, e.g, healthy eating, financial security, and the arts.  Our partnerships are characterized by mutually-beneficial, reciprocal interactions that engage community and university in co-designing and co-implementing initiatives addressing sustainable community development. Our most recent work is in the area of civic health, assessing civic outcomes and facilitating the development of a civic capacity strategy that focuses on citizen participation in decision making.

Organizational Structure

The center is staffed by a Director (PhD, JD), and Asst. Director of Engaged Research (MPA).  Our funding sources include university allocations, grants and contracts. In the past five years, grants and contracts totaled over $350,000 in support of community-based research initiatives.


Ellen Szarleta, Ph.D, J.D.