Building Capacity as Anchor Institutions: Infrastructure, Structure, and Strategy

  • Kristin Elise Norris Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
  • H. Anne Weiss IUPUI and Indiana Campus Compact
Keywords: organizational structure, community engagement, roles and responsibilities, alignment, institutional mission


As campuses embrace their role as anchor institutions, considerations should be given to the role of infrastructure, structure, and strategy. This article differentiates between infrastructure and organizational structure then identifies implications for determining who should be involved based upon the institutional and community goals. Resources and infrastructure—a center or office that supports and coordinates community engagement—has been noted as a key component to the institutionalization of community engagement (Welch & Saltmarsh, 2013). How might the infrastructure used to support community engagement differ from the anchor institution mission? This article will illustrate potential differences and similarities while offering recommendations and considerations that would be useful as campuses develop their anchor institution plans.

Author Biographies

Kristin Elise Norris, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Director of Assessment, Office of Community Engagement
University Hall, 4008R
301 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Kristin Norris earned her Bachelors of Science from Purdue University and Masters of Science from Indiana University in Hospitality & Tourism Management and her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the IU School of Education at Indiana University. She is an editorial fellow for the Metropolitan Universities journal and vice chair of IUPUI’s Program Review and Assessment Committee.

H. Anne Weiss, IUPUI and Indiana Campus Compact

Director of Assessment, Indiana Campus Compact
Assistant Director of Assessment, IUPUI Office of Community Engagement
1226 West Michigan Street, BR 026
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
317-274-5512 / 317-274-6500 

Anne has over five years of experience, both inside and outside the classroom, in designing civic engagement initiatives. Anne’s experiences have included responsibility for planning local and national conferences, copy editing for The Journal of Civic Literacy, data collection and analysis, bibliographic research, staff recruitment and on-boarding, marketing and communications. Anne has published a handful of articles regarding how students display their civic learning.


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