Research and practice show that the single most important element in strengthening local economies is the ability to attract and retain talented individuals. This requires not only good jobs and schools, but also attention to the quality of life in individual communities. "Primacy of Place" describes a community’s strategic decision to dedicate resources to improving life experiences for residents, businesses and visitors. Anyone can become an important stakeholder in the process community placemaking through the improvement and support of our education, wellness, culture, sustainability, safety, and human services.

Ball State is proud to support and celebrate Indiana communities that are placing people first. Our paper, “The Future of State and Local Economic Development Policy," briefly describes the importance of place. 

Placemaking Across Campus

Ball State takes great pride in our long history of working collaboratively with communities, businesses, and nonprofits throughout the state of Indiana. For more than 25 years, experts within the university have partnered with communities across the state to provide management and professional development programs, training needs assessments, feasibility studies, and survey design and administration.

And our faculty and students embrace the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to develop real-world solutions for business, community and nonprofit organizations. Each year, more than 4,000 students complete immersive learning experiences with partners throughout Indiana and beyond.

More specifically, Ball State has significant strengths in key areas related to placemaking:

  • Planetizen has ranked the master of urban and regional planning (MURP) program among the Top 10 in the Midwest.
  • The graduate program in historic preservation is one of the first of its kind in the Midwest and is uniquely housed in the Department of Architecture.
  • Ball State has Indiana's largest theatre and dance program.
  • The Bowen Center for Public Affairs in Department of Political Science holds civic education seminars, conducts training for public officials to ensure effective and efficient government administration, and helps establish best practices in public administration through original research and surveys of Hoosier citizens.
  • US News & World Report has consistently ranked our entrepreneurial management program among the Top 15.
  • Ball State is one of the few universities in the nation offering programs in gerontology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Teachers College received a second-place Exemplary Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation award for the immersive learning program "Schools Within the Context of Community."

We at Ball State—faculty, staff, and students alike—strongly believe that universities should play a critical role in economic and community development. We are committed to provide exemplary service for Indiana’s citizens, while preparing our students to become our state’s future leaders.