Dr. Chul Hyun Park and Dr. Robert C. Richards, Jr., are leading research efforts for the first Arkansas Civic Health Index, a report that will show the current status of civic engagement in Arkansas and provide tangible recommendations on how to improve citizen engagement in the state.
The Arkansas Civic Health Index report will be completed in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, a federally chartered nonprofit organization that works with U.S. states and municipalities to publish these reports using special data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Additional partner organizations include Engage Arkansas, Arkansas Community Foundation, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Central Arkansas Library System, Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement, and Investing in Black Futures.
Currently, no report has been published that describes the conditions of civic engagement in Arkansas, though such reports have been written in recent years for neighboring states, notably Texas and Oklahoma.
The report for Arkansas will have several uses:
- Improving our understanding of political and civic engagement in Arkansas
- Enabling us to identify areas of political or civic involvement in Arkansas that need attention and resources
- Helping us determine issues and topics for future public dialogue
- Allowing us to organize public events—including a conference—about current levels of civic engagement in our state
Following the release of the report, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, in cooperation with the Clinton School of Public Service, the Central Arkansas Library System, and Engage Arkansas, will organize a conference in which participants will develop plans for courses of action to implement the report’s recommendations and the evaluation of those courses of action.
In addition to securing data from the National Conference on Citizenship, the report would include additional quantitative data, notably campus voting statistics from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, as well a survey of mayors from all of Arkansas’s municipalities, and qualitative data from interviews with Arkansas residents, civic leaders, nonprofit leaders, and public engagement professionals.