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UCO Civic Health Index Research Team Recognized for Excellence

Oct. 8, 2013

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, University Relations, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-2121,


The University of Central Oklahoma’s Oklahoma Civic Health Index (OCHI) research team has been awarded the 2013 Oklahoma Campus Compact award for Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Scholarship.

The OCHI research team partnered with the National Conference on Citizenship and Oklahoma Campus Compact, an organization of Oklahoma college and university presidents who have committed to articulating the importance of civic responsibility as an outcome of higher education, to measure the civic habits of Oklahomans. The research focused on civic skills, voter education, politics and citizen engagement at the state level.

The award reflects the tradition of transformative learning at the University of Central Oklahoma: community-based, civic engagement research, with faculty, students and community partners working together to produce a report to share with the state and nation.

“Having the opportunity to write the Oklahoma Civic Health Index was an honor for the team and a chance to contribute to the collective knowledge of both the strengths and weaknesses of the civic health of our state,” said Janelle Grellner, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the American Democracy Project at UCO.

Grellner and Patti Loughlin, Ph.D., professor of history and former director of the American Democracy Project at Central, led the OCHI research team.

“It is our wish for the information to be used by educators, business leaders and politicians to inform the decisions made about Oklahoma's future. One of the most troubling findings in the report is the number of uncontested seats in our state for congress. We hope to continue the research in 2014 and include a broad range of contributors from across the state in future reports,” Grellner continued.

Faculty and staff team members included Ed Cunliff, Ph.D., professor of adult education and safety sciences; Jan Hardt, Ph.D., professor of political science; John Maisch, J.D., assistant professor of legal studies; Brad Watkins, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and geography; Emily Griffin Overocker, director of Transfer Student Support; and Debbie Terlip, M.Ed., associate director of Oklahoma Campus Compact and student relations liaison for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Student Civic Scholars were Lauren Craig, a graduate student in psychology from Oklahoma City; Danielle Hernandez, a senior organizational communications and Spanish double major from Blanchard; Natasha John, a graduate student in political science from Stillwater; Sofia Price, a psychology major from Moore; Jerry Shelton, a graduate student in business administration from Edmond; and Alyce Vigil, a graduate student in history from Pawnee.

The complete report can be downloaded at