The Mercyhurst Civic Institute, a division of the Social Sciences department of Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, is a college-community partnership dedicated to the social, educational, and civic well-being of the Erie region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Institute seeks to evaluate, understand, and improve public policies and processes, which affect the region’s citizens. It serves as a central repository for published information regarding the social and civic challenges, as well as opportunities facing Erie and the Commonwealth. In addition, the Institute seeks to provide Mercyhurst University¬†faculty and students with the applied social policy, research and evaluation experience related to child, family, education, health, and justice issues.


The purpose of the Civic Institute is to:

  • Enhance and facilitate citizen participation in decision-making.
  • Provide high-quality, objective information to assist local decision-making.
  • Convene community forums that encourage reasoned reflection and free and open discussion of regional issues.
  • Educate the Erie community and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania about various issues through Institute reports and publications.
  • Foster human networks that enhance communication, link resources, strengthen community participation and build social capital.
  • Promote research, learning, teaching and service opportunities for the Mercyhurst community.