Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Distinctive Programs

Indiana State University is investing $1.75 million between 2007 and 2010 in selected academic programs as part of its Distinctive Programs Initiative. The President’s Fund for Academic Excellence is using a $1 million grant received earlier as part of the Lilly Endowment’s “Initiative to Recruit and Retain Intellectual Capital for Indiana Higher Education Institutions,” along with $750,000 in one-time university funds. These funds are being used to strengthen programs with national or regional reputations for quality, and build programs that have the potential to achieve that status.

Two of Indiana State’s programs - financial services and teacher education - have been recognized as Programs of National Distinction for achieving a national reputation for the quality of their work and reflecting the values of Indiana State while meeting state and national needs. The two programs will receive $350,000 each.

The recognition of distinctive programs is directed internally and externally, and serves a twofold purpose. Internally, it fosters appreciation for the quality of the university's academic programs and accomplishments of faculty, students and alumni; and encourages and supports programs in their achievement of excellence. Externally, it broadcasts the pride the university feels to external stakeholders, promotes public awareness of specific outstanding accomplishments and invites investment in the institution.

All programs should benefit by the increased visibility and recognition that distinctive programs bring to Indiana State University. This is a capacity-building initiative that is intended to promote collaboration, mentoring, and external funding. 

National Distinction

Both of the programs selected for the top level of support already have earned national reputations as leaders in their disciplines. The financial services program encompasses several areas including:

arrowThe university’s nationally recognized insurance and risk management program.
arrowThe Networks Financial Institute, funded by a Lilly Endowment gift of $20 million, which provides education, outreach and research for the financial services industry.
arrowThe Gongaware Center, created by a $5 million gift from Don and Pat Gongaware, to support executive development, student development and industry research in insurance and risk management.
arrowThe Minas Center for Investment and Financial Education supported by an endowment from Randy and Nancy Minas to enhance the quality of investment and financial education programs.

Indiana State’s teacher education program also has received national recognition on many levels, including:

arrowInitial recipient of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Christa McAuliffe Award for its Professional Development Schools Partnership.
arrowSelection to an elite group of 30 programs in the nation to be invited to join the "Learning Network" of the Carnegie Corporations' Teachers for a New Era (TNE) Initiative.
arrowRecognition by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future by selecting ISU’s teacher education program to be part of the Leadership Consortium on High Quality Teacher Preparation.
arrowMillions of dollars in grant and research funding received from national sources over the past few years, the most recent of which was a $3.9 million Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Regional/State Distinction and Programs of Promise

The Distinctive Programs initiative also provides recognition and funding to eight Regional and State Distinctive Programs and seven Programs of Promise. The programs selected for this recognition cluster around four major areas which are linked to Indiana State’s history and to its future. The four areas are: enhancing student success, education and human development, health and human services, and leadership in business and technology.

The Regional/State Distinctive Programs include:

arrowAerospace Technology
arrowBlumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education
arrowDoctor of Psychology
arrowCenter for Health, Religion and Spirituality
arrowFirst-year Programs
arrowMusic Business
arrowPh.D. in Technology Management

The Programs of Promise are:

arrowAthletic Training Clinical Program
arrowResearch Center for Local History and Culture
arrowHealth sciences
arrowInternational Affairs
arrowMotorsports Studies
arrowStudent Affairs and Higher Education
arrowUniversity Honors Program

A total of $1,090,000 will be invested in these programs, with most Regional/State Distinctive Programs receiving approximately $50,000 each, while the investments in Programs of Promise range from $50,000 to $200,000.


Distinctive Programs were recommended by a committee composed of faculty, administrators, and the chair of the ISU Foundation. Information on the process is available in the documents posted below.