March 1, 2011
Indiana State University has been re-accredited for a full 10-year period by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The action follows an 18-month self-study by the university's faculty, staff, administrators and students as well as a campus visit last fall by a nine-member evaluation team of faculty and administrators from other universities around the country.
In its 37-page report, the evaluation team praised Indiana State's efforts in such areas as public service, student success, and diversifying revenue in the face of declining state funding, largely via the ISU Foundation's first major capital campaign that is seeking to raise $85 million.
The report noted that community engagement is a central theme of the university's mission statement and that numerous community service programs have been established since the commission's last evaluation in 2000.
Evaluators called ISU's five-year strategic plan "ambitious," particularly in the area of student success, and recognized steps the university is taking to create a more diverse faculty that more closely reflects the diversity of its student body.
"The past decade has been a period of great challenges for Indiana State, but also of opportunity. Our faculty and staff have met the challenge of refocusing the university's mission amid an ever-changing higher education landscape. Their efforts at creating new opportunities in community engagement will help ensure that our graduates will play an active role in shaping the future of their communities," said ISU President Dan Bradley.
"We are pleased the Higher Learning Commission has recognized these efforts and appreciate the hard work of many throughout the campus in the self-study and in participating in the evaluation team's visit. I want to especially commend Nancy Rogers (associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning) and Susan Powers (associate dean of the Bayh College of Education) for their tireless work as co-chairs of the self-study team," Bradley said.
Jack Maynard, ISU's provost and vice president for academic affairs, noted that the incorporation of community engagement into academic programs is a major component of Indiana State's new strategic plan.
"The commission noted that the university provided ample evidence of its interest in, and commitment to, both community engagement and experiential learning and to our interest in being a national leader in these areas," Maynard said. "Indeed, the commission commended the university for the exemplary way in which it has forged a unique, distinctive identity."
The evaluation team's campus visit confirmed that a review of ISU programs that resulted in consolidation or elimination of some low-enrollment programs with greater emphasis on more distinctive programs has "resulted in real efficiencies and in fewer but stronger programs."
ISU "promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff and students, by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility," the evaluation team said. "The university uses a wide range of programming efforts to ensure that its students are prepared to succeed in a highly challenging, rapidly changing, and technologically, culturally, linguistically and ethnically/racially diverse society."
Rogers noted the commission's report singled out three areas of significant accomplishments: a committed faculty and staff, school spirit and pride, and valued leadership.
"We're proud to receive independent verification of what the campus community already knows - that we have faculty who are caring, dedicated and student-centered; that faculty, staff and students take great pride in the university and demonstrate school spirit; and the current administration has given the campus a new sense of optimism for the future and is highly valued by the campus," she said.
Steve Lamb, chair of the Faculty Senate, said there had been an optimistic environment on campus which had been fostered by President Bradley's inclusive attitude towards governance bodies.
"This climate has served as a catalyst to a progressive attitude among faculty," Lamb said. He also recognized the role of some of the faculty senators in accomplishing the self study review, especially the efforts of Robert Guell, professor of economics.
Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has awarded ISU re-accreditation for a full 10-year period. The university drew praise for its commitment to such areas as community engagement and student success.