Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State No. 3 in the nation in service learning

September 11, 2012

Indiana State University not only remains among the top universities in the nation when it comes to community engagement, it's climbing higher in the rankings.

This year's Washington Monthly College Guide ranks Indiana State third among 281 national universities when it comes to community service participation by students and the level of university support for service learning. The ranking is an improvement from last year, when Indiana State ranked fourth in university support for service learning and 32nd in community service by students.

Indiana State is in the top 20 percent nationally in the overall rankings by the U.S. politics and government bi-monthly nonprofit magazine, which also takes into account research and social mobility - recruiting and graduating low income students.

Washington Monthly offers "a different kind of college ranking," its editors write in the publication's September/October issue. "This one asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it?"

The 2012 Washington Monthly College Guide confirms Indiana State is achieving one of the main goals in its strategic plan: to increase its already strong commitment to community engagement, said university President Dan Bradley.

"These rankings clearly reflect the commitment our university has made to providing access to quality education that includes doctoral-level programs and research and an emphasis on community service," Bradley said.

In 2011, students, faculty and staff at Indiana State provided an estimated 1 million hours of community service, with a total value of $8 million, according to an analysis released last week of the university's economic and cultural impact.

This past year, Indiana State students have been involved in such service learning projects as:

• Three trips to the Henryville area of southern Indiana to assist in clean-up and rebuilding following a devastating tornado

• A university-wide effort with faculty and staff to paint and clean-up Garfield Park in Indianapolis

• Alternative Spring Break trips to help individuals ranging from the homeless and poor to nursing home residents, immigrant children, veterans and native Americans in various locations throughout the southeastern U.S.

• A university-wide partnership with Terre Haute's Ryves Neighborhood to provide a variety of services and projects benefiting residents of a low-income area near the Indiana State campus

• A partnership between operations management students in the Scott College of Business and Light House Mission Ministries to examine ways for the homeless shelter to improve efficiency and increase donations

• A partnership between the department of kinesiology, recreation and sport and the Wounded Warrior Project to provide a day of activities for injured servicemen and women at the university's Field Campus.

"Indiana State's commitment to service learning continues to expand each year," said Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning. "Our students are exposed early to community engagement. Last month, on the day before the start of classes for the fall semester, more than 1,200 students served community agencies throughout Terre Haute on Donaghy Day, a day devoted to community engagement and campus and civic improvement."

Indiana State's community service ranking is the highest among six Indiana universities on the Washington Monthly list and its overall ranking of 54th, up from 78th in 2011, is the highest among public universities in the state. Only Notre Dame ranks higher overall, at 16th.

Indiana State was among the first universities in the nation to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in a special category of colleges and universities that are committed to both an academic approach to community collaboration and extensive outreach and partnerships. ISU has also made the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since it was launched in 2006.

Photo: - Volunteers from Indiana State University and Special Olympics Indiana work to spruce up Garfield Park during the university's Indy Day of Service March 31, 2012 (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Three Indiana State University students tour the Light House Mission store in Terre Haute on April 16, 2012. The students were part of a group analyzing the mission's operations and recommending changes to improve processes. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Photo: - Greg Bierly (left), director of the University Honors Program, and three students help move furniture during clean-up efforts following a devastating tornado that struck Henryville, Ind. on March 2, 2012. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Contact: Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning, Indiana State University, 812-237-2474 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or