Blueprint for Student Attainment plan implements President McRobbie’s Principles of Excellence
For the past year faculty, staff, students and administrators from Indiana University's six regional campuses -- IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU Southeast, IU South Bend and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne -- have collaborated in a regional campus strategic planning process. The result is the Blueprint for Student Attainment.
"The first step was developing the Shared Vision for Indiana University's Regional Campuses," said John Applegate, IU's executive vice president for university regional affairs, planning and policy. "This vision prescribed the framework for the comprehensive strategic planning process."
The Shared Vision statement identified six areas of focus:
- An excellent, distinctive education experience;
- Support for student success;
- Access and innovation in instruction and curriculum;
- Pathways and transitions to and from regional campuses;
- Affordability and efficiency; and
- Meeting state and regional needs.
The Blueprint for Student Attainment operationalizes the Shared Vision. The plan was adopted by a leadership committee that includes all of the chancellors of the IU regional campuses. It was subsequently approved by the president and presented to the IU Board of Trustees at its June meeting. Applegate recently presented the plan to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education at its meeting on the IU Northwest campus.
The regional campus Expenditure Review Committee, created by McRobbie in September 2010 and chaired by IU East Chancellor Nasser Paydar, worked in concert with the Blueprint team on affordability and efficiency. Its report is incorporated in the document, and its important recommendations will be implemented along with the Blueprint.
The Blueprint advances the IU Principles of Excellence in multiple ways, most notably by focusing on academic success and degree completion, innovative teaching, access and affordability for Hoosiers, intercampus collaboration, engagement and economic development and responsible stewardship of the university's resources.
(For more on Principles of Excellence: http://www.iu.edu/~pres/vision/principles-of-excellence/index.shtml.)
"When the Blueprint was initiated," President McRobbie said, "the Board of Trustees emphasized the importance of boldness and real changes in the way that regional campuses operate.
"The regional campuses have, in addition to their individual identities, important common characteristics and missions that can and must be leveraged to strengthen all," McRobbie said. "Commendably, the Blueprint, together with the report of the Expenditure Review Committee, contains numerous strategies of this kind, and I expect that they will be implemented boldly and expeditiously."
Complete College America grant
The regional campus chancellors working with Applegate are developing plans to address initiatives and action steps outlined in the Blueprint. In the past month, they learned that some of the key goals and actions set out in the Blueprint will be supported in part by a recently announced $1 million innovation grant to the state of Indiana. The grant comes from Complete College America (CCA), a national nonprofit organization that works with states on policies to boost college completion. A quarter of the grant -- $250,000 -- will go to IU's regional campuses.
Governors from all 50 states were invited to submit proposals to win one of ten $1 million, 18-month implementation grants for innovative, high-impact college completion initiatives designed to enhance student success and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. Funding was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Indiana's proposal for the Complete College America GRANT was developed by the Commission for Higher Education and dubbed "Smarter Choices, Faster Completion."
The grant will enable the creation of degree-mapping software, intensive student advising and other strategies that support student success as laid out in IU's Blueprint for Student Attainment. The Blueprint also will result in the implementation of interventions that include clear "smart choices" degree maps and advising to support on-time completion, block scheduling, summer coursework and cohort-based enrollment opportunities that allow students to move through their academic programs as a group for better support.
Assisted by committees, the chancellors will lead the way in the key action areas across all of IU's regional campuses, while also aligning their own campus strategic plans with the Blueprint.
"The unprecedented level of collaboration that yielded the Blueprint will continue as the implementation efforts move forward," said Judy Palmer, director of the Office of Legislative and Policy Analysis, who coordinated the Blueprint development process. "We've had a tremendous response from people who worked on the Blueprint last year who want to continue working on it this year. Their efforts will be augmented by other individuals and groups on the campuses."
The eight key areas for priority action are as follows:
- IU Kokomo Chancellor Michael Harris will lead the development of pervasive student advising programs that both achieve closer linkages between academic and career counseling and address the challenges that can occur at all stages of students' educations.
- The Blueprint lays out strategies for the regional campuses to collaborate in further developing online education programs that provide students flexible access to course offerings. This area is led by Barbara Bichelmeyer, Associate Vice President for University Academic Planning and director of IU's new university-wide Office of Online Education.
- IU South Bend Chancellor Mae Reck will champion efforts directed toward regional needs and nontraditional students, including accelerated degree completion programs for the adult learners who comprise 48 percent of enrollment at IU's regional campuses. This aspect of the Blueprint calls for the expansion of programs providing students with applied and active learning through service learning, internships and other outreach activities.
- IU East Chancellor Nasser Paydar will direct efforts to deepen IU's partnerships with Ivy Tech. This will include appointing transfer specialists on each regional campus who will serve as ombudsmen for potential transfer students. Several campuses have already implemented this recommendation.
- IU Northwest Chancellor William Lowe will champion the development of joint intercampus academic and faculty development programs and lead the implementation of alternative course scheduling that better accommodates working students. On average, 35 percent of students at the regional campuses work more than twenty hours a week, compared to 1 percent of IU Bloomington students.
- IU Southeast Chancellor Sandra Paterson-Randles will spearhead the creation of a robust system of data gathering and evaluation that will enable the university to further identify challenges and build on successes. That means continuing analysis of factors that contribute to low degree completion rates and development of metrics to measure student progress and completion, student engagement, net price and indebtedness and the involvement of the campus and graduates in the service region.
- President McRobbie has made the reorganization and streamlining of IU's student services a priority, including eliminating duplication, centralizing some back-office operations and preparing an inventory of all major sharable equipment located on the regional campuses. Jim Kennedy, associate vice president for university student services and systems is leading this initiative. The overall intent of this effort is to provide better service at lower cost.
- Organization and long-term planning, which includes the creation of a Center for Regional Campus Excellence, is championed by Applegate.
"The Blueprint's ultimate success will be determined by students' success in meeting their educational and career goals," Applegate said. "The most important indication of student success is degree completion. The Blueprint also leads the way in supporting many other aspects of success for the third of Indiana University's students who study at the regional campuses. This is good news."
The complete Blueprint on Student Attainment and related information can be seen at http://www.iu.edu/~uapp/blueprint/.
For more information on the Complete College America grant, see http://www.in.gov/portal/news_events/71905.htm. Audio from the announcement is available at http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Audio/072611audio.mp3.