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IU regional campuses selected for national initiative to close equity gaps, boost student success

Nov 14, 2023

As a continuation of Indiana University’s commitment to student success and diversity, equity and inclusion, IU’s regional campuses will participate in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Student Success Equity Intensive. The program, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a comprehensive multi-year initiative designed to help institutions close the equity gaps of their Black, Latine, Indigenous and low-income students.

Two students walk on the IU Northwest campus IU's participation in the equity intensive will build on recent progress made by regional campuses in the diversity, equity and inclusion spaces. Photo by Chris Meyer, Indiana University

IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast will join the intensive’s third cohort as a regional consortium, with IU Southeast Chancellor Debbie Ford acting as a representative for all regional campus chancellors.

“The regional campuses of Indiana University are laser-focused on being student-ready learning environments,” Ford said. “Participating in the third cohort of AASCU’s Student Success Equity Initiative will accelerate our work and strengthen our shared commitment toward student success. This partnership aligns with IU 2030 and serves as a catalyst to educate even more students for Indiana.”

Over the course of three years, these campuses will work with the AASCU to gather information and feedback; reflect on strengths, challenges and opportunities; identify and prioritize root challenges to student success; develop and implement strategies to achieve student success priorities; and monitor and evaluate the outcomes of these strategies.

The campuses are in the early stages of the reflection phase, collecting data and preparing for the program’s Institutional Transformation Assessment. This survey is designed to help institutions reflect on existing student success efforts and the organizational structures, policies and practices that support them. Campuses will focus on this reflection phase for the remainder of the academic year.

In the summer and fall of 2024, the project will transition into the identification and prioritization of key challenges to student success. By 2025, the campuses will be implementing strategies to address these challenges.

“Being selected to participate in the Student Success Equity Intensive is a unique opportunity for the regional campuses,” said Michelle Malott, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at IU East and team lead for the project. “Our work will focus on transformative change to ensure that each campus is providing a just and equitable path to educational success. Indiana University’s regional campuses play a critical role in promoting social mobility in the regions we serve.”

Throughout the process, each participating campus will have access to resources, such as online modules and webinars, and receive support from subject matter experts in data analytics, equity, student success, advising, institutional transformation, and strategic and systems planning. The initiative also involves peer-to-peer learning across institutions via in-person and virtual Student Success Academies.

This project will build on recent progress made by Indiana University’s regional campuses, like IU Northwest’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institute. It will also prepare IU’s regional campuses to better serve the coming influx of 21st Century Scholars, which are expected to double by 2027 due to a recent change to the program that automatically enrolls qualifying students.

“Our regional campuses have made great strides in diversifying their student bodies in recent years,” said Susan Sciame-Giesecke, vice president for regional campuses and online education. “The number of students of color enrolled across IU campuses was up nearly 5% this fall, and four of our regional campuses broke records for the share of students of color they enrolled. Taking part in this initiative will ensure that our campuses are providing the best experience possible for these students.”

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Marah Yankey

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