ISU Starts Classroom StudyPosted: Updated:
Indiana State University has asked a design firm to study its classroom facilities. President Dan Bradley says with enrollment at a 40-year high, simply upgrading classrooms on campus "isn't really enough." September 25, 2014
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- With enrollment at a more than 40-year high and amid national recognition in a number of areas, Indiana State University is launching a comprehensive study of its classroom facilities as part of its ongoing effort to ensure continued success.
During his fall address to the university Wednesday, President Dan Bradley said the global design firm Gensler will work with a team of faculty and administrators in examining classroom learning environments. The goal is development of a long-range plan focusing on teaching configurations and orientation, environmental quality, activity zones with surrounding classrooms and technology.
"We've been putting significant dollars into upgrading classrooms on campus," he said. "It's become clear that just upgrading classrooms isn't really enough. What we need to be doing is thinking collectively about what we need those classrooms to be doing for us and for the students. Most of the classrooms we will have on this campus 25 years from now are already here. We want to make sure that what we do is the best use of those dollars."
The theme of this year's address was "Getting Happy, Celebrating Progress and Collaborating for a Stronger Future," and Bradley said there is much to celebrate.
Indiana State's fall enrollment figure of 13,183 represents a more than 26 percent increase since 2008 and is the highest since 1971, Bradley noted. Graduate school enrollment is at an all-time high and one in four students is a U.S. minority. Eighty-six percent of new freshmen are Indiana residents and the university continues to serve high numbers of first-generation students and those from low to moderate income families. More than one fourth of this year's freshmen are 21st Century Scholars and 54 percent are receiving federal Pell grants.
The university is also making progress in keeping students enrolled, with a 6.4 percent increase in the past four years in retention of first-year students and a 12.5 percent increase in retention of first-year African-American students during the same period. Retention of 21st Century Scholars has increased by 7.5 percent in just the past two years.
Bradley also touted the university's second straight No. 1 ranking for student community service by Washington Monthly magazine, which ranked Indiana State No. 30 overall among national universities - right between Michigan State and Duke, he observed. State is also on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the eighth straight year, this time with distinction.
Also, Forbes magazine has recognized Indiana State on its list of America's Top Colleges for the fourth year in a row; the university is once again on Princeton Review's lists of Best Midwestern Colleges, Best Business Schools and Green Colleges; and was selected as a Tree Campus USA for the sixth straight year.
Indiana State has achieved Indiana Commission for Higher Education benchmarks for performance-based funding in 10 out of 12 categories. Progress is still needed, however, in on-time degree completion and number of doctoral degrees awarded.
Sorority participation is up this fall, Bradley said, following the opening of Reeve Hall, which serves Greek women with the first new campus residence hall in more than 40 years.
Mills Hall, one of four units in the Sycamore Towers complex built in the mid-1960s, is undergoing renovation and work continues on a privately constructed student housing and retail complex on Terre Haute's Wabash Avenue.
As part of an effort to make this year's fall address more interactive, Bradley invited his audience to send text messages about what they would like to see more of in downtown Terre Haute. More "sit down" restaurants was the No. 1 choice, followed by boutiques, clothing and specialty stores and grocery stores and pharmacies.
Bradley used his address to announce three new strategic planning initiatives:
* A major multi-year upgrade of the university's communications system to include new voice technologies, such as a text-to-voice emails, an option to have calls to office phones sent to cell phones and advanced technologies for high-volume call situations
* A persistence to graduation Initiative aimed at helping third and fourth-year students complete their degrees
* An integrated team from academic affairs and enrollment management, marketing and communications to dramatically increase enrollment in degree completion and distance-delivered programs
Bradley also announced a new university-wide award for collaboration, with the first award to be presented next year to recognize efforts that help address a university-wide need or issue. While touting existing examples of offices, colleges and departments working together, he said the university must continue to make progress toward its goals, including producing more graduates.
"I absolutely understand that we aren't going to be able to do it by having people work harder. People are going to have to work differently if we're going to be successful," he said. "The key to that is working collaboratively."
Recalling an earlier fall address in which he said Indiana State was in third gear and getting ready to shift into overdrive, Bradley closed by saying," We have good revolutions but we are not on an Indy track. We are on a Grand Prix track. To win the race, we are going to have to learn to turn right and brake on occasion."
Source: Indiana State University