Background and Charge
In IUPUI’s most recent strategic plan, "Our Commitment to Indiana and Beyond: IUPUI Strategic Plan,” three broad priorities deemed critical to the success of IUPUI, the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana were identified – The Success of our Students, Advanced in Health & Life Sciences and Contributions to the Well-Being of the Citizens of Indianapolis, the State of Indiana and Beyond. These measures are applicable to the entire student body and all the stakeholders of IUPUI. However, given IUPUI’s historic mission and location in one of Indianapolis’ most storied African American communities, IUPUI is uniquely concerned about the success of African American students and creating a sustainable and transformative relationship with the African American communities in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana.
In recent years IUPUI has experienced a decline in enrollments among students who self-reported as Black/African Americans, even though the number of applicants and admissions for this group was fairly stable during this time period. Following the start of the Fall 2015 semester, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Kathy Johnson appointed a Task Force to review matters related to this issue. In her invitation to serve on the Task Force, Dr. Johnson provided a brief summary of the campus’s concern as well as a charge to the group:
IUPUI’s commitment to diversity focuses not only on overall numbers, but also on the success of individual students. An examination of access must be coupled with the consideration of retention efforts to provide an assessment that assures that meeting institutional commitment to diversity as measured by numbers is appropriately balanced with the institutional commitment to individual student success. While IUPUI’s diversity as measured by the percent of the student population that is composed of students of color has been growing slightly, there is concern that the number of Black/African American beginners enrolling at IUPUI has declined even though there has been little change over time in the numbers of Black/African American students applying and admitted.
(The Task Force will) review the current recruitment and retention initiatives focused on Black/African American students in order to identify opportunities to enhance the enrollment and retention of these students. The review will be data-driven with a focus on the link between admissions characteristics and retention to graduation. Recommendations will be coupled with cost estimates to provide the opportunity for a return on investment analysis.
In a series of meetings, the Task Force reviewed and discussed—
- Current IUPUI recruiting and retention activities.
- Admission, enrollment, retention, graduation, and aid-related data and trends.
- Best practices in recruiting and retention among competing Indiana institutions and nationally.