Monday, December 29 2008
The University of Southern Indiana has been designated as an institution of community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university was recognized in both categories: “curricular engagement” and “outreach and partnerships.” It was one of 119 public and private colleges and universities nationwide to receive the designation. Purdue University, Indiana State University and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis also hold the national distinction.
The University of Southern Indiana is one of 119 public and private colleges and universities nationwide to receive classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an institution of community engagement. USI was recognized in both categories: “curricular engagement” and “outreach and partnerships.” One hundred and forty-seven institutions applied for the classification. USI, Purdue University, Indiana State University, and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis are the Indiana institutions that hold the national distinction.
Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at USI, said, “This is national recognition of the outstanding work of USI faculty, staff, and students in connecting the learning environment on campus with southwestern Indiana. It affirms that USI takes seriously its mission to support education, social, and economic growth, and civic and cultural awareness in southwestern Indiana.”
Service to the region and the state is an important component of USI’s mission. The University’s outreach programs include the Center for Applied Research, which mobilizes the resources of the University to help regional businesses and organizations thrive; Connect with Southern Indiana, a citizenship-building program open to Indiana residents from nine counties; heritage tourism through Historic Southern Indiana and Historic New Harmony; the Southern Indiana Japanese School, a Saturday program for children of Japanese employees of area corporations; an annual summer season of plays at the New Harmony Theatre; the annual RopeWalk Writers Retreat; and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. USI is the education partner for Innovation Pointe, Evansville’s certified technology park headquarters, and offers classes there.
USI President H. Ray Hoops has twice established a President’s Task Force on Workforce and Economic Development to examine the University’s leadership and responsiveness in regional economic development. The 2007 Presidential Task Force found that USI has made measurable progress in implementing the recommendations of its first Task Force in 2000. Recommendations included continuing development of co-op and internship opportunities; increasing noncredit and workforce training offerings; developing Connect with Southern Indiana, a regional leadership program; and offering alternate delivery of programs through distance education. Of the 13 suggested academic programs in the 2000 report, only one has yet to be implemented.
USI links outreach to curriculum through its Service Learning program. Recent examples include an evaluation of Habitat of Humanity of Evansville performed by faculty and students from the departments of Social Work, Physical Education, Sociology, and Economics; a business plan for the Old Courthouse completed by students in a Legal and Social Environment of Business course; and a Seminar in Advertising student-designed campaign for SparK12, a new organization created to increase retention among high school students. In Individual Taxation Practicum, students serve the community by preparing federal and state individual tax returns.
Faculty members offer scholarship as community outreach. Dr. Glenna Bower, assistant professor of education, led a team in developing an after-school intervention program and DVD addressing childhood obesity. Economics professors Dr. Sudesh Mujumdar and Dr. Timothy Schibik prepared the I-69 Community Development Study to help guide planning efforts for Oakland City, Petersburg, and Washington, Indiana, to address the consequences of the new interstate. Through USI’s Office of Institutional Research, a research team, led by Dr. Katherine Draughon, produced a report for the Department of Parks and Recreation to elicit opinions from residents regarding u city-operated parks and recreation facilities.
Bennett said the classification will help the University continue to serve the region. “The importance of this recognition will be evident as the University seeks grant funding, recruits new faculty and staff, and continues to build on its strong reputation for accountability in public higher education,” she said.
The University of Southern Indiana is a comprehensive public university in Evansville, Indiana. Approximately 10,000 students are enrolled in academic programs in business, education and human services, liberal arts, nursing and health professions, and science and engineering. Selected graduate degree programs serve persons in professional and technical studies. More information is available on the Web at www.usi.edu.
Source: University of Southern Indiana