IUPUI is higher than our peers and other research universities in offering active and collaborative learning experiences, according to new data.
The National Survey of Student Engagement released the report, "Assessment for Improvement: Tracking Student Engagement over Time." Students surveyed rated IUPUI high for such experiences as making class presentations, working with other students on projects during class, and participating in a community-based project (e.g., service learning) as part of a regular course. Last fall, more than 4,500 undergraduates participated in the 219 service learning courses we offer—almost quadruple the number in 2000.
NSSE data also show high marks for enriching educational experiences.
Compared to other universities, first-year students at IUPUI are more likely to have participated in learning communities, seniors are more likely to have had a capstone experience (senior thesis or comprehensive exam), and both groups reported in high numbers that they have been involved in community service or volunteer work.
U.S. News & World Report regularly lists our learning communities, first-year experiences, and service learning among its "Programs to Look For."
Experts say such programs are the kinds of high-impact practices that contribute most to student learning and success. As a result, we're seeing improvement in our student retention from first to second year and in our graduation rates. With the new "RISE to the Challenge" initiative, students will be able to show on their transcripts that they have participated in Research, International, Service, or Experiential learning courses, which engage students with campus and community life. Employers also value graduates who have had practice-based experiences as part of their college work.
The IUPUI Center for Service and Learning, an IUPUI Signature Center, promotes these high-impact, practice-based experiences as well as neighborhood partnerships and other student community volunteerism.
Matthew Morrow, an IUPUI graduate student, was among those recently recognized at the Governor's Conference on Service and Volunteerism.
Matt received the Indiana Campus Compact's Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award for his work with disaster relief through the organization Youth Advocating Leadership and Learning (Y'ALL), which he founded.
Beginning as an undergraduate at IUB, Matt led several service trips with fellow students to Biloxi, Mississippi, and neighboring communities on the Gulf Coast. Upon entering the master's in health administration program at IUPUI, he established a Y'ALL chapter here and continued to organize alternative spring break and other service trips.
An Indiana Business Research Center study estimated the value of IUPUI service learning and volunteerism to the city at $3.4 million annually!
The Sam Jones Community Service Scholars—one of the largest such programs in the U.S.—provided some 34,500 hours of community service last year alone. Named in memory of Sam Jones, who founded the Indianapolis Urban League, the Sam Jones Scholarship both recognizes students for previous service to their high school, campus, or community and supports their continued involvement in educationally meaningful service.
The retention and graduation rate of Sam Jones Community Service Scholars averages well over 90 percent and has been as high as 96 percent. One student eloquently described the personal impact of the scholarship:
"Being a part of this scholarship program has expanded my leadership and communication skills, helped me to gain experience in my future career, opened my eyes to the needs of society, and given me the tools that I can use to contribute to society. This scholarship has changed my life and has helped me see and live life beyond myself."
This time of the year, faculty, staff, and students turn up the volume on service with the Jam the Jaguars Bus food drive and the Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Program.
In this season of giving thanks, I am grateful for the generous spirit that is such a special part of being at IUPUI—and to those who support our work through their philanthropic gifts. May the joys of the season be with you all!
Charles R. Bantz