INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has embarked on its first self-study to better understand the way it facilitates the transfer student experience.
Based on its commitment to transfer students and nationally recognized success in enhancing students’ first-year experience — for which the campus has been honored by U.S. News & World Report for 13 consecutive years — IUPUI was one of two institutions nationwide selected to participate in the Foundations of Excellence® Transfer Focus project sponsored by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.
The Foundations of Excellence initiative will engage IUPUI transfer students, faculty and staff in honest, candid and meaningful discussions about how to improve the transfer experience.
The initiative launched with a faculty-staff survey and will be followed in November by a transfer student survey. Although the students will not have experienced an entire first year, there are obvious advantages in better understanding the first impressions of transfer students, as well as their pre-enrollment experiences such as admitting, orienting, supporting and advising.
From November through February, various committees will review the survey data, which will be followed by reports in March and April. The project will culminate with an institutional improvement plan designed to achieve higher levels of transfer-student learning, satisfaction and graduation. A report to the campus community is expected in June 2015.
The successful integration of transfer students is central to IUPUI’s mission. Transfer students, who make up more than 1,000 students on campus each academic year, are defined as full- or part-time students who entered IUPUI in the prior academic year with credit from another higher education institution. More than 40 percent of IUPUI’s bachelor degree recipients are transfer students.
“Transfer students are a critically important part of the IUPUI student body,” said Cathy Buyarski, IUPUI’s executive director of student success initiatives. “As indicated in the IUPUI Strategic Plan, we must ensure that students who do not start their college careers with us have every opportunity to become fully engaged in the campus, make connections with our outstanding faculty and staff and participate in innovative learning opportunities including undergraduate research, international study, service learning and internships.”
Research has long indicated that students who are successfully integrated into college are much more likely to succeed. The Foundations of Excellence initiative expands the conversation on student retention and focuses directly on the quality of the transfer experience.
Through this initiative, IUPUI will ensure the continued development of transfer students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with the campus’s philosophy and mission: to advance the state of Indiana and the intellectual growth of its residents to the highest levels nationally and internationally through research and creative activity, teaching and learning, and community engagement.
The Foundation of Excellence project was developed and piloted with the support of The Atlantic Philanthropies and Lumina Foundation for Education.