The 2018 Leadership Institute Kickoff September 28, 2018 IUPUI
Multiple Inequalities in Higher Education: How do we meet our students’ needs if we fail to understand the problems and students lack universal access to resources?
Research suggests that about 61% of students enrolled at four-year public universities like ours graduate within 150 percent (6 years) of the expected graduation time. This leaves roughly 40% of students without the benefits of higher education, and often saddled with debt. The truth is that marginalized, vulnerable, and at-risk students encounter inequalities in higher education not generally faced by those who enter college with a support system in place. Some students go hungry on a regular basis, while others are faced with personal and/or intrafamily addiction, both of which affect student success and/or ability to complete college. Other challenges might include marginalization due to sexual orientation, gender, race, or ethnicity; income inequality; or homelessness to name a few. It is our responsibility to ensure that all students have the opportunity to pursue and complete their academic journey. Addressing these issues from the individual campus’ perspective can result in desired changes to our educational institutions that promote overall student success.
Titans Mentoring Titans: A collaboration with the organization Mentor Collective to provide peer mentoring for 300 incoming students.
“Ask Me” stations: stations around campus staffed by students and staff to help new students navigate campus, complete necessary forms/processes, etc.
Progress and Next Steps Ask Me stations were implemented in fall 2019 in collaboration with the bi-weekly staff council. In addition to bi-weekly staff, 8 students were hired through work study to staff the stations. The stations helped around 200 students during the first two weeks of the semester.
Ask Me Stations will be staffed each fall and run by Rick Dennie, Director of Student Support, in collaboration with the Bi-weekly Staff Council.
Titans Mentoring Titans was implemented in April 2020, with the campus initially funding 300 spots. The program was so successful that 50 additional spots have been funded. So far, 333 mentees have been matched with mentors; they have had over 800 conversations (phone or video chat) and sent over 4000 text messages.
Titans Mentoring Titans has been funded through 2021-22 and will be assessed by Mentor Collective after each semester based on metrics for retention, enrollment, and student engagement. If the program proves to have a significant impact on retention and/or enrollment, as it has on other campuses, we will hopefully continue the program, though this is subject to budgetary considerations.
Project Description Our Leadership Institute team was charged with looking at how faculty can help students who face challenges in their academic pursuits due to a lack of resources on campus. These challenges, which affect many students, could occur because of different factors such as unavailability of food resources, lack of a personal support system at the university, income inequality, alongside other issues. Our team focused on the role that the faculty plays in helping students in these situations, and we decided to gather information about local resources on and off campus that faculty could provide as help to students.
Progress and Next Steps To determine the kinds of issues that our students face, we distributed a survey to various undergraduate and graduate student organizations with questions about the kinds of issues students in their organizations had been facing. Then, we decided to organize a list of resources that faculty could pass along to students or that could be made available to students directly as a part of their welcome package. After putting together our list of resources, we sought to digitize this information while also getting the word out about these issues. We participated as part of the Plenary Session for the 2020 NTT Day of Professionalism, during which time we presented our work thus far and spoke with the faculty about the issues that are common among our student body. During this session, we handed out flyers with information on various organizations at Indiana University, in Bloomington, and the surrounding areas. We met with the Division of Student Affairs and learned that their organization was also interested in creating an electronic resource accessible to students about agencies that could help them in a time of crisis. Our hope is that the next step will be to make this into a database that both students and faculty can utilize whenever necessary.
Project Description Our FACET Leadership Team created an awareness campaign designed to expose IUK faculty and staff to a host of student barriers to success. After seeing Dr. Lowery-Hart at the initial FACET Leadership Conference, the team was moved by his message, and worked with IUK administrators to bring him to campus as the keynote speaker for the Fall 2019 Convocation. Once again, Dr. Lowery-Hart delivered a powerful message, highlighting student issues and needs that often fly under-the-radar. His speech generated so much dialogue and interest amongst faculty and staff that the team decided to launch a Student Advocacy Certificate. All faculty and staff were eligible to participate, and in order to earn the certificate, participants were required to attend three student-centered discussions and activities over the 2019-2020 academic year. Around a dozen participants earned the certificate, and feedback for the program and events was overwhelmingly positive. In addition, the team collaborated with multiple offices on campus, including the CTLA, Office of Student Success and Advising, and IUK’s Resource Navigator (Laura Bain-Selbo) to promote student advocacy events and awareness, as well as the certificate itself. Finally, we worked with faculty, staff, and administrators to generate greater visibility for and accessibility to the Cougar Cupboard (our campus pantry), and to campaign for free grab-and-go food options in strategic locations around campus, which came about as part of the campus’ ongoing commitment to removing barriers (in this case food insecurity and hunger) to student success.
Progress and Next Steps Our FACET Leadership Team completed all of our goals, and the next step is to continue offering student-centered events, and to incentivize attendance by continuing to offer the Student Advocacy Certificate.
President for Amarillo College, Dr. Russell D. Lowery-Hart, will provide a special presentation during the event. Dr. Lowery-Hart was selected into the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous, executive leadership program focused on higher education reform led by the Aspen Institute and the Stanford University. His leadership on poverty and culture change was featured in The Atlantic (June 2018). His leadership is focused on improving student success through systemic and cultural change. He was named the National Academic Leader of the Year for 2014. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio University; MA in from Texas Tech; and BS from West Texas A&M University.