“Increasing Diversity at IU”
June 6, 2007
Opportunity and diversity have long been integral parts of the mission of Indiana University. The University was founded in 1820 to provide educational opportunities for individuals who could not otherwise gain access. Over a century later, Indiana University was a leader among major American universities in fully integrating its programs and facilities, due in large measure to the vision of President Herman B Wells. We now recognize that a diverse student body is not only a matter of justice and equity; it is also a matter of sound educational policy.
To navigate successfully an increasingly diverse and global workplace and society, it is essential that our students be exposed to the broad range of perspectives that can only be achieved through a diverse student body. Moreover, the value of diverse perspectives is not limited to one campus, nor to one side of the podium. Students must also be exposed to a diverse faculty and professional staff, who act as teachers and role models. It was on this basis that in 2002 Indiana University took a stand in favor of the centrality of a diverse student body to our educational mission by submitting a brief in favor of the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program in the Supreme Court in Grutter v. Michigan.
True diversity and true opportunity mean more than tokenism; they require a real commitment to significant representation of currently under-represented groups. For this reason, the Board of Trustees last year endorsed a “goal of doubling the enrollment of under-represented minorities on the Bloomington campus by 2013-2014.” This is an ambitious aim, and the Bloomington campus is putting into place programs and making progress toward meeting it. Bloomington has strengthened the Hudson-Holland Scholars Program. It has added the Presidential Incentive Initiative to encourage enrollment. It has also added the IU Pell Promise Award and 21st Century Scholars programs provide additional funding for students who are otherwise eligible for need-based scholarships. In addition, IUB has established K-12 programs designed to expand the pool of interested and capable high school students, and has marketed its programs distinctly to underrepresented segments of the applicant pool. These efforts have increased institutional visibility in minority communities.
Last month, the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses announced a partnership with nine historically black colleges and universities to create a new HBCU-STEM Initiative to attract and support HBCU students in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This initiative includes programs of faculty collaboration, joint research institutes, a Summer Scholars Institute for undergraduate students, and an endowed President’s Graduate Fellowship Program in the STEM disciplines for HBCU and first-generation college students.
The time has come to extend the goal of increasing the enrollment of under-represented minorities at the Bloomington campus to all campuses of Indiana University, to faculty and professional staff recruitment, and to the enterprises with which IU does business. This cannot be accomplished with a single approach. IU’s campuses have different missions, they serve different areas, and they bring different assets. To be both effective and realistic, plans must be data-driven and take into account these and other relevant factors. In developing their plans, each campus should enlist the assistance of university resources, such as the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs, and the work of the Enhancing Minority Attainment Conference.
We are therefore asking the IUB Provost and the Chancellors to develop campus-specific plans to increase underrepresented minorities in the enrollment of students, in the ranks of faculty and professional staff, and in the utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses by the university. The plans should represent the degree of ambitiousness of the Board’s May 2006 charge to the Bloomington campus. Campus plans should be realistic, consistent with each campus’ distinct mission, and take into account the demographic and economic characteristics of the region that the campus serves, campus assets such as housing, available resources, and other relevant factors. The plans are to be submitted to the President by December 1, 2007.