University ranked high for community service

September 7, 2011

Whether sprucing up a city park in Indianapolis, rehabilitating a school in Greentown or helping tornado victims two states away, service is an integral part of an Indiana State University education.

When it comes to university support for service learning, Indiana State ranks fourth in the country among national universities in this year's Washington Monthly College Guide. The ranking is based on the level of staff, courses and financial aid in support of civic engagement by students. It is the highest ranking of any Indiana institution.

The ranking of 258 national universities by the bi-monthly publication of U.S. politics and government assesses the level of staff, courses and financial aid in support of service. Indiana State ranks 32nd in the nation in student community service participation and hours served, also the highest in the state.

"Unlike U.S. News and World Report and similar guides," Washington Monthly writes in its September/October issue, "this (guide) asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it? Are they trying to become more productive?"

Strengthening Indiana State's commitment to community engagement is a key element of the university's five-year strategic plan. Two years into the plan, the Washington Monthly ranking shows the university is making significant progress, said ISU President Dan Bradley.

"Indiana State is proud of the many ways our students, faculty and staff are using their talents and knowledge to help others," Bradley said. "This is a key component of an Indiana State University education, and it is exciting to see a college ranking system that values this important work."

In the past year, service learning projects for Indiana State students have included:
• A university-wide effort with faculty, staff and alumni to paint and clean-up Riverside Park in Indianapolis
• Education majors joining with students from other colleges and universities to help renovate facilities at Greentown Junior/Senior High School
• 18 students helped with clean-up and relief efforts following the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo.
• Dozens of students took part in Alternative Spring Break, volunteering in New Orleans to help "Katrina's Kids," children who survived the 2005 hurricane; in Pensacola, Fla. with the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration and Community Service project to assist areas hit by the 2010 oil spill; and in Haysi, Va. To help low-income rural communities with a variety of needs.
• A project by two senior nursing students to develop a resource directory and provide playground equipment for a homeless women's shelter in Terre Haute.

"These are just a few of the many ways students at Indiana State University give back to the community, state and nation," said Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning. "We introduce students to the university's commitment to service from the time they first arrive on campus. Just last month, more than 500 incoming freshmen volunteered to serve community agencies in Terre Haute on Donaghy Day, a day devoted to community engagement on the last day before classes start for the fall semester."

Service is one of three categories Washington Monthly considers in its rankings. The others are social mobility - the percentage of graduates compared against the expected percentage based on SAT scores and the proportion of students eligible for Pell grants - and research.

Indiana State's overall ranking is 78th, placing it among the top third nationally and second among Indiana schools. Only Notre Dame (16th) ranked higher.

Other national universities in the state, and their rankings, are Purdue (79), Indiana (108), Ball State (221), IUPUI (231).

Indiana State was among the first universities in the nation to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in a special category of colleges and universities that are committed to both an academic approach to community collaboration and extensive outreach and partnerships. ISU has also made the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since the honor roll was launched in 2006.

Photos:

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/1021628102_WRc6Y-L.jpg - Volunteers from Indiana State University and Special Olympics Indiana athletes pick up rakes and shovels for a day of service at Riverside Park in Indianapolis on Sept. 25, 2010. (ISU/Tony Campbell) http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/1250586182_kgrr6-L.jpg - Indiana State University education majors Jennifer Perez and Khrista Beliles paint cabinets in the art room of Eastern Junior/Senior High School on April 9, 2011. (ISU Photo/Jennifer Sicking) http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-Q28GKgj/0/L/i-Q28GKgj-L.jpg - Rev. Tim Long of the Lighthouse Mission's Conner's Center examines a resource guide for the homeless as Rebecca Campbell looks on. Campbell and fellow Indiana State University nursing student Kayley Bodine compiled the directory as part of a community-nursing project in 2010-11, during their senior year. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-cVH7QLf/0/L/i-cVH7QLf-S.jpg - Indiana State University students help prepare a tornado-stricken home in Joplin, Mo. for rehabilitation.

Contact: Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for community engagement and experiential learning, Indiana State University, 812-237-2474 or nancy.rogers@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu