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IU targets minorities for recruitment, aims to build diversity

By Kathrine Schulze

The word “diversity” was ubiquitous in the Campus Strategic Plan released last Wednesday, playing a part in every section.

The Undergraduate Life section, which covered initiatives to recruit and retain undergraduates, focused heavily on diversity and increasing the number of underrepresented minorities on campus.

It includes a goal to increase the proportion of minorities in undergraduate programs as well as increasing the number of women and minorities in Science, Technology, Informatics and Math (STIM) programs.

Martin McCrory is the vice provost for educational inclusion and diversity and co-chair of diversity recruitment for the strategic plan.

“For many of our students, college is the first chance they have to actually interact with someone completely different,” he said. “As the country becomes
increasingly multicultural, it behooves us to teach students to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds. The more diverse our campus, the more it approximates life in the real world.”

IU already specifically recruits minorities, David Johnson, vice provost of the Office of Enrollment Management, said, but the plan focuses on how they can do it in a more effective way.

“We’re looking to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in each of our beginner cohorts,” Johnson said.

IU is campaigning for students through different outlets including media, in-person contact, high school counselors and churches, Johnson said.

“IU has been sending admissions personnel into the cities to recruit for quite some time, and some of our individual academic units have been doing it as well,” McCrory said. “What is new is that OEM staff and IUB faculty increasingly are working together as part of a coordinated, energetic recruitment effort.

“In fact, many of IUB STIM faculty members have expressed an interest in personally helping to recruit students in the STIM fields.”

The OEM will add an associate director of admissions this year who will be responsible for diversity-oriented student recruitment and outreach in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas, McCrory said.

“The associate director will work directly with the schools to as part of our broad-based minority recruitment efforts,” he said.

The OEM is also looking into recruiting younger students, McCrory said.

“In the past we have concentrated on getting high school students interested in college, and we will continue to do so,” McCrory said. “We are also increasing our efforts to reach underrepresented elementary and middle school children. We want students to know that Indiana University is a viable option.”

The strategic plan also covers what will happen to minority students once they come to IU. It includes initiatives to better engage international students on campus.
Eric Love, director of the Office of Diversity Education, said he is happy with the diversity initiatives in the plan.

“I love that the provost was tapping into different areas of the campus to come up with these recommendations,” he said.  “It wasn’t just a few experts, that they really did a thorough job.”

Love said IU’s stance about diversity is a reflection of the shrinking world.   

“We live in a global economy,” Love said. “Changing demographics across the nation. You may be in a conference call with people from all over the world, and so we need to have at least some basic multicultural competencies.”

Love also said he likes  that each of the six sections of the plan included a diversity initiative.

“I also like that it’s important enough that there are diversity components to all the individual unit plans,” Love said. “Because I think that diversity is an institutional

Follow reporter Kathrine Schulze on Twitter @KathrineSchulze.

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