News and Tribune

August 29, 2013

Indiana State tops national ranking for community service

Sycamores at top of list of 281 national universities

By TERRE HAUTE TRIBUNE STAR
newsroom@newsandtribune.com

— Indiana State University is ranked No. 1 in the country when it comes to community service.

The 2013 Washington Monthly College Guide places Indiana State at the top of its list of 281 national universities in the category of community service participation and hours worked by students, faculty and staff, and No. 2 in the level of university support for service learning. Last year’s rankings placed Indiana State third in both categories.

“Indiana State has made community service a core component of what we do. It is embedded in our teaching, our co-curricular activities and our employee benefits and recognition. There is an expectation that if you are a Sycamore, you will be involved in community service,” university President Dan Bradley said at a news conference this morning in Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall. “It is exciting to see that the hard work of the staff in the Center for Community Engagement and our faculty, staff and students has garnered the number one ranking in the nation.”

Indiana State is in the top 10 percent nationally [No. 25] in the overall rankings by the U.S. politics and government bi-monthly nonprofit magazine, which also takes into account research and social mobility — recruiting and graduating low-income students. The overall ranking is the highest among public universities in Indiana; only Notre Dame ranks higher [No. 16], according to an ISU news release.

“Instead of lauding colleges for closing their doors to all but an elite few, we give high marks to institutions that enroll low-income students, help them graduate and don’t charge them an arm and a leg to attend,” Washington Monthly’s editors wrote in the September/October issue. “We recognize institutions that are committed to public service, both in the way they teach and in encouraging students to enter service-focused careers. Our rankings aim to identify institutions that are acting on behalf of the true public interest.”

In 2012-13, students, faculty and staff at Indiana State provided an estimated 1.2 million hours of community service, with a total value of $8 million, and the university served 115 community partners, according to the annual report of the university’s Center for Community Engagement.

The university engaged in a year-round partnership with several not-for-profit organizations in Terre Haute’s Ryves Neighborhood, including Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, St. Ann Clinic, Bethany House and Catholic Charities of Terre Haute. The partnership included mini grants from the Center for Community Engagement for faculty to develop service learning projects in the neighborhood.

“Recognition by Washington Monthly as the nation’s most engaged university is a testament to the hard work of countless Indiana State faculty, staff and students and some tremendous community partners,” said Nancy Rogers, associate vice president for experiential learning and community engagement. “The hands-on learning opportunities that our community partners help provide make our students better citizens and future professionals. The impact of the students’ service makes a real difference in the community.”

Jim Edwards, director of Ryves Youth Center, noted that Indiana State has supported that facility since 1982.

“Each year, hundreds of ISU students come to our youth center and provide positive role models for our youth. Whether it is cleaning our facility or playing with our children, these college students show a true dedication to improve not only our youth center but also our community,” he said.

Other significant partnerships during the year included:

• A partnership between the Wounded Warrior Project and the department of kinesiology, recreation and sport to assist injured service members via a daylong retreat at the Sycamore Outdoor Center (formerly the Indiana State University Field Campus)

• Completion of the university’s second Habitat for Humanity House

• Sycamore Readers, in which tutors from the university provide free help for struggling elementary school readers in Vigo County

• A detailed analysis for the National Cooperative Grocers Association by students in the Scott College of Business’ Sycamore Business Advisors program

• A collaboration between Indiana State’s Females in Technology program and Girl Scouts of Central Indiana on Get Moving, a national initiative aimed at helping Scouts develop leadership skills.

Also last year, the university’s Nonprofit Leadership Alliance chapter, which trains future leaders, earned the Sprint Campus of the Year award in recognition of best practices in nonprofit leadership development.

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. The university has also made the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since it was launched in 2006.