'Diversity ... permits us the opportunity to marvel at our similarities and celebrate our differences'

Mar. 13, 2014

When IU's Soul Revue travels to Memphis, Tenn., over spring break to work with talented local youths, the group will help serve one of IU Bloomington’s strategic plans: to increase diversity among the student body through innovative recruitment techniques.

Over the past six months, Indiana University administrators have put increased resources into these diversity efforts. Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel made diversity student recruitment a priority in a draft of the recently released IU Bloomington Campus Strategic Plan, which specifically mentions “the need for diversity to improve our classrooms, research and community.”

Increasing diversity among the student body is a challenge -- the number of U.S. high school graduates is projected to decline over the next few years. And although the number of Hispanic or Latino high school graduates will continue to grow in Indiana, African American graduates in the state declined 6 percent in the 2012 to 2013 academic year, and a dip is projected to extend for the next six years before it catches back up.

'The six C's'

Among the new efforts is the appointment of Khala Granville, the associate director of admissions with responsibility for diversity-oriented student recruitment and outreach in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.

Granville is part of a newly restructured admissions team that also includes four staff members in Bloomington. Granville will direct efforts to help IU Bloomington meet its enrollment goals with a focus on outreach through the "six C's": community organizations, counselors in high schools, camps, competitions, churches and community colleges.

“With Khala as part of our diversity recruiting team, we have an even greater opportunity to make personal connections with prospective students, their families and school counselors, helping them to see IU Bloomington as a place where they will flourish and go on to successful careers,” said David B. Johnson, vice provost for enrollment management.

Martin McCrory, associate vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and vice provost for educational inclusion and diversity, said adding more diversity on campus expands the pool of knowledge and enhances IU's ability to make effective use of the talents, abilities and experiences of a wide variety of people. 

"Diversity forces us to challenge stereotypes, and it permits us the opportunity to marvel at our similarities and celebrate our differences," McCrory said. 

Now, more than ever before, IU Bloomington units are working with DEMA, the Office of Enrollment Management and one another to develop and foster a diverse and inclusive community, he said.

"We are also engaged in aggressive and collaborative marketing and recruitment campaigns that reach students and families where they are," McCrory said. "Moreover, we are going to expand our on-campus opportunities for pre-college students and make certain we are following up with those students to get them to IU Bloomington.”

As part of this effort, on March 17 and 18, the IU Offices of Enrollment Management and Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and School of Public Health-Bloomington are co-sponsoring the Indiana Summit on Out-of-School Learning at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

Up to 700 providers of after-school and summer programs from across the state are expected to attend the summit, where IU employees will work to build relationships with the organizations and help them learn more about the college application process.

The event is one of the many efforts Johnson has long been visualizing as part of IU’s efforts to recruit more diversity among the student body.

“Being part of the summit is a collaborative opportunity to share the strengths of IU with program directors who provide students with important experiences outside of high school,” Johnson said. “This is just one effort in the community and we look forward to expanding our engagement in Indy across all of the six C's.”

Visit to Memphis

The IU’s Soul Revue’s visit to Memphis on March 20 to 21 is another chance to engage in another “C”: community engagement with pre-college students.

Soul Revue director Tyron Cooper and members of the ensemble will conduct workshops with students from the Stax Music Academy, an educational program that continues the tradition of the historic Stax record label; Overton High School, a city school for those interested in the creative and performing arts; LeMoyne-Owen College, a historically black institution; and the University of Memphis.

Also involved in the Memphis visit are representatives of the IU Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the IU Alumni Association, the Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and the admissions office.

"While the Memphis tour will be an incredible opportunity for the IU Soul Revue to perform and learn about one of the most important cities in the development of soul music, it also will provide an opportunity for us to bring together alumni and to expose potential IU students to the wealth talent and commitment to diversity here at IU Bloomington," said James Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, who also is coming to Memphis.

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