The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning and improvement.
The institution allocates its resources in alignment with its mission and priorities, including, as applicable, its comprehensive research enterprise, associated institutes and affiliated centers.
IU Southeast allocates its resources in alignment with its mission and priorities. As outlined in the 2030 strategic plan framework (24-0363), the three main priorities align directly with the campus mission (24-0001).
Student Success is one of the highest priorities for the campus. This can be evidenced by reallocation of funds to programs that will help ensure student success and retention, including excursions, learning communities, the Oz program, student success coach, mental health initiatives, and renewable scholarships.
Beginning with the Fall 2020 class, the campus has rolled out a new scholarship program focused on recruitment and retention, with many of the scholarships renewable upon meeting certain targets for enrollment and GPA. The largest program is the GOLD program, which auto-awards students based on their high school GPA. Analysis indicates that students receiving these scholarships persist at a high rate (24-0677). The Grenadier Promise scholarship is a last-dollar scholarship to cover tuition and mandatory fees when combined with eligible federal and state grants and scholarships. This scholarship aims to reduce the burden of costs to those most in need. To fund the scholarship programs, $200K per year has been committed from planned use of reserves as presented to the Trustees in November 2019. Stimulus Funds will also be used to support the scholarship program, and there is a goal in IU 2030 to increase need-based aid available to students (24-0388).
The institution links its processes for assessment of student learning, evaluation of operations, planning and budgeting.
IU Southeast links its processes for assessment of student learning, evaluation of operations, planning and budgeting.
The Academic and Quality Council (AQC) was expanded to improve student learning outcome assessment through direct measures and to use assessment data for continuous improvement. See section 5.A.1. for description of AQC. During meetings, assessment practices, results, and program review data are shared between academic leadership and the Cabinet (24-0555). This includes assessment of student learning, co-curricular experiences, and key areas of student affairs, administrative affairs, and advancement. Additionally, AQC addresses surveys and assessments to keep the Cabinet informed of significant issues during monthly meetings concerning improvement in areas being reviewed or considered.
For budgeting, assessment, and program review, summary data are part of the budget construction process (24-0389) and receive consideration throughout the academic year (24-0386). Co-curricular assessment was added in the past year (24-0628).
One example is the growing need amongst students for additional counseling services. This can be seen in the growth of counseling sessions, up from 956 in 2009 to 3,208 in 2021, despite a significant decline in enrollment during that same period. To better meet demand and improve student outcomes, the cabinet prioritized funding for an additional psychologist who was hired in the Spring 2023 (24-0390). Funding was also prioritized to hire a student success coach in Fall 2023. Student Success Coaches can assist students with time management, study skills, and other academic-related functions (24-0589; 24-0590; 24-0591). Both positions are heavily linked to Student Success and retention, key parts of the strategic plan and campus priorities.
Another demonstration of the impact of evaluation of operations on implemented changes is the creation of a one-stop model for student services, the first of its kind for an IU regional campus. The “one-stop” model has proven to be a best practice in higher education. Student surveys from Fall 2021 show “Both undergraduate and graduate respondents (95% and 97%, respectively) felt that Student Central staff were somewhat effective or very effective when helping with students’ issues” (24-0274, p. 10). This shows improvement from the 2017 survey, the last survey before the Student Central model implementation, where undergraduate transfers reported satisfaction was 88% Registration and 72% Financial Aid (24-0391, p. 19). Student satisfaction is up.
One thing we have learned from this change is that students want and need more holistic support. They are coming to us with questions that are more in-depth versus transactional. Each student has their own unique situation requiring the counselor to quickly review account information and make recommendations to help the student. To better serve the students and prepare for their questions, the Student Central model updated their format in Fall 2023 to a counselor-driven format that allowed students to connect with a specific assigned counselor to help work through their accounts, questions, and unique personal situations.
The Excursions program was created by the Academic Affairs office to help students feel more engaged and connected. Budget dollars were allocated to help fund the program and it has grown exponentially. In FY22, $21K was allocated to excursions and in FY23, $45K was allocated (24-0629). In FY24, base funding was reallocated to support the program. Excursions are part of the IU 2030 strategic plan, with the goal of having excursions available for all majors.
The planning process encompasses the institution as a whole and considers the perspectives of internal and external constituent groups.
Faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders play a key role in institutional planning. Throughout the process of establishing IU 2030, perspectives of internal and external stakeholders were considered. This includes multiple town halls, opportunities for feedback via online submission, and participants representing a diverse cross-section of the campus community (e.g., 24-0392).
For budgeting, there are two main groups that help set budget priorities: CBAC (formerly CBAG: 24-0317) and the Faculty Senate Budget Affairs Committee (24-0093, pp. 17-18). The 2022-2023 CBAC developed a set of recommendations with focus on 1. Retention and 2. Recruitment by doing some benchmark comparisons to our other institutions comprising of our 1. IPEDs peers, 2. Local universities and 3. National/online competitors. One recommendation was to update the website for style and content. The campus is pursuing an overhaul of the website including adding a customer focus. The details of the recommendation were shared with the web team. All final recommendations were linked to IU 2030 (24-0594), as well as the ICHE outcomes-based funding model metrics with updates provided to the 2023-2024 committee as to the progress towards each priority recommendation.
The Faculty Senate Budgetary Affairs Committee is comprised fully of faculty and helps set budget priorities from an academic perspective. The 2022-2023 committee recommended pursuing dual credit opportunities with high schools. This is a part of the IU 2030 strategic plan and progress has been made including establishing a pathways agreement for education with a local school system and additional dual credit opportunities through partnership with a local high school. All of the BAC recommendations (24-0592) were linked to the IU 2030 Strategic Plan (24-0593) and ICHE Outcomes-based funding model metrics, as well as progress reports added for feedback during the 2023-2024 BAC committee meetings.
To help develop a comprehensive set of strategic retention strategies, the chancellor formed the Crimson-Ribbon Panel comprised of faculty, staff, and students to advance current initiatives and develop a series of new actions to implement in 2020 to improve retention (24-0397). For report on the efficacy of these recommendations and their implementation, please refer to the Crimson Ribbon Committee Follow-Up Report (24-0398).
Plans for reductions were shared with the Deans throughout the budgeting process. The VC for Administration and Finance met with Deans and their fiscal officers over the summer to review budgets, all funds approach to budgeting, underutilized accounts, renewal and replacement accounts, and budget planning in additional detail (24-0595). In addition, a campus-wide budget update was presented in August to review the budget, discuss an all funds budgeting approach, linking initiatives to the IU 20230 Strategic Plan and ICHE outcomes-based funding metrics, and assessment (24-0588). For FY2025 there are plans to return to a campus budget request process to assess needs across the campus and provide additional feedback to be used in the budget planning process.
The institution plans on the basis of a sound understanding of its current capacity, including fluctuations in the institution’s sources of revenue and enrollment.
In planning for the FY2024 budget, the campus reduced the base budget by $2.6 million which was the result of declining student enrollment, along with a conservative approach to estimating budgeted credit hours for the upcoming year. The budget was balanced using a combination of strategies including cabinet review of all vacant positions (many were not rehired), Account-Level and Object Code-Level review of underutilized general fund accounts, reallocation of academic support accounts to align with initiatives related to the strategic plan, reduction in adjunct budgets – led by initiatives in academic affairs to reduce the number of electives, and the elimination of lease fees. In Fall 2023, the campus met and exceeded its budget target by 10%. This is the first time the campus has exceeded tuition revenue targets since fiscal year 2011 (24-0582). The campus continues to explore all opportunities to reduce and reallocate its financial resources. Additional examples of reallocations are outlined in the campus’s FY24 Budget Planning Memo (24-0400).
The campus continues to invest in initiatives that directly impact student success and recruitment. We have spent additional monies on financial aid and marketing to assist in these efforts. The OOE is making investments in marketing that will hopefully increase enrollments with increases anticipated in 2-4 years. In addition, the campus is exploring programs and initiatives that will impact revenue such as better utilization of funds in the IU Foundation and Sponsorships with additional details are outlined in the FY24 Budget Planning Memo (24-0400) and the campus initiatives planning document.
Institutional planning anticipates evolving external factors, such as technology advancements, demographic shifts, globalization, the economy and state support.
As stated in the FY24 budget memo to the campus, the Chancellor highlighted many factors that are impacting enrollment at the campus which is like other regional campuses in the United States. We are adjusting to a tight labor market, heightened competition for a smaller pool of students, and changing attitudes toward higher education in general (24-0367).
These factors, along with geographic shifts in the area such as high-school graduation rates, are considered when estimating enrollments for the upcoming academic years. These estimates are used to build a 5-year budget model which considers enrollment along with changes to state appropriations (24-0368; 24-0369). FY23 ended with a General Fund balance of $11.0 million. The general fund days cash on hand was 71 at the end of FY23, compared to 66 in FY21 and 38 in FY17. The GF+DS days cash on hand increased from 104 at the end of FY21 to 121 at the end of FY23 (24-0596).
To counteract these external factors, the Southeast campus is focused on growing its persistence rates, recruitment, and brand awareness, as well as curricular innovation. For recruitment, in the next seven years, the population of Latinx students in the area is expected to grow, so the campus is exploring opportunities to engage with this population through a Latinx task force. A kickoff event, Latinx breakfast, was hosted on campus in the Spring 2023. The campus is also working to grow dual credit enrollment through partnerships with the local high schools. A new pathway with Providence high school was established to begin in Fall 2023.
Online education has been a focus of the campus, long before the pandemic, with a significant growth in online credit hours. These courses were able to be offered through training provided by the ILTE office. The SE campus leads the regional campuses in the number of Quality Matters certified online courses with 70 QM certified courses (24-0402). In 2019, in the number of credit hours taught online, the SE campus was second only to the East campus, a heavy online campus. This change was seen as necessary by the administration as the student demand for online offering has only continued to increase, and this has been an area where the campus has seen growth. The move to online education was further exacerbated by the global pandemic. In addition, the Southeast campus participates in several online collaborative degrees, and IU Southeast has expanded the number of online programs available. In the past few years, we added several undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs for our online students. This has led to growth in enrollment in this area. In fall 2019, we had 186 students enrolled in online programs. In fall 2023, we have 480 students enrolled in various online programs (24-0359). In addition, more students are also opting to take more online courses (24-0611)
The institution implements its plans to systematically improve its operations and student outcomes.
The campus implements its plans to systematically improve its operations and student outcomes. Student Success is a key component of the IU2030 strategic plan (24-0363).
IU 2030 was finalized in April 2023 with an implementation team established that same month. Regular progress reports are provided to University administration. By August 2023, the plan already had progress towards its goals (24-0578). That progress was shared with the campus community in a chancellor email update (24-0577). The strategic plan is closely monitored through SmartSheets, with year-1 detailed goals and tactics outlines as well as monitoring for progress towards meeting those goals (24-0678). In addition, IU Southeast created goals in the past year to increase our yearly retention rates by 3% by fall 2026 to be in better alignment with our peer institutions (24-0404). Several initiatives were implemented to help the campus work towards enhancing student success and persistence goals. These initiatives include the Meaningful Middle advising project, learning communities, and improvements in math courses all mentioned earlier in the report. Another program started in 2021, and implemented a motivation and self-management class designed to help suspended and probation students get back on track. A free one-credit hour class provides students with guidance to focus and develop their academic skills. Of the students who completed the course, 67% improved their GPA with an average increase of 0.71 (24-0405). Examining our students’ persistence shows increases. Specifically, the fall-to-spring persistence for FYUs in fall 2022 was 85.2%, an increase of 6.8% from the previous year. Our Fall 2022 to Fall 2023 persistence was an increase of 9.3% (60.5% to 69.8%) - a record high fall-to-fall retention rate for the campus (24-0630)!
Additional projects designed to help with recruitment and student persistence are outlined below.
Changes to Orientation and the Grenadier Guide Course
Before the pandemic, new students were required to attend an in-person, on-campus orientation session where they met with an academic advisor to register for classes, often in large groups. During the pandemic, all orientation and onboarding activities were moved to a virtual format, with new students meeting one-on-one with an academic advisor and completing online modules that provide additional transition information. Since on-campus and in-person activities resumed, some of the pandemic-related changes to orientation remain. The online modules are now woven into the admission and yield process, allowing new students to explore university information at their own pace. New students are required to meet one-on-one with their academic advisor before their in-person orientation. This meeting can be held virtually or in person. In person orientations are still offered, focusing on academic connections, student success resources, and campus involvement opportunities (24-0406).
Excursions have expanded since fall 2021; faculty and staff create and lead IU Southeast students on hands-on learning experiences including trips to local sites like Red River Gorge to study geological formations, as well as to conferences and on day trips that are related to their career interests (e.g., an education conference focusing on teaching English as a second language or touring accounting firms in Louisville). For additional resources describing excursions, please see the following: 24-0407; 24-0408; 24-0409; 24-0410.
In Fall 2022, with an eye to reducing costs and having more control over questions asked, we decided to replace Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) pre and post surveys previously used in our FYS classes with an in-house created survey. To this end, we created a Beginning FYS Survey (24-0411) and Ending FYS Survey (24-0412). The results of the surveys (e.g., 24-0339) were shared and discussed with administration, faculty, and staff (e.g., 24-0413) as the information provided gave the campus insight into our new students’ academic expectations. Results from the surveys allow the Persistence Coordinator to do personalized outreach to students since a portion of the survey specifically asked students and gave the campus insights regarding the type of programming the new students were looking forward to. Based on the 32 students who asked questions about disability services in the fall 2022/spring 2023 new student Welcome Course, the Fall 2023 FYS survey will include a question about requesting accommodations. This will allow staff to include outreach at the beginning of the semester rather than at the end.
The Mentoring Program is changing to help improve student outcomes. The mentoring program has expanded to include career mentoring with employers and alumni, existing peer mentoring programs for incoming students, and university mentoring from staff/faculty for second-year students. With career mentoring, third- and fourth-year students are paired with an Alumni or Community member in the job they are hoping to get after graduation. This is an initiative of the strategic plan and changes are already underway (24-0598).
Several practices have been examined to ensure that our campus is friendly to transfer students. In February 2023, a proposal to adopt General Education Competencies at IU Southeast (24-0414) was approved by the faculty senate (24-0193). This document creates a process that reduces the amount of undistributed transfer credit and ensures that general education core competencies are recognized for transfer students (see 3.B.1 for more details). In addition, the top exceptions project analysis was shared with each school's Deans. The Dean examined the pattern of exception rules being processed and if a recurring exception by 10 or more students occurred, the Dean was asked to document this and present it to their school's faculty to determine whether curricular changes or other actions were necessary. A decision was then made and processed. These changes led to a reduction of undistributed credit for transfer students (24-0415; 24-0679).
Credit for Prior Learning and Development of Micro-Credentials
Another area of development on our campus is the examination of credit for prior learning (CPL) practices. Our Chancellor arranged for a group of faculty leaders to participate in some training to enhance the campus knowledge of how to give credit for prior learning. This task force soon became a university wide CPL task force where all the campuses participated. The final report provides an overview of CPL, the opportunities in this space, identifies the gaps in our current process and some strategies to move forward (24-0416). Currently, the progress of CPL on our campus continues to develop through workshops (24-0599). In addition to CPL, developing micro-credentials has also been a focus in workshops and discussions among the faculty (24-0600; 24-0601; 24-0602). In September 2023, a cross campus taskforce began discussing the crafting of foundational definitions and developing the best practices campuses can use to scale up and build out micro credentialling and digital badging (24-0603).