Rose-Hulman Helping ‘Chart the Future’ of Indiana Higher Education

Monday, December 16, 2019
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A group of faculty and staff members will soon begin examining innovative programs that prepare first-year students to make a successful transition from high school to studying demanding STEM academic areas in college.

Rose-Hulman has received a $100,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to examine initiatives that focus on the success of first-year students, especially those from underrepresented groups who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

This is part of Lilly Endowment’s $108.2 million Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities initiative. The initiative is supporting efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of the state’s 38 higher education institutions through collaborative strategies.

The planning process at Rose-Hulman will include proposals presenting sound and promising strategies and programs in three areas: preparing students for rewarding employment and to live engaged and meaningful lives, especially in Indiana; enhancing the viability and financial condition of institutions; and further enhancing educational missions more effectively in new or innovative ways. Based on its student enrollment, Rose-Hulman is eligible to apply for an implementation grant of up to $1 million to fund new program ideas that emerge from the planning process.

Rick Stamper, Rose-Hulman’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, says “a STEM education is a powerful tool for having a positive impact on the world. However, STEM curriculums are challenging and sometimes students find themselves struggling as they pursue their STEM degrees – particularly in their first year as they transition from high school. This funding will improve the ways we support those students and help them be successful.”

Stamper and Charlie Ricker, assistant director of alumni relations, are co-leading a faculty/staff group that will develop the first-year student program proposal. The planning committee also includes members of academic affairs, student affairs and alumni relations areas.

Other members of the cross-disciplinary planning group are Dave Rader, head of the Department of Mathematics; Carlotta Berry, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Sarah Forbes, director of student academic success; and Eric Liobis, Cory Pardieck and Emilee Roberts, assistant directors of residence life.

Meanwhile, other faculty and staff members are developing brief concept papers that address how Rose-Hulman can collaborate with other educational institutions, businesses, governmental or charitable organizations on large-scale programs. Topics for these possible future grant submissions could be a regional student mental health collaboration, a teaching fellowship program and a novel “prep-year” program for students.

In addition, Lilly Endowment is making available an opportunity for Indiana colleges and universities to seek funding for extraordinary large-scale proposals. Schools can seek up to $10 million for these large-scale proposals.

“We are encouraging Indiana’s higher education leaders to be bold and imaginative in developing creative and collaborative strategies to strengthen their institutions and further their educational missions more effectively,” states Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are impressed with the dedication of Indiana’s higher education leaders to face head-on their challenges and embrace their opportunities to build brighter futures for their students and colleges and universities.”