Indiana State University works to make diversity initiatives a priority, so several administrators proposed changes acting on their strategic plan.
About 20 percent of Indiana State University’s more than 11,000 student population comes from a diverse background. However, increasing diversity within the faculty has been a little more challenging.
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jack Maynard says that some of the stereotypes of Terre Haute are unfair making it difficult to recruit a diverse staff.
“This is not something that’s a new issue, many communities struggle with it especially rural America,” Maynard says. “I would classify Terre Haute as being a pretty rural community.”
Maynard says the community has to work together to change those images.
Special Assistant to the Provost and Academic Initiatives Joshua Powers says in 2011 the school had 10 African-American Professors. This year, 15 out of about 500 faculty members are African-American.
“Diversity brings such benefit to our community,” Powers says. “Not just for students of color but for all our students and faculty.”
Powers says African-Americans really bring unique perspectives and add variety contributions. He credits the increase to aggressive job searches and a strong alumni base.
Associate Education and Leadership Professor Kandace Hinton says part of the strategic ISU plan is to diversify the faculty and students.
“African-American students make up the largest population in our underrepresented groups,” Hinton says. “For a long time that disparity between faculty and African-American students has been a huge gap. Research shows that students stay on campus, graduate, and persist if they see people who look like them.”
Powers says by 2014, university officials anticipate closing the minority gap even further.