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The role of institutional citizen

By David Fulton, Chancellor, IU East


While fulfilling its primary educational mission of inviting students to its classrooms, Indiana University East—as a modern regional campus—also serves its community in a number of ways. This service is a partnership and an interaction, rather than the traditional volunteerism. IU East increasingly sees its role as institutional citizen, existing in a community with diverse needs and interests, and interacting for mutual benefit with the community’s groups and individuals.

An example of this service is the recently announced CAPE (Community Action to Promote Education) grant in Fayette County. The community requested and was selected to receive a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund an arts and science center to promote an appreciation for educational achievement. At a fall meeting of the IU East Connersville Advisory Board, I reminded the membership of President Brand’s commitment of the university’s service to the state that he expressed in his University-in-the-State speech last September. One of the university’s primary obligations, President Brand emphasized, is “to contribute to the state’s economic prosperity and enhance the quality of life for its citizens.” At the end of the meeting, two of the board members who were active in preparing the Lilly grant approached me with their request, citing Myles’ commitment! How could we say no in those circumstances? And why would we want to?

This kind of service, and the willingness of the university to give its support to it, is nothing new. IU East has a long tradition of involvement with and assistance to the community through grants and other sources. In 2000-2001, IU East generated $3,956,644 in grants and contracts from external sources. According to the Indiana University Fact Book, that total is third among all IU campuses; that is, our grant total is behind only the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.

Our partnership with the community takes the form of a wide array of activities and includes services to the elderly and home-bound disabled (Area 9 In-Home and Community Services), youth (Twenty-First Century Scholars and the Educational Awareness Program), teachers (Economic Education Center) and—through WCTV and the Conflict Resolution Center—a larger segment of the local population. The Area-9 Agency has been an IU East project since 1975. While primarily a social service, the relationship benefits the campus in multiple ways, such as field placement and internship opportunities for social work students, research opportunities for faculty, instructional roles for agency professionals, and many opportunities for classroom projects. The Educational Awareness Program is an academic-enrichment program administered by the IU East Office of Multicultural Affairs. Its highlight is a two-week summer program on campus, now in its twelfth year, in which under-represented students (6-12) receive instruction from middle and high school teachers, as well as IU East faculty and staff. The Twenty-First Century Scholars Program assists middle and high school students to attend institutions of higher learning by reducing the financial burden of education for them and their families. IU East is a sponsor of the program for east-central Indiana and manages its grant. The IU East Center for Economic Education is dedicated to improving economic literacy in the region through a number of activities (workshops, seminars, dissemination of materials, etc.). One of its main programs is the education and in-service training for teachers, K-12, to improve student learning.

 Among service projects or institutions not based on grants is the local public-access channel WCTV, which is sponsored by the city of Richmond and located on the IU East campus. WCTV has an important communal role and serves both public and educational interests. Its future professional-quality productions on campus, curriculum broadcasts and richer programming will strengthen this linkage between campus and community. Another useful community-service institution is the Conflict Resolution Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the community and also located on the IU East campus in the Center for Health Promotion.

These examples illustrate the public-service mission of IU East and its meaningful place in the life of the community beyond its traditional educational mission. The university’s roles as educator and as citizen are increasingly coming together on our campus; our latter role as public citizen means that we are fully engaged in a two-way process that enriches both the campus and the community.

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Publication date: February 1, 2002
Copyright 2000, The Trustees of Indiana University