VU expands its commitment to affordable college for all - External Relations
VU expands its commitment to affordable college for all
October 8, 2021
VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University extends its pledge to ensure a college education is within reach and is further expanding its support of students and families affected by the pandemic and other current challenges. VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson announced the University is offering additional scholarships to students during a meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday, Oct. 4.
VU is continuing its Residential Opportunity Scholarships for Vincennes Campus students to help make a VU education even more accessible for students and families. Newly admitted students in 2022-23 will receive up to $2,500 per year, for a total of up to $5,000.
Last spring, VU reduced the cost of attendance for a student living on campus by as much as 28 percent through the Residential Opportunity Scholarships, renewable up to two years, to incoming students and returning students in good standing. VU remains the lowest-priced residential college in Indiana, and it has the state’s second-lowest tuition rates.
Another highlight of the meeting at Green Activities Center came when new Student Trustee Dustan Jones was sworn in. Jones is a pre-veterinary major from Mount Carmel, Illinois. He is incredibly active on campus, serving as the Campus Activities Board president and a student ambassador for Admissions. He is also a tutor.
The Board celebrated Vice President of Financial Services and Chief Financial Officer Linda Waldroup for her 45 years of service to VU. She began as a customer services representative in the Bursar’s office in 1976 and worked her way up the ranks in Financial Services. The Board presented Waldroup with a resolution of appreciation. She will retire from the University on Oct. 22.
Members of the Board also heard updates about VU’s efforts to boost graduation and retention rates from Assistant Provost of Curriculum and Instruction Rick Kribs. Among the trends he highlighted were improvements in minority success, completion, and retention based on data between 2016 and 2019.
Earlier this year, VU increased fall-to-spring student retention to 82 percent in 2019, showing the University is closing in on its goal of 83 percent retention. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education released its annual completion report earlier this year and VU’s on-time graduation rate, persistence rates, and total graduation rates all increased year over year. VU was among the state institutions with the greatest one-year improvements in on-time graduation rates in 2020, despite challenges due to the global pandemic. VU’s on-time completion rate improved to 33 percent, which is substantially above the national average for community colleges.
"The University is committing significant human and financial capital to retention efforts," Kribs said. "We have a large interdepartmental representation on the Retention Committee, and there are well over 100 employees dedicated to retention efforts at the University. From a financial standpoint, we have significant investments in learning support services labs and tutoring labs, we have grant funding through TRIO programs, we have the Student Success Center, and all the various programs that have spawned from that, producing well over $1 million of investment into these efforts."
A marketing and communications report developed by Senior Director of External Relations Sarah Fortune highlighted VU’s efforts to strengthen its visual identity and enhance its brand image. The Board also heard an update on ongoing marketing research and the University’s focus on reaching prospective students, corporate partners, key influencers, and stakeholders through strategic methods.
In other Board business,
Trustee John Stachura was voted to continue as Chairman of the Board for another year.
Johnson provided an update on the delivery of collaborative robots or cobots, which the University is deploying at locations throughout the state. Cobots are installed in labs at VU’s Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon and the Center of Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing on the VU Jasper Campus. Johnson also shared that two Design and Innovation studios have been implemented in Dubois County in partnership with Purdue’s Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) through funding from a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant.
A report on capital projects was presented by Director of Architectural Services and Facilities Andrew Young. Young shared Phase 2 of the French Quarter Apartments, which offers independent living and features 89 bedrooms, is complete. Another completed project is a brand new state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing lab at VU’s Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis. Among ongoing projects include renovations to the Administration Building at VU Jasper and the Technology Center on the Vincennes campus, including a newly designed Product Design space and the addition of the Center for Applied Robotics and Automation.
At the August meeting, the Board authorized the University administration to work out terms granting a drainage easement for a new apartment project planned for a location adjacent to the VU Jasper Campus. Johnson provided an update that University officials met with the developer and worked on an arrangement that will reduce the footprint of easement and allow more flexibility and protection for VU moving forward.
Johnson and the Board congratulated Trustee Reggie Henderson on his recent promotion to President of Telamon Energy Solutions based in Carmel, Indiana. He previously served as Vice President and General Manager.
It was announced Johnson is the new president of the Council on Accreditation for Two Year Colleges (CATYC). The CATYC is a 19-state organization with around 450 community college members focused on two-year education and accreditation standards, practices, and policies.