Next month, Indiana University’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs will sponsor the Indiana University Education Conference. The conference will be held as a part of the 47th annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration, which runs July 10–16 in downtown Indianapolis.
The conference, to be held on Thursday, July 13, at the Indiana Convention Center, will focus on issues such as college access and retention and feature workshops presented by IU faculty. Michael Eric Dyson, well-known speaker, political analyst and bestselling author of Holler if You Hear Me, The Black Presidency and many other titles, will serve as the keynote speaker.
Current statistics show that an increasing number of Black and Hispanic students are enrolling in college. However, there remains a gap in graduation rates between them and their white counterparts. Data released last spring by The Education Trust revealed that of the four-year universities analyzed, more than half (53 percent) saw the graduation discrepancy between Black students and white students either stay the same or grow over a 10-year span (2003-2013). For instance, in 2013, the number of Black students who completed their degree was 40.3 percent compared to 60.7 percent for white students.
Experts believe much of the chasm can be attributed to a lack of targeted outreach and support from faculty and staff, as well as issues with finances. These issues are especially prominent among first-generation college attendees.
“Given IU’s long affiliation with the Indiana Black Expo, I’m ecstatic that we can strengthen our relationship by offering a new and vital element to the celebration that can benefit educators, the community and, most significantly, students,” James Wimbush, IU’s vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, said in a written statement. “Supplementing this storied event with best practices in higher education illustrates the university’s commitment to success for students of all backgrounds.”
“Indiana University’s sponsorship of the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration Education Conference shows how dedicated IU is to serving the community,” said Tanya Bell, Indiana Black Expo president and CEO, in a media release. “I’m extremely pleased about this collaboration, especially with the addition of a higher education track that highlights important issues for underrepresented minority students and provides strategies to address them.”
Alexander McCormick, director of the National Survey for Student Engagement and IU Bloomington associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies, and Pamella Shaw, IU School of Dentistry associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion will also be among the day’s presenters.
McCormick’s workshop, “Advancing Student Learning and Success in College: What the Evidence Shows,” will use comprehensive survey data to discuss engagement, retention, learning and success for traditionally underrepresented students in higher education. Shaw’s presentation, “High-Impact Practices for Access and Success,” will focus on preparing students for the transition from high school to college, undergraduate success, career selection and preparation for graduate education.
Other presenters include the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Strata Education Network.
Prospective students who are Indiana residents can visit the IU booth on Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16, in the Exhibit Halls of the Convention Center, to maintain their eligibility and complete requirements for Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program. Students can learn more about the 21st Century Scholars programs available on each of IU’s campuses, and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education will provide additional information to students and families about Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program.