Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
December 11, 1998

Workshop instills high expectations

by Anne Dolan

After 6 1/2 hours of discussion, participants at a workshop on enhancing the success of ISU minority students insisted on more -- more discussion and more commitment, but mostly more action.

About 160 faculty and staff participated in the Dec. 8 workshop, sponsored by the Provost Office and Howard Shapiro, vice provost for undergraduate programs.

"From the point of energy, thinking and ideas, the day was a smashing success," Shapiro said. "But we also know we have to follow up -- and we intend to.

"Expectations are very high now and the proof of good intentions will be in what happens next."

Shapiro said the next steps reside now with the President's Cabinet and then, with him and vice president for student affairs Tom Hill. He noted that student success programs have to involve a partnership between academic and student affairs programs.

The final assignment of the workshop was to identify things Iowa State should do as an institution to move forward. Suggestions (among dozens) included changing the emphasis from numbers to people and learning, making diversity a requirement in every job description and evaluation, changing budget and reward systems for faculty and staff, asking first what students want, centralizing support services and planning, recognizing barriers to success at ISU, continually assessing what's being tried and committing adequate funding.

In his morning address to workshop participants, President Martin Jischke said that one reason diversity presents such a challenge to the state of Iowa and to Iowa State is that it requires significant change.

"It's said that insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results," Jischke said. "Let's own up to this reality and agree to try some new things -- things that work.

"Our measures of success shall be student success -- increased retention and graduation rates, from which increased enrollment will follow. And I'm prepared to reallocate to support efforts that you believe will produce results and move us closer -- and more quickly -- toward our goals."

Shapiro said a follow-up session to the workshop already has been scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 8, 1999.

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