September 4, 2013
Given that IUPUI has the largest, best prepared, and most ethnically diverse group of full-time first-year students in our history, we want them to succeed and graduate. So we are paying close attention to factors that could put any of our 3,796 new beginners at risk of dropping out. One factor that is perilous for students in their first semester of college life, and even more so for minorities, is not feeling part of the academic community. Although we all have responsibility for creating a sense of academic community, the Division of Student Affairs has identified various ways it can play a part to ensure that new students feel at home. One of these is expanding Residential Based Learning Communities (RBLCs).
The idea behind Residential Based Learning Communities (RBLCs) is for students to live in a community where they share a common major, academic focus, professional interest or life experience. Today we have 14 RBLCs, including several in the new University Tower. Examples of RBLCs are Women in Science, Honors College, Kelley School of Business, Out-of-State Student Experience, Living Your Freshman Experience, First-Generation Experience, and Sophomore Year Experience, as well as the three newest ones based around academic linkages: physical education and tourism management, public and environmental affairs (justice and pre-law) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Having other students around who share interests can be a powerful factor in getting students acclimated to college life by promoting self-confidence and resilience to setbacks.
For students not living on campus, there are also increased opportunities for involvement with more than 350 student organizations, intramural team sports, community service programs, alternative spring break trips, and some 200 Division of Students Affairs employment positions, all of which contribute to persistence and settling into the IUPUI experience.
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