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Column: IUPUC always striving to improve

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Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus has enjoyed a range of coverage in The Republic in recent years. This important coverage has included stories on academic programs, student projects, faculty accomplishments and service in the community.

Just like students who spend four or more years to earn a degree that prepares them to successfully pursue their chosen careers, however, our university also must prepare for future challenges and even greater achievement.

Recently, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education challenged public universities and community colleges to improve their efforts to attract, retain and graduate students who have completed their degree programs.

Notwithstanding IUPUC’s growth in programs that now number nine bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, I am reminded that we can and need to do more — and do it better — to help students attain their educational goals and complete a degree that will prepare them for future success.

Two recent articles in The Republic offer good examples of how IUPUC can do a better job of raising our visibility and profile in south-central Indiana. In one article about a speech by Tom Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College, IUPUC was mentioned as a college where students can attend “for a year or two” and then “transfer to a traditional college.”

In reality, more than 1,700 students already consider IUPUC to be a “traditional” institution (i.e., a university and not a college) that delivers the experience they seek.

And as we move forward in our efforts to establish student housing, IUPUC will be able to attract even more undergraduate and graduate students who consider the availability of student housing part of how they define a traditional campus. We are excited about what the future holds for this important IUPUC initiative and are grateful to the Columbus community for their support.

Another recent story announced a generous, strategic gift to IUPUC from Schneck Memorial Hospital that will be used to support Division of Nursing faculty at IUPUC in their postdoctoral research. We are proud to be part of the Indiana University School of Nursing’s core campuses in Indianapolis and Bloomington because it is clear that this region will continue to demand more nurses with bachelor’s degrees for years to come.

The funding provided by Schneck will improve the quality of nursing education in Columbus and support IUPUC’s ability to educate even more future nurses — RNs who are prepared to meet workforce needs in local and regional hospitals and health care facilities and provide quality patient care.

After four years as a Columbus resident, I am proud to encourage my friends and family to visit me and get to know this wonderful city and region. I am also proud of IUPUC’s many accomplishments and look forward to even more positive contributions in the future.

We commend the call for Indiana’s higher education institutions to meet more robust, rigorous standards. I intend to ensure IUPUC is well-positioned to make a solid contribution to this effort. We thank The Republic for its attentive coverage of important issues in higher education.

Marwan A. Wafa is the vice chancellor and dean of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.

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