Vision 2020 is a small grants program that focuses campus attention, creativity, and resources on increasing student success. This program serves as an incubator that will provide resources, information, and encouragement to project teams who have good ideas for increasing student learning, engagement, and other predictors of student persistence, retention, and timely graduation. Projects are funded for a pilot year and for up to two years of implementation. After that point, successful projects will seek internal funding as a line in the base budget, or external funding. These successful projects will have several years of outcome data, which should help them make a strong case for funding as a line in the base budget, or external funding. Vision 2020 grants will also increase the use of assessment data in making programming decisions and increase collaboration across campus.
The fundamental requirement is that Vision 2020 projects are likely to improve student success and that they will include an effective assessment program. Beyond that, projects may be large or small in scope, targeting a large group of students (e.g. all freshmen) or a smaller group (e.g. parents, or minority students). Projects could directly target student retention (e.g. calls to students who have not enrolled for the next semester) or could target a variable that is known to lead to retention (e.g. learning communities or active learning strategies).
The Vision 2020 grants program will support projects that promise to impact such aspects of student success as persistence, retention and/or timely graduation. The literature on student success provides evidence about the effectiveness of a number of strategies, such as high impact practices (Kuh, 2008). For example, projects might use more immediate measures of indicators of engagement and learning, such as grades, attendance, and participation in campus activities.
Increased attention to assessment for both academic and non-academic units is a second intended impact. Successful proposals will only be eligible for additional funding if they have included measurable outcomes and if the outcome data is then used to improve the program.
A third impact will be the unification of the IUSB community around a common goal of collaborating to improve student success. This type of work is already encouraged through our general education program, several interdisciplinary programs, and our centers in areas such as political activism, civil rights, global education, economic education, and sustainability. The Vision 2020 program will encourage more collaboration across units and positions (faculty, staff, students).