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December 6, 2013

Lilly grants $5M to 3 Vigo colleges

ISU, Rose-Hulman, SMWC benefit with other Hoosier schools

TERRE HAUTE — Three Terre Haute colleges will benefit from a combined $5 million in Lilly Endowment grants intended to help students find “meaningful” employment after graduation.

The Indiana State University Foundation has been awarded $3 million, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College $1 million and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology $1 million.

Statewide, the Ivy Tech Foundation received nearly $4.9 million.

Lilly’s goal is to provide grants to colleges and universities to pursue activities that improve the job prospects of college graduates in the state.

ISU intends to use its five-year, $3 million grant to build job-readiness skills into its curriculum and expand its Career Center.

Faculty and staff will introduce employment awareness early on through the Foundational Studies program, Freshman Transition course and Sycamore Career Ready Certificate activities.

The gift will also fund expanded internship opportunities and support new employer relations staff who will work with targeted growth and high-need industries.

“We want Indiana State to be at the forefront of innovation for connecting our graduates to meaningful employment in Indiana,” said university President Dan Bradley.

Nancy Rogers, ISU associate vice president for community engagement, said the funds will be used in part to build relationships with Indiana employers. “We will be much more aggressive about our employer outreach,” she said.

ISU also will focus on career development activities with students. “We will be much more aggressive about preparing them with both job search and employability or soft skills they need to be successful,” Rogers said.

One example would be a focus on soft skills in foundational studies classes, said Darby Scism, executive director ISU’s Career Center. Students will learn how to communicate their skills and abilities in an interview; they’ll learn professional writing skills such as how to write a business memorandum; and they’ll learn how to do research on companies and career paths.

Because of the grant, ISU will be able to hire three new staff members to do employer outreach.

More than 85 percent of ISU undergraduate students are from Indiana and more than two-thirds of those students stay in the state upon graduation.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College plans to use its grant to build on some of its existing programs and to develop a new baccalaureate of science in nursing (BSN) program that will help meet critical needs for nurses, healthcare professionals and leaders in the healthcare industry in the state.

Grant funds will support startup costs for curriculum development, faculty, science labs and the development of an RN-to-BSN completion program.

SMWC is collaborating with regional health care and health education partners to create a new model for nursing programs at small colleges, according to a news release.

 Partners include Ivy Tech Community College, Providence Health Care, Rural Health Innovation Collaborative (RHIC), St. Vincent Hospital of Clay County, Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Hospital Health Group.

The college is grateful for the endowment’s support, said college president Dottie King, which “provides these opportunities to look outside what we do  day-to-day and to do something new and creative.”

The college will begin offering its RN-to-BSN completion program online starting in January, she said. It is for registered nurses who have an associate’s degree and want to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

SMWC hopes to offer its bachelor’s degree in nursing starting in fall 2015.

While both ISU and Ivy Tech offer nursing programs, King said SMWC has consulted with local hospitals and was assured, “even with those two programs, there is still a need for a nursing program” and more nurses to meet demand.

Because of the grant, The Woods will renovate labs, which will create construction jobs, and add two full-time faculty and other adjunct faculty, King said.

Specifically, SMWC’s program model will:

n Capitalize on existing facilities offered through community partners to implement the program.

n Use the RHIC simulation center and on-site classrooms within the health care facility of the Sisters of Providence, adjacent to the college campus

n Develop articulation agreements with Ivy Tech and other community colleges to offer the BSN program to graduates of two-year nursing programs. The two-year completion program will use on-site and online delivery, in which SMWC has extensive experience.

The grant also will allow The Woods to build on its other health-related programs —  art therapy, music therapy and equine-assisted therapy programs. The programs provide avenues for communication to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.

Rose-Hulman, which also will benefit from a $1 million grant, plans to use those funds in ways that will inspire more Rose-Hulman graduates to become entrepreneurs, creating innovative, high-tech companies in the Hoosier state and long-term employment prospects for Rose-Hulman students and for students from other Indiana universities.

Specifically, funds will be used to establish the Engineering Student Community Actively Learning Advanced Technical Entrepreneurship (ESCALATE) program.

ESCALATE will create an innovative, entrepreneurial living-and-learning community and program designed to build on an existing internship program by adding classroom components, extracurricular activities and collaborations with entrepreneurs around the state.

 In the short term, ESCALATE will result in more Rose-Hulman students finding meaningful employment in Indiana immediately upon graduation, according to the RHIT proposal to Lilly.

 As far as the $4.87 million to the Ivy Tech Foundation, “This is a statewide grant and we will be releasing details later this month on how the college plans to utilize those funds,” said Kelly Hauflaire, Ivy Tech associate vice president of marketing and communications.  

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or

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