Sep. 23—Starting Jan. 1, all Indiana State University students and employees will be expected to either show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly for COVID-19, university president Deborah Curtis announced during her Fall Address to campus this afternoon.
The university is working with a vendor to provide COVID testing, and more details will be available later in the semester.
Earlier this month, ISU announced that it was implementing new COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirements for some learning and community engagement activities that have a greater risk of transmission. Starting Oct. 1, individuals participating in those activities will be required to provide either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
During her fall address delivered at Hulman Center, Curtis highlighted ISU's recent fundraising success along with the university's No. 1 statewide ranking in social mobility and its continued high placement rate, according to a news release.
The theme of the address was "The Indiana State Advantage." Curtis asked the audience to amplify how that transforms the lives of students.
"I ask that you not only recognize it, but that you repeat it wherever you are able to share our exceptional Indiana State story," Curtis said.
"We need to push out the great message that Indiana State University is the university with an unparalleled focus on student success. We create a university home for those pursuing life-changing opportunities that result in career and life achievement unlike any other institution."
The Fall Address was moved to the Hulman Center to showcase the arena's $50 million renovation and provide for social distancing. Curtis also mentioned the $18.4 million renovation of Dreiser Hall, which will be ready for the spring 2022 semester.
Curtis outlined ISU's success in recent college rankings — placing in the top third in Washington Monthly's National University Rankings and behind only Purdue University and Indiana University among the state's public schools.
For the third straight year, ISU was first in the state in CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index, and ranked in the top 11 percent nationally.
"This is our mission, and this is what we are passionate about," Curtis said. "It's the definition of the American Dream. At Indiana State, we transform lives through the impact of an ISU degree. We take great pride in this acknowledgement of the genuine difference our University is making."
Curtis noted that ISU had its third straight record-breaking year for fundraising.
"Let's stop and take stock of what this means," she said. "Indiana State University is hearing from our donors that they believe in what we do, who we serve, and the impact this university has on our graduates' lives."
The address was the official start of the Focusing on Our Future Together Strategic Plan for 2021-25. Curtis discussed examples of the initiatives underway to achieve each of the plan's five goals.
Among the many efforts to advance the goal of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence, there are programs in culturally relevant pedagogy; the launch of a campus-wide online training module on diversity, equity, and inclusion; and Flags of Inclusiveness in the Commons in the Hulman Memorial Union representing the diverse student body.
"Indiana State has had a long tradition of creating a campus that represents the rich tapestry of our greater American society," Curtis said.
The goal of expanding access to higher education and student success will be greatly helped by Lilly Endowment's $6.3 million grant for a program to close the completion gap for underrepresented and at-risk student groups. Another initiative, the Indiana State Advantage recruitment campaign, is a set of three guarantees that are unusual if not unique for a public institution.
Curtis talked about the enrollment challenges faced by ISU and other institutions, saying, "We have work to do. We have such an outstanding and distinctive educational experience to promote here at ISU, and we ask for your involvement in advancing this message."
The final goal of building institutional reputation and pride includes the current Indiana State Advantage advertising campaign, outreach to news media beyond the Wabash Valley, and increasing attendance at intercollegiate sports events.
"We need to aggressively remind people beyond campus that if they think they know Indiana State University, they need to take a fresh look," Curtis said.
The address ended with an inspiring video of ISU sophomore Noah Malone, who won one gold and two silver medals at the Tokyo Paralympics. Malone, who lost all but some peripheral vision at age 12, is a sprinter for the Sycamores in NCAA competition.