April 21, 2023

Indiana Higher Education Purple Star Designation legislation becomes law

At the conclusion of the 2022 session of the Indiana General Assembly, John Summerlot, former university military and veteran services coordinator at Indiana University, reached out to IU’s State Relations team to share an idea after speaking with colleagues in neighboring Ohio. That year, the state of Ohio chose to expand its Purple Star Schools program for K-12 schoolsto higher education institutions. The program recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military.

Knowing that Indiana also had a K-12 Purple Star School program operated by the Indiana Department of Education, Summerlot made the case for why expanding the Purple Star program to Indiana colleges and universities would strengthen campus-led efforts to serve and support active-duty service members, veterans and military-connected students (such as spouses and dependents). IU State Relations forwarded the concept to the staff at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The ICHE and the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs liked the concept so much they proposed legislation—via an agency bill—to create an Indiana higher education version of the program during the 2023 legislative session. 

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 384-2023, authored by Sen. Jack Sandlin, R-Indianapolis, requires the ICHE and IDVA to develop and implement the higher education purple star designation to (1) recognize postsecondary educational institutions that are supportive and inclusive of veterans and military-connected families; and (2) provide veterans and military-connected families with enhanced support for pursuing and finishing a degree or postsecondary credential. During testimony presented before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Military and House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Public Safety, IU testified on behalf of itself and six other educational institutions, affirming support for the bill and collective efforts to help military and veteran students pursue higher education knowing that their school of choice will provide them with the support and resources they need to be successful during their time on campus. 

IU’s connections to the United States military date back to the school’s founding in 1820. Many of IU’s first students, faculty members and trustees had military ties, including some who served in the War of 1812. IU’s proud tradition of military involvement has remained strong over the past 200 years, and, today, all seven IU campuses have a veterans’ support office. Last fall, 2,868 military-connected students were enrolled university-wide, making up slightly over 3% of the entire IU student population.

Savanna Hebert-Annis, university military and veteran services coordinator, is currently serving on ICHE’s Veterans’ Education Pathways Taskforce. While the goal of the taskforce is to increase by 5,000 the number of veterans and military-affiliated individuals pursuing an undergraduate credential at an Indiana postsecondary institution by the 2025-26 academic year, their work will inform the Indiana Higher Education Purple Star Designation program requirements and application.

“The work of ICHE Veterans’ Education Pathways Taskforce is fundamental to recommending the criteria and requirements for Indiana’s Higher Education Purple Star Designation Program,” Hebert-Annis said. “The taskforce is comprised of various stakeholders across Indiana, each bringing forth a unique personal and professional lens in how we, as an education institution and as a collective community and state, can better serve our veteran and military-affiliated individuals as they pursue their postsecondary education.

“Currently, the taskforce is focused on three essential areas: student supports, transferability of military credits and communication/navigation toolkit. With Indiana’s Higher Education Purple Star Designation Program, this will set forth specific and rigorous criteria, which clearly establishes not only our commitment to our veteran and military-affiliated individuals, but taking additional steps in ensuring transparency and accountability in an active role by demonstrating how we support with excellence. As the criteria for the Indiana’s Higher Education Purple Star Designation Program is finalized, I am certainly eager and excited to take the next steps in working with each of our IU campuses to earn the Purple Star Higher Education Designation.”

SEA 384-2023 passed both chambers with unanimous bipartisan support (the House voted 96-0, and the Senate 48-0). Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law yesterday, April 20, and it is effective immediately. By May 1, 2024, ICHE and IDVA must jointly: (1) determine the criteria for awarding the designation to a state educational institution, an approved postsecondary educational institution or other postsecondary educational institution; (2) determine the length of time that a designation awarded under this chapter is valid; and (3) prescribe the form and way in which a postsecondary educational institution may apply to be awarded the designation. 

Read more about IU’s involvement with the military 


Statehouse Update

The 15th week of session marked the third reading deadlines for Senate bills in the House and for House bills in the Senate. We are now seeing a flurry of activity as both chambers work to finalize language in remaining bills through the conference committee process. If all goes to plan, the legislative session could end as early as next Thursday. By statute, the session must be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.

Read the Statehouse Update


Federal Update

This past Tuesday, April 18, IU President Pamela Whitten, along with IU Vice President for University Relations Michael Huber and Doug Wasitis, IU associate vice president for federal relations, took part in a series of meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Indiana's congressional delegation.

Read the Federal Update


Economic Engagement Update

Enhancing the regional impact of the CHIPS and Science Act

Last summer, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, providing nearly $280 billion in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors. IU was one of the first universities to support the legislation, which represents a major initiative to build a more resilient innovation and manufacturing ecosystem and occurs against the backdrop of a growing competition between the United States and China. 

On May 3, IU’s Public Policy Institute will partner with the Center for Strategic and International Studies to present a national one-day workshop on “Enhancing the Regional Impact of the CHIPS and Science Act.” The event will bring together key policymakers, senior industry leaders, agency leaders and policy experts for a series of panels discussing how the U.S. can maximize and sustain the regional economic impact of the CHIPS Act.  

The workshop will be held in person at the headquarters of CSIS in Washington, D.C., and will be live streamed to remote participants. Indiana Sen. Todd Young, who served as the lead Republican sponsor of CHIPS legislation and was instrumental in the act securing strong bipartisan support, will deliver the keynote address at the conference.  

The IU Public Policy Institute, part of the top-ranked O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, produces thoughtful, policy-related research, analysis and guidance to help Indiana leaders address major challenges, improve decision making and lead to stronger communities and better lives for Hoosiers.  

As previously featured in this newsletter, IU continues to prioritize programs and activities that align with the goals of the CHIPS Act and Indiana’s workforce development needs. Last month, IU announced it will create three new degree programs and expand its research efforts in the areas of microelectronics, semiconductors and nanofabrication to advance growth in these vital sectors and address the state’s need for skilled employees focused on expanding the capabilities of these technologies.  

Learn more about and register for the national event 

Learn more about IU’s Public Policy Institute 

Learn more about IU’s new degree programs in nanotechnology and microelectronics 


Accelerating faculty, student entrepreneurship: IU Innovates

A new IU initiative, unveiled earlier this week, will create an integrated, university-wide infrastructure to support students and faculty in the creation and growth of startup ventures. Based on IU’s Bloomington campus, but serving faculty and students across the university, IU Innovates will launch in fall 2023 and serve as the focal point for university support to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation.  

“From our world-renowned academic programs in entrepreneurship to the incredible successes of our alumni, innovation is at the core of Indiana University,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “Through this initiative, we will help our students and faculty to be even more prolific in turning their ideas and research into drivers of progress and economic development across our state, nation and world. 

“The IU Innovates initiative also reflects the three pillars of our IU 2030 strategic plan by unifying support for student success in entrepreneurship, strengthening the linkages between our research enterprise and industry, and pursuing business ideas that will spur economic growth and contribute to Indiana’s startup community.” 

Initial IU Innovates programming will feature ongoing student and faculty events in addition to seminars and workshops on entrepreneurship. The initiative will leverage existing IU pitch competitions and establish a guided program to support groups of faculty and students through the incubation of new business ideas. It will also complement the state’s existing entrepreneurship assets, like the Mill in Bloomington, 16Tech in Indianapolis and various existing programs at IU. 

Read more about 'Accelerating faculty, student entrepreneurship: IU Innovates' 


A strategy to strengthen the state’s economy

In a recent televised interview with Inside INdiana Business, IU President Pamela Whitten talked about IU’s newly unveiled seven-year strategic plan, IU 2030, the transformation of IUPUI to IU Indianapolis, and how these major new developments will serve as a cornerstone of IU’s efforts to advance the Hoosier economy.

Watch the interview


IU in the news

IU names new vice president for research

A leader with extensive experience driving discovery and innovation within higher education and industry will oversee research for IU. Russell J. Mumper will assume the role of vice president for research, effective July 1.

Read more about 'IU names new vice president for research' 

Providing a “front door” to data

The newly created IU Research Data Commons will build on IU’s world-class strengths in centralized cyberinfrastructure and other areas to present researchers with more integrated pathways to existing and new resources; to enable richer training opportunities for students and to empower IU to better serve local organizations, the state and other partners.

Read more about 'Providing a “front door” to data'

Trailblazing victors of first women’s Little 500 return as grand marshals 35 years later

On April 22, 1988, female cyclists gathered around the cinder track at IU’s Bill Armstrong Stadium to compete for the first time in a Little 500 race of their own. Thirty-five years later, the riders and coaches of Willkie Sprint, the race’s first triumphant winners, return to Bloomington as honored grand marshals for both the men’s and women’s competitions on April 21 and 22.

Read more about 'Trailblazing victors of first women’s Little 500 return as grand marshals 35 years later'