The Indiana University Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development, or CREED, addresses regional economic concerns and identifies ways that IU can use its resources to advance economic development efforts in the state. Each IU campus has a CREED representative, appointed by the campus’s chancellor or provost.
Uric Dufrene has represented IU Southeast on CREED since 2014. He is executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and the Sanders Chair in Business. He was kind enough to answer questions for Crimson Catalyst.
Crimson Catalyst: Why is community engagement important to IU Southeast?
Uric Dufrene: Community engagement is an integral part of the IU Southeast mission. As a regional public comprehensive, engaging with our community is part of what we do. Community engagement is also a key element of student engagement. Student success is perhaps the highest priority as a campus, and increasing levels of student engagement will support student persistence.
CC: Why is regional economic development important to IU Southeast?
UD: One of the challenges we face as a region is college attainment rates that fall under state and national averages. As a higher education institution, we must assume a leading role in increasing those attainment rates. We have strategies in place to accomplish that, and indeed our four-year graduation rate has more than doubled in the past five years.
CC: What vision or priorities does your chancellor have regarding regional engagement and economic development?
UD: One of Chancellor Ray Wallace’s major priorities is to increase the number of internships and position IU Southeast to increase employment opportunities of our graduates, another important piece of student success, and also play a major role in the talent development of the region. He has advocated for the importance of the region to embrace baccalaureate attainment, and the critical role in economic development.
CC: How has the region benefited from IU Southeast’s involvement and leadership?
UD: IU Southeast leaders serve on a variety of boards in the community. Students provide thousands of hours in community service, and IU Southeast offices such as the Applied Research and Education Center provide important research to organizations in the community.
CC: What potential opportunities exist for IU Southeast and the region?
UD: For both the campus and the region, opportunities exist for continued progress on increasing attainment rates.