(INDIANAPOLIS) — IUPUI says it’s weathered the pandemic better than it feared it would.
IUPUI enrollment declined for a sixth straight year, but those declines have been tiny.
Chancellor Nasser Paydar says this year’s drop was .5%, despite concerns the
coronavirus pandemic would prompt students to think better of coming to campus.
In his annual state-of-the-campus report to the community, Paydar says IUPUI reached out to
thousands of students by phone over the summer to discuss any concerns about pandemic
planning. And the school has shifted many classes online. Paydar says only about one in six
classes is being held in person. More than a third are taking place online, either live or recorded,
and another 18% are online/in-person hybrids. The remaining 29% of courses take
place off-campus, through approaches like clerkships, internships and independent study.
Paydar says he was particularly concerned the pandemic could affect minority enrollment, but
says the university instead added nearly 500 minority students this year. It’s the fifth straight year
minority representation has gone up. Paydar says the campus is pursuing more than two dozen
diversity initiatives, including a “Through Their Eyes” scholarship announced in October for
descendants of the predominantly African-American residents displaced when IU cleared the land
for the campus more than half a century ago.
Paydar says the university slashed spending 5% even before a state budget cut, in a
successful effort to avoid layoffs. The cuts also freed up money to purchase masks and sanitizer,
and implement comprehensive testing.
Paydar boasts the university has played a leading role in the response to the virus. IUPUI is in
charge of contact tracing in Marion County, and the School of Medicine converted two labs into
COVID testing labs. The Fairbanks School of Public Health has overseen what remains the only
statewide randomized COVID testing in the nation to track the virus’s spread. And the university
set aside one dorm to house health care workers who needed to quarantine after contact with
people infected with the virus.
1,960 IUPUI students and 458 faculty and staff have tested positive for the virus since July.
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