Goal 1: Promoting Academic Excellence

Ball State has long put students first. Building on the 2007-08 academic year, we continue to promote academic excellence by increasing the number of immersive learning experiences and offering market-responsive and nationally recognized programs, preparing our students for success in the workplace.

Here are some examples that highlight our progress on the objectives for Goal 1 from the strategic plan.

More Students Take Part in Immersive Learning Photo 1A Jerry
As the cornerstone of a Ball State education, immersive learning prepares our students for an interdisciplinary and interconnected world. Currently, more than three-quarters of our academic departments offer immersive learning experiences to students, and more than 2,600 students took part in these opportunities in the 2007-08 academic year, up from 1,680 in 2006-07.

In a recent immersive learning project, a group of students worked on the crew of a professionally produced film sponsored by the university. In a seminar at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry, other students researched DNA testing and victim advocacy in sexual assault cases. One immersive project earned kudos from Computerworld magazine for its originality and innovation.  

Goal 1, Objective B: Provide each undergraduate with the opportunity to participate in an immersive learning experience. 

International Problem Solving
All immersive learning experiences take students out of the classroom, and some take them around the world. Recently, students traveled to St. Lucia to teach teachers and students peer mediation and conflict resolution skills. In summer 2009, still other students will partner with engineers at a top toy company in China to create efficiencies in product design, injection molding, and packaging while earning Six Sigma certification. In the 2007-08 academic year, 790 students took part in study abroad experiences, an increase of nearly 20 percent from the previous year. 

Goal 1, Objective C: By 2012, more than 1,000 students will participate annually in high-quality professional international experiences.

Enrolling High-Achieving Students
The number of incoming freshmen who hold Academic Honors Diplomas continues to rise. More than 55 percent of the 2008 incoming freshman class earned this distinction, up from 50.9 percent in 2007 and 46.8 percent in 2006. While we may have work to do to achieve the goal of 80 percent by 2012, our progress is impressive, considering that fewer than one-third of Indiana’s high school graduates complete the Academic Honors Diploma. SAT scores also are on the rise. The average for the 2008 freshman class is 1,566, up five points from 2007 and 27 points from 2006.

Goal 1, Objective A: By 2012, achieve 80 percent of total incoming freshman class holding Academic Honors Diplomas or equivalent.

Better-Prepared Doctoral Students

Our undergraduate students aren’t the only ones well-prepared for their studies. The average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores of the doctoral students also increased and is on target with our goal of 530 verbal and 570 quantitative.
Goal 1, Objective A: By 2012, for all admitted doctoral applicants, increase the average verbal GRE scores to 530 (68th percentile) and increase the average quantitative GRE scores to 570 (40th percentile).

Student Retention Improves Again
Student retention increased again in fall 2008. More than 78 percent of first-year students returned for their sophomore year, close to our goal of 80 percent by 2012.

Goal 1, Objective A: By 2012, achieve 80 percent first-year retention rate.

Graduation Rate on the Rise
Graduate rates are also improving. This year, the percentage of students who completed their undergraduate degrees within six years is 61.8, up from 57.8 percent in 2007.

Goal 1, Objective A: By 2012, achieve 60 percent six-year graduation rate and 65 percent by 2015.

Programs Earn National Rankings
Photo 1B Music
On the way to our goal of having 25 ranked or recognized programs by 2012, several programs gained new recognitions in 2007-08. So far, 19 Ball State programs have earned national acclaim, including: 

  • The School of Music was named by In Tune magazine in its “Best Music Schools” 2009 listing, along with other elite institutions such as Juilliard, Oberlin, and the Boston Conservatory.
  • Our graduate programs in education, ranked 90th nationally among 242 schools by U.S. News & World Report

Goal 1, Objective D: By 2012, have 25 nationally ranked or nationally recognized programs.

Entrepreneurship Minor Enables Students to Pursue Dreams
Architecture, telecommunications, fashion design, and other students who dream of owning their own businesses can now enroll in an entrepreneurship minor that will teach them basic business principles. Open only to non-business majors, the minor teaches students how to develop a business plan and implement their own business ideas. In the first year, 18 students are enrolled in the program.

Goal 1, Objective D: By 2012, offer an entrepreneurship minor open to all students.