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Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Higher education faculty once again selected for prestigious national awards

April 13, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three faculty members from the higher education and student affairs program in the Indiana University School of Education are receiving highest honors from national professional associations.

The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) has selected for its Contribution to Knowledge award Trudy W. Banta, professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and senior advisor to the chancellor for academic planning and evaluation at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Trudy Banta

Trudy Banta

Higher education colleague Victor M.H. Borden is being honored with the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) Outstanding Service Award. Borden is also senior advisor to the IU Vice President for University Regional Affairs, Planning, and Policy.

AIR has recognized the work of Gary R. Pike, associate professor of higher education and executive director of Information Management and Institutional Research at IUPUI, and his co-authors with the Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award.

In addition to their faculty roles, Banta, Borden, and Pike have all been principals in the division of Planning and Institutional Improvement at IUPUI. The division is an award-winning office of strategic planning and evaluation that helps the campus set goals and devise plans, continuously assess effectiveness, and identify pathways for program improvement.

The honors continue a tradition of outstanding achievement for the higher education program, recognized most recently as fifth nationally in U.S. News and World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" rankings. AIR has awarded its career achievement honor, the Sidney Suslow Award, to four IU higher education faculty members, more than to any other institution. Pike earned the honor last year, just seven years after Banta. Previously, AIR selected Professor Don Hossler and Chancellor's Professor Emeritus George Kuh for the Suslow Award.

One nominee notes Banta as a co-founder of the higher education assessment movement and one of its intellectual leaders. Responding to pressure on institutions to determine how well their students learn, Banta and a few other researchers began studying and designing assessment instruments in the 1980s. She founded the bimonthly periodical Assessment Update in 1989. She's served on teaching and learning advisory panels for the U.S. Department of Education and the National Academy of Science and consulted with faculty and administrators in 47 states and several other countries.

Banta received her award at the ACPA annual meeting in Baltimore on March 28. ACPA is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that works to advance the student affairs profession. The Contribution to Knowledge Award is to recognize overall contribution to the profession's body of knowledge.

AIR will present Borden and Pike with their awards at the organization's annual meeting next month in Toronto. Borden is an internationally recognized expert on issues of institutional research and accountability. He spent part of the fall semester in South Africa after the U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board selected him for a Fulbright Specialists project. Borden provided input and assistance for the University of KwaZulu Natal in its process of transforming into one institution two former research universities, a teacher education college, and a medical school.

He is a past president and vice president of AIR and has written more than 100 papers and book chapters while giving 190 presentations and workshops throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Banta calls Pike "among a half-dozen of the best statisticians working in higher education today." Following his selection for the Suslow Award from AIR last year, Pike and co-authors Michele Hansen, the director of assessment for University College at IUPUI, and higher education doctoral student Ching-Hui Lin have earned recognition for the paper "Using Instrumental Variables to Account for Selection Effects in Research on First-Year Programs." The paper examined college and university programs designed to boost success for new students, finding that because students choose whether they will participate, the kinds of students deciding to join these programs may have as much to do with success as the program offered.

The IU School of Education Higher Education and Student Affairs program (HESA) was formally organized in the 1950s, but its origins go back 70 years. HESA graduates are serving as faculty members, researchers, and administrative leaders who cultivate new insights and understandings in postsecondary institutions throughout the country. Faculty and professionals in the field have consistently ranked the program as one of the best among its peers nationwide.