As I close my fourth academic year in Indianapolis, I could not be more thrilled about the future of SPEA at IUPUI. For the third consecutive year we conferred a record number of degrees. This fall we are expecting our largest incoming freshman class.
I am proud that we are among the campus leaders when it comes to student body diversity. Nearly 20 percent of SPEA students enrolled last fall identified as African American or Hispanic/Latino. For IUPUI as a whole, that number is 15 percent. We recently made two key hiring decisions that will not only help us continue to recruit a diverse student population, but will also help secure their success once on campus.
In May, Marshawn Wolley joined our staff as Director of Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives, and Tamra Wright began her position as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Marshawn has a rich history with IU, having earned three degrees from the school, including an MPA (2006) at SPEA Bloomington. Marshawn has held a variety of positions in our community, including with the mayor’s office, the Super Bowl host committee, and Visit Indy. He also has deep ties with influential business and community leaders. His work with groups like 100 Black Men of Indianapolis and the Greater Indianapolis NAACP will have tremendous impact on our community partnerships and recruitment efforts in the African American community.
Tamra comes to us from the Simon Youth Foundation where she was responsible for 26 Foundation Academy Programs in 13 states. Her educational background aligns well with SPEA IUPUI, as she holds an MPA in policy management and a master’s degree in criminal justice. For Tamra, it will mark a return to IUPUI, where she previously worked as the assistant director of Upward Bound. Tamara assisted with the implementation of a federal program that served high school students from low-income, first generation, disabled and “at-risk” backgrounds. That experience will be invaluable for SPEA as we continue to enrich the school’s diversity.
Finally, SPEA IUPUI also enjoyed a boost in the rankings of our graduate programs. Our Nonprofit Management program jumped two spots to No. 4, and Environmental Policy and Management was ranked for the first time, coming in at 13. Overall, our school ranking jumped 18 spots to 41st, placing us in a tie with Cornell, George Mason, and Virginia.
As you can see, it’s an exciting time in Indianapolis. Thank you for supporting SPEA IUPUI and making our school one of the top urban destinations to pursue a degree in public affairs and criminal justice.