Student support services in higher education across the globe have the potential to transform the trajectory of a student’s academic, personal, and professional future. Providing support services to students in high demand fields, such as information technology (IT), offers an opportunity to fill workforce needs while also supporting students’ retention and career readiness.
The LiFT Scholars Program provides financial, academic, social, and professional development support through the implementation of high impact practices (HIPs) to support LiFT scholars’ success. The HIPs hosted through LiFT aim to:
Promote a sense of community among participants
Strengthen scholars’ sense of belonging to IUPUI/Ivy Tech and LiFT
Foster scholars’ career readiness to pursue an IT career upon graduation
Opportunity to build cross-institution and cross-cohort connections
Network with industry professionals
Our High Impact Practices
IUPUI LiFT scholars enroll in their informatics-major courses together throughout their time at IUPUI from their first year to graduation. Transfers students from Ivy Tech also benefit from this academic learning community with LiFT transfer peers. The learning communities strengthen the student cohort experience as they participate in classes and program activities that encourage collaboration and communication between the scholars, instructors, and LiFT peers.
IUPUI LiFT scholars also benefit from participating in the summer bridge program. Summer bridge aims to help entering students make a successful transition to college life by offering a head start week- long academic introduction to their field of study, campus resources, and more! Summer bridge runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day and all IUPUI students enroll in a credit-bearing first-year experience course for their bridge participation.
Students who reside on-campus not only benefit from the close geographic proximity to their classes, but they can also experience deeper peer connections. IUPUI scholars who choose to live on-campus have the opportunity to live in the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) RBLC in North Hall. To date, 62% of the IUPUI LiFT scholars have lived in the SoIC RBLC.
Continuing LiFT scholars are invited to serve as peer mentors to the recently accepted cohort. LiFT peer mentors can provide guidance, support, and advice to their LiFT scholar peers. No student should ever find themselves feeling out of place or disconnected from the campus. Utilizing peer mentor support can have great effects on students’ sense of belonging and success.
Undergraduate students benefit from building connections with industry professionals to bridge their classroom learning and the working world. LiFT scholars’ ability to network with IT industry professionals is invaluable. There are three ways LiFT scholars build connections with industry professionals: (a) through industry visits, (b) hearing from industry speakers, and (c) networking with LiFT advisory council members. Past industry visits include the Indiana Office of Technology, Appirio, Eli Lilly, Launch Fishers, and more!
During the summer LiFT scholars have the opportunity to participate in a day-long session focusing on scrum/agile fundamentals and project management techniques. After completion of this day-long session, scholars can pursue further study of scrum/agile principles to prepare to take the PSM 1, professional scrum master certification exam. Foundational knowledge of scrum/agile principles is beneficial to students preparing to entering the IT workforce.
Internship experiences provide scholars with first-hand experience to connect their curriculum to a real-world work setting. The IUPUI-SoIC Career Services Office assists the IUPUI LiFT scholars with resume building and interview preparation as well as connecting scholars with available internship opportunities they can apply to locally. Ivy Tech LiFT scholars who do not transfer to pursue a bachelor’s degree at IUPUI will receive support in searching for internships or entry-level careers in IT from the School of Information Technology Career Coach.
LiFT scholars have the opportunity to apply to participate in summer research opportunities under the supervision of faculty at IUPUI through the Center for Research and Learning and IN-LSAMP. Engaging in undergraduate research not only provides scholars with the opportunity to build deeper connections with faculty, but it also provides them with an opportunity to apply and expand their knowledge base to a research project. IUPUI LiFT scholars can also apply to participate in the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) to engage in research with peers from across the country under the guidance of a faculty mentor while also receiving graduate school preparation support.
Ivy Tech LiFT scholars have the opportunity to transfer to IUPUI to pursue a bachelor’s degree in informatics after completing their associate’s degree at Ivy Tech. Those students will be prepared for a seamless transfer to IUPUI financially, emotionally, and academically. The Passport Office staff provide critical support in this process by providing guidance to scholars on the admissions process, available transfer scholarships students can apply to, and more!
Throughout a scholar’s time in LiFT, scholars benefit from career readiness sessions to support their career development and guide their post-graduation planning. Sessions are planned based on scholars’ needs (e.g., mock interviews, career pathways in IT professions, navigating the job search, graduate school searching).
Multi-Institutional Co-Curricular Approach
The high impact practices (HIPs) offered through LiFT are hosted at both IUPUI and Ivy Tech to provide scholars with an opportunity to build cross-institutional connections. At the start of each semester a kickoff event is hosted to provide students with an opportunity to connect cross-institutionally and across-cohorts and learn about LiFT activities for the upcoming semester. Industry field trips in particular provide scholars with an opportunity to form new connections.