The University of Southern Indiana (USI) is a public university located just outside of Evansville in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. Founded in 1965, the school offers 70 undergraduate majors, 10 master's programs, and one doctoral program. With enrollment of over 10,800 students, USI is among the fastest growing comprehensive state universities in Indiana. Among Indiana's four-year universities, USI has the lowest tuition rates and gets the least state funding per student.
The university has a modern 300-acre (1.2 km2) suburban campus situated within wooded rolling hills. USI athletic teams participate in Division II of the NCAA and are known as the Screaming Eagles. USI is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The university is home to an extensive student life, with more than 100 student organizations.
The University of Southern Indiana began in 1965 as a regional branch of Indiana State University, which is located in Terre Haute. Classes were originally held in a former elementary school on the west side of Evansville known as Centennial School – denoting the year it was built in 1876. The property was leased from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which still has a large facility nearby. In 1971, the school moved to its current campus in western Vanderburgh County. The first buildings constructed were the Science Center and the Wright Administration Building. Slowly the school built facilities, as funding became available during the Indiana State University-Evansville period.
The relationship with Indiana State University was an awkward one from the start. Local leaders, who were not pleased with the level of support, contended that if the campus was to thrive it would need to gain independent status. A coordinated effort was made to establish the campus as an independent state university.
Opposition came immediately from Indiana State University along with Indiana University and Purdue, which were concerned that granting the campus independence would set a precedent for other small branch campuses around the state. However, the local campus continued to rally support from state legislators, business leaders, and local groups.
In 1985, independence was finally granted when Governor Robert D. Orr, an Evansville native, signed the school's charter and started a new chapter as the University of Southern Indiana. Since gaining its independence, USI's growth has continued to where it is now the fastest growing comprehensive university in the state. The university established student housing, diversified the programs offered, and enrollment has more than doubled since gaining its independence. In October, 2006, the university completed a master plan that provides the framework to double the size of the school and support a campus of over 20,000 students. The master plan features key planning principles to guide the university and help it create a cohesive campus as it continues to grow.
USI offers over 70 undergraduate majors, 10 master's programs, and one doctoral program. Divisions of the University include the Romain College of Business, College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education, University Division, and Division of Outreach and Engagement. Each college is led by a dean who reports to the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. USI employs 634 full-time faculty, lecturers, and academic administrators, and 277 part-time faculty.
The Indiana University School of Medicine - Evansville Center, housed in the Health Professions Center, is one of eight regional divisions throughout the state. The center provides classes for first- and second-year medical students. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and carries several discipline-specific accreditations as well.
Over 10,500 students enrolled at USI in the fall of 2009. Although the student population is largely local and regional, the international student population is growing each year. The university reported students came from 90 Indiana counties, 36 other states, and 42 other nations for the 2006-2007 academic year. Additionally, more than 15,000 people participate annually in continuing education courses and special programs sponsored by the Division of Extended Services.
Over 20,000 students have graduated since 1971. Nearly 75% of USI's graduates remain in Indiana. Annual credit enrollment is expected to exceed 11,000 in the next five years. The university serves an additional 9,000 persons annually through comprehensive noncredit programs of short duration.
Nearly all students who live on campus (with the exception of some freshmen who are housed in modern suite-style facilities) are assigned apartments with full kitchens. USI's four Residence Halls (Newman, Governor's, O'Bannon, and Ruston), located on the South side of campus, are freshmen-only modern suites. The apartments, located on the Northeastern side of campus, accommodate all other campus residents (including freshmen).
In 1967, the Southern Indiana Higher Education, Inc., (SIHE) acquired 1,400 acres (6 km2). Since September 1969, the university has occupied 300 acres (1.2 km2), most of which was donated by SIHE. Southern Indiana Higher Education, Inc. still owns 1,100 acres (4 km2) for development of higher education opportunities.
A new building for the School of Business, opened in 1990, was named the Orr Center in honor of Governor Robert D. Orr, an Evansville native. Since then, four other large buildings have been built for the Liberal Arts, Nursing, and Education divisions, as well as a large fitness center for students and faculty. The number of classrooms has more than doubled since the campus was first opened, but the university is still planning for continued growth.
Construction is complete on the David L. Rice Library, which opened in the fall semester of 2006. The building is five stories and features computer access, study tables/rooms, and copy machines located on each floor. With the growth of extracurricular organizations, the administration chose to convert the old library building into an extension of the University Center and is connected by an elevated walkway. A new Business and Engineering Center has been built along with several other construction and renovation projects.
USI is home to the Southern Indiana Review, a national literary journal. Stories published in the Southern Indiana Review have been anthologized in the Best American Short Stories and the Best American Essays.
The university contains within it three media outlets including the award-winning radio station, The Edge/WSWI, SETV12 the student-run television station, and the student newspaper, The Shield. All programs are completely student-run entities within the campus that deal with student and community related topics and discussions.
The athletic teams of USI are known as the Screaming Eagles. The university competes at the NCAA Division II level as members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. USI sponsors 15 varsity intercollegiate sports. The school has won two national championships (men's basketball, 1995; baseball, 2010), finished three times as the national finalist (men's basketball, 1994 and 2004; and women's basketball 1997), and earned two third-place finishes (men's cross country, 1982; baseball, 2007). The men's and women's cross country/track teams have produced five individual national championships since 1997.
The Screaming Eagles won the 2003-04 GLVC All-Sports Trophy by nine points, the largest margin of victory since Lewis University edged USI by 9.5 points in 1986-87. In the 25 year history of the trophy, USI has finished first three times (2003–04, 1993–94, 1982–83); second nine times; third twice; and fourth three times.
Men’s basketball has been a part of USI's athletic department since the 1970-71 season. The Screaming Eagles are currently one of the greater basketball programs in Division II athletics. In 1994 USI finished runner-up at the Division II championship and the following year, in 1995, won the national championship. Overall USI has made 23 NCAA tournament appearances and won the GLVC tournament in 2005, 2007, and 2012.
USI's success in basketball is due in part to the coaching leadership of Bruce Pearl, who coached the team from 1992–2001. During this nine year span USI went to nine straight NCAA D-II tournaments, won four GLVC regular season titles, and compiled a record of 231–46. Pearl's successor, Rick Herdes, led the team to a second place finish at the 2004 Division II national championship and posted a record of 200-59. However in 2009, USI submitted to the NCAA a list of NCAA rules violations committed by the men's basketball coaching staff, including Herdes. Three of the violations are related to extra benefits concerning transportation, one concerning academics, and the last concerning improper communication with a prospective student athlete. When the announcement was made Herdes promptly resigned.
Currently the team is coached by Rodney Watson. Despite a one-year probation on postseason play imposed by the GLVC and the NCAA, Watson led USI to a 23-0 start and a #2 ranking in the NABC Division II Top 25 Poll, making it the best start for a first-year coach at USI.
Men's baseball began at USI in 1971. Recently USI has established itself as a top competitor nationally in Division II. In 2010 the school won the NCAA DII National Championship and also earned a third-place finish in 2007.
In cooperation with the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, USI manages programs and properties in Historic New Harmony, site of two historic communal societies of the early 19th century, the Harmony Society and the Robert Owen/William Mclure communal experiment.
The USI Center for Communal Studies is a clearinghouse for information, a research facility, and a sponsor of activities related to historic and contemporary intentional communities. The center encourages and facilitates meetings, classes, scholarships, publications, networking and public interest in communal groups past and present, here and abroad. The center archives contain primary and secondary materials on more than 100 historic communes and several hundred collective, cooperative, and co-housing communities founded since 1965. Noted communal scholars have donated their private collections and their extensive research notes and papers to the center archives.
The New Harmony Theatre is a professional theatre operating under an agreement with Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.
In fall 2007, USI Theatre partnered with The New Harmony Theatre on The Repertory Project, which allows top Theatre students to perform with Equity actors. Student actors and stage managers involved in The Repertory Project earn points toward joining the union, a membership that is considered the “gold standard” for theatre professionals.
Historic Southern Indiana (HSI) is an outreach organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and promoting the abundant historical, natural, and recreational resources of southern Indiana. As a community outreach program of the University of Southern Indiana, HSI hosts workshops, produces publications, conducts visitor research, and facilitates and coordinates with many groups and agencies with the goal of creating a sense of regional identity and pride.
The Heritage Area contains numerous sites of historical significance, including Vincennes, Corydon, New Harmony, Madison, and Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home. Forests, caves, rivers, and lakes offer scenic beauty and recreational activities.
The Center for Applied Research (CAR) works with businesses and organizations throughout the region to conduct research, consulting, and other applied projects.