University of Southern Indiana: Modeling the “New American College”

The University of Southern Indiana has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the 25 largest Indiana colleges and universities. Its over 10,000 students make it number eight on the list, just above Vincennes University. Located south of Indianapolis in Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana is a growing force that is sure to have a name in Indianapolis education for years to come.

Culture and Community

The University of Southern Indiana began life in 1965 as a regional satellite campus of Indiana State University. In 1985, USI gained accreditation as a separate school from Indiana State University after the campus expanded by several hundred acres.

Just over two decades later, USI is climbing up the charts as one of the top universities in the state. This is not without good reason; USI is a model for the “new American college”, focusing not just on education, but also on community involvement and research. Everyone at USI is eager to learn and eager to teach, the campus is on some of the most beautiful countryside in southern Indiana, and the college is near Evansville, which has plenty of activities and culture of its own.

An essential part of the University of Southern Indiana is their contribution to the community of southern Indiana. The university has several programs designed to help out the region and teach students the value of service and leadership. One of these is “Connect with Southern Indiana”. This program is funded by the Lilly Endowment Fund given by Eli Lilly and Company, so it is entirely free for students who are accepted.

“Connect with Southern Indiana” is meant to enhance problem solving and critical thinking abilities in University of
Southern Indiana students. This is done through meetings with business and civic leaders and a series of workshops that are held over a six month period. Participants in the program put together a project of community outreach and service that they then present at the end of the program. Students implement each part of the project, from conception to execution. It’s valuable training to make responsible future citizens.

As far as culture is concerned, there is just as much to find in University of Southern Indiana culture as there is in Indianapolis culture. The university sponsors two theatres, the New Harmony Theatre and the University of Southern Indiana Theatre, and also an art gallery, called the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art.

New Harmony Theatre is a professional theatre troup sponsored by the University of Southern Indiana that puts on performances of classic American plays and musicals. In the 2009 season, New Harmony Theatre will be performing A Streetcar Named Desire, Harvey, and Guys and Dolls. The USI Theatre is a student-run production group that is organized through the University of Southern Indiana Theatre Arts academic program. This unique theatre prepares students for their future debuts in one of the many Indianapolis theaters by putting on productions of a variety of plays, from romantic comedies to tense dramas.
The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is run through the University of Southern Indiana liberal arts department and is a non-profit organization. The gallery, like many Indianapolis art galleries, showcases the works of artists around the Midwest, including some great examples of Indianapolis art.


At the University of Southern Indiana, education and academic achievement are the primary focus. With that in mind, the university strives to keep a knowledgeable and helpful faculty on hand, and they’ve certainly succeeded in that goal. Being a professor at the University of Southern Indiana is hard work; most professors not only lecture in class, but also provide advisory services to their students, guiding them along their career path. In addition, each professor conducts research, both in applied science for community assistance and for general purposes. It’s a good thing the faculty to student ratio is a manageable 18 to 1, because otherwise the professors might not have time for anything else!

The University of Southern Indiana has tons of undergraduate programs to choose from, spread out over five different
colleges: the College of Business, the Bower-Suhrheinrich College of Education & Human Services, the Pott College of Science and Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Nursing & Health Professions. Prospective students can choose from a huge range of courses, including advanced manufacturing, exercise science, kinesiology, occupational therapy, and much more.

Through a collaboration with Indiana University, the University of Southern Indiana also sponsors the Evansville branch of the Indiana University School of Medicine. The Evansville branch, along with the Indiana University Hospital (also known as the IU Medical Center) in downtown Indianapolis and seven other branches, all combine to make the largest college at Indiana University. The University of Southern Indiana will provide you with everything you might need to succeed in the Indianapolis business world, no matter what your chosen profession is.
In addition to the programs that are offered on campus, the University of Southern Indiana also accommodates those who live too far from campus or are not able to get to campus. If you have a full-time job or simply not enough time to pursue a degree, the University of Southern Indiana has you covered through their distance education program. Distance education courses utilize all sorts of helpful media, including DVD, videotapes, web conferencing, television, and the internet, to teach students at any time of day on their own schedule. Distance education courses include micro-economics, sign language, advertising, literature, and many more.

Like any other major college system in Indiana, the University of Southern Indiana also offers a plethora of study abroad courses. These are great opportunities to expand your horizons and experience life in a completely different culture. Study abroad students learn tolerance, critical thinking, and gain some valuable perspective on global situations. There are dozens of different sites to take your education to the next level, including Argentina, Belgium, China, Indiana, South Korea, and many more.


While the focus of the University of Southern Indiana is on academics, athletics also play an important role on campus. Known as the Screaming Eagles, this relatively young program has showcased some incredible skill over the years. The University of Southern Indiana sponsors fifteen different varsity sports teams, including volleyball, basketball, soccer, and tennis. The university is part of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which also includes Saint Joseph College, the University of Indianapolis, and the University of Northern Kentucky.

While USI might not have the long history and legendary players of Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame
or even Indiana State University, it still holds its own in its division, NCAA Division II. In spirit and hard work, they rank right up there with any team in Indianapolis sports. In the past 20 years, each Screaming Eagle team has been nationally ranked or competed in a national tournament, which is quite impressive for such a little-known school. The men’s and women’s cross country teams have dominated the field recently, winning a total of four national championships in the last ten years. The Screaming Eagles men’s basketball team won a national championship in 1995, and last year the team defeated both the University of Saint Francis and the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds during the regular season.

Modeling the “New American College”

All in all, the University of Southern Indiana has come a long way. From being a simple regional campus of Indiana State University to being the eighth largest college in Indiana, USI has shown extraordinary determination and innovation. Their academic programs are recognized both nationally and state-wide as very effective. The college has active, engaging professors and a committed staff located in the heart of beautiful Evansville. Their community involvement programs are unparalleled, and their athletics programs have been successful throughout their relatively short existence. It’s clear that the University of Southern Indiana is on the way up.

For more information on the University of Southern Indiana, please visit the university’s homepage.

University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd
Evansville, IN 47712

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