State of the Campus
November 15, 2022
Hine Hall Auditorium
Thank you for that introduction, Phil, and thanks to everyone for joining today’s state of the campus address.
Let me start by saying what an honor it has been to take on this role, following in the footsteps of five decades of outstanding leadership for our campus. Having been a faculty member here at IUPUI for more than 20 years, with experience as a dean and campus administrator, I had an idea of the challenges ahead, but still I am learning every day and am grateful for the grace and support so many of you have shown to me since I took this position back in March.
Here is how I am going to organize my remarks this afternoon.
I’ll start with an update on Vision 2024 (our campus realignment activity) and our strategic planning efforts. Then I’ll highlight some of the impressive accomplishments we’ve achieved over the past year.
After that, I’ll broaden the scope of my remarks a bit, looking at issues that all of higher education is confronting today Finally, I will conclude by encouraging each one of us to be advocates for our campus and for higher education.
This is our community. This is our world. This is our future. As people who understand the power of higher education to change lives, we are well positioned to promote a positive narrative that connects the value of higher education to the quality of life in Indiana and beyond.
Let’s start with Vision 2024 – and as we are planning to shape the future of our campus, I can’t help but look back to the beginning.
Back in 1969, university leaders came together to create this campus in response to then Mayor Richard Lugar’s call for a great university to serve a great city. IUPUI arose out of the conviction that Indianapolis needed—and deserved—a world-class university campus. And for 52 years, that’s exactly what we built, and I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished.
Today, we have the opportunity to do even more. We can take all that we have built at the same time as we imagine what we would create were we starting from scratch today.
What would an ideal 21st century university campus look like to meet society’s most pressing challenges if we were to start from the very beginning?IUPUI Interim Chancellor Andrew R. Klein
First, it would be located in city where lots of people live, where culture thrives, with Fortune 500 companies and large, active non-profits. If I could choose a city, it would be a capital city to give students access to internships and externships in places like the state legislature and state courts, access to clinical training in a large and responsive public health department as well as an extensive system of area hospitals.
In my view, it would be a public university to give the greatest number of students access to education at a reasonable cost with scholarships and other forms of financial aid increasing access and opportunity.
It would have a comprehensive set of academic offerings and a wide range of program types—including part time, night, and online programs with wraparound services to support all students.
It would include a robust research enterprise with opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration all of which would drive the local economy thanks to the infusion of research funding.
It would be a university with a deep commitment to serving the community in the form of engaged learning and research partnerships.
And it would be a university that embraces equity and inclusion as core values that enhance diversity and create a sense of belonging that helps faculty, staff, and students thrive.
In other words, if we were starting from scratch today, we would create a campus that looks a lot like IUPUI. We have so much to be proud of here and an incredible foundation upon which to build.
Vision 2024—the realignment of Indiana University and Purdue University in Indianapolis—is the next step in the evolution of our campus. Many of you are aware of the changes underway, but for the sake of this talk and for those who may not be following the story quite as closely, allow me to recap our progress up to this point.
Encouraged by leaders throughout the state and region, IU and Purdue had been discussing a shift in the nature of our relationship for some time. In mid-August, that discussion led the trustees of both universities to sign a preliminary agreement—a memorandum of understanding—identifying key aspects of the realignment.
In broad strokes, that agreement calls for Purdue to manage its engineering, technology, and computer science programs in Indianapolis from West Lafayette, with IU assuming full responsibility for all other programs and operations on campus.
These include the awarding of IU degrees from the School of Science, the expansion of programs in the School of Informatics & Computing, and continuing to offer general education courses and services to students who study here (including Purdue students). Ultimately our campus will become Indiana University’s distinct urban research campus in Indianapolis.
The agreement also includes plans for expanded research collaboration in the area of biomedical engineering between Purdue and the School of Medicine.
This won’t happen overnight, and we’ve already started the work to get us there. We have formed 10 task forces that cover the operations of campus, and members of these groups are identifying issues and solutions necessary for the trustees to enter into a final agreement a little less than year from now.
Task force members are meeting to develop plans, which are due in early December. Task force chairs are meeting with one another to determine cross-over areas. And we are in regular contact with our colleagues at Purdue to make sure that we align our plans so that students continue steady progress towards their degrees.
Once the Trustees have entered a final agreement, we’ll then take another year to implement changes with a goal of having the new structure in place for the start of the 2024-25 academic year.
This is a big step for our campus, but as I said, in many ways it is rooted in our history. University leaders came together and did something that had never been done before, linking and leveraging the power of the two largest state universities. Now, more than 50 years later, we are innovating again in response to the needs of our city and our state, and I look forward to seeing this vision for our campus unfold.
I understand that we have a number of Vision 2024 task force members in the audience this afternoon. Would you all please rise for our recognition and thanks?
At the same time as we are navigating Vision 2024, we are also undertaking a strategic planning process. For the first time, this is an all-IU process with every campus in the IU system undertaking strategic planning. IUPUC and IU Fort Wayne are also undertaking their own planning processes, and I appreciate the great work taking place in Columbus and Fort Wayne.
We are all focusing on the same three basic themes: the success of our students, our research enterprise, and our service to the state and community.
Whereas the Vision 2024 realignment focuses on a lot of “operations,” strategic planning allows us to directly at our core mission, our objectives, and the actions we need to take to move forward. It charts a path for us to follow through the rest of this decade.
Our goal remains to be a forward-looking leader among public urban research campuses, known for engaging and improving our communities through the students we train, the research we conduct, and our leadership in translating all that we to do improve the lives of others.
We had our kickoff meeting for strategic planning in early October. Our more than twenty planning groups are focused around those three core areas. They are aiming to have drafts of goals, objectives, action items, and metrics for each area ready for review in early December with the plan finalized by next March.
Let give a special word of thanks to Executive Vice Chancellor Kathy Johnson, Margie Smith-Simmons, and Stephen Hundley for leading this effort. And would all those who are participating in the Strategic Planning effort to rise for our recognition and thanks.
The hard work that faculty, staff, and students have done over the course of many years has undoubtedly positioned us well us to plan for the future. Those who have come before us have built the strong institution we know today with its culture of self-assessment and evidence-driven improvement.
Let’s talk about updates in the core areas of student success, our research enterprise, and our service to the state and beyond.
People at IUPUI understand our mission and are committed to our core values. This is exactly what we need—the culture, the mission and the values—as a strong foundation for progress.IUPUI Interim Chancellor Andrew R. Klein
Let’s start with students, our number one priority.
It falls on all of us to make sure that this campus remains a destination for people who want to grow, achieve, and improve – and we need to keep our students engaged. We need to make sure they persist. We need to do everything we can to help our students graduate. And we need to recruit talented students to join our ranks going forward.
As most of you know, we have faced enrollment headwinds in recent years. Our overall fall enrollment is down this year by 6.2%. This follows last year’s overall decline of 5.8%.
But we are seeing some encouraging news. First, fall new beginners were up almost 1%, the first increase we have seen in beginners in three years. Our international student numbers are on the rebound, up by more than 20% to our pre-pandemic totals. We remain a popular destination for Hoosiers. The percentage of our undergraduates who are from Indiana remains more than 90%.
We are watching applications carefully and are collaborating closely with our colleagues at Purdue as we plan to recruit the next year’s class.
I hope everyone here will consider themselves part of the student recruitment team as we show people why this is a place where they can study, succeed, and thrive.
With those enrollment updates, let me zero in on two additional student-focused updates that are critical to helping our students persist and succeed.
I have said on a number of occasions this fall how proud I am of our team in the Division of Undergraduate Education expanding Bridge Week, opening it to ALL first-time, full-time students. In August, our staff and faculty welcomed more than 3,000 incoming students to Bridge, a program designed to help those incoming students develop a sense of belonging and make a successful transition to campus.
And for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, our residence halls are full once again. In fact, we had a wait list at the beginning of the semester.
When students live on campus and are engaged in student life, we see the impact in improved retention and graduation rates, so this is great news and a sign that we are establishing a new normal.
And I am convinced that our efforts are making a difference. Allow me to highlight several examples of students who are performing at the highest levels.
Kadidiatou Diallo is a junior in the Fairbanks School of Public Health who is among 100 inaugural recipients of the Voyager Scholarship for Public Service, created to support young leaders by President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
I’d also like to highlight Danielle Abel and Sheetal Prasanna, graduate students at IUPUI. Both of them received the IU Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in that university-wide competition.
From our clinical psychology program in the School of Science, Danielle was selected for the award in the field of social science. She is currently working toward her doctorate in psychology at IUPUI.
Sheetal graduated in May from the School of Engineering and Technology and was selected for the award in the field of mathematics, physical science, and engineering. She is currently an advanced active software engineer with Aptiv in Indiana.
These are three of so many other examples I could provide. Our students shine in and out of the classroom every day.
Shifting to our accomplishments in research, I want to begin by acknowledging that we use lots of shorthand when it comes to measuring our research enterprise and highlighting our research accomplishments.
It would be great if we could list all of the articles, chapters and manuscripts published; all pro bono hours contributed; all of the works of art created; data points gathered and analyzed. All of that is important. It’s what gives so many of us energy and drive.
But just to give you a sense of the scope and scale of our research enterprise, scholars on the Indianapolis campus brought in a total of more than $68 million, and that doesn’t include the IU School of Medicine.
If we drill down into these numbers, we will see an incredible array of projects like the expansion of the Diabetes Impact Project, which launched in 2018 and is a partnership among the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, Eskenazi Health, and Eli Lilly and company.
Another example, our School of Education is the only Indiana University unit to receive first-round funding from the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative, a partnership between the National Urban League, the Indianapolis Urban League, and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis.
The grant supports projects that will enhance recruitment of teachers of color in Marion County high schools and create a dual degree pathway in Africana Studies and Urban Teacher Education degree programs.
The School of Liberal Arts received support from the Lilly Endowment for the Young Scholars in American Religion program, which trains next generation scholars in teaching, research, and community building.
I’d also like to commend Tyrone Freeman in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for being named winner of the 2022 Dan David Prize, considered the largest history prize in the world. Dr. Freeman is an historian of philanthropy who researches African-American charitable giving and activism and has focused recent work on Madam C. J. Walker and Black women’s philanthropy during the Jim Crow era.
And we have colleagues who have received NSF CAREER awards, Fulbrights, and the list goes on.
What excites me most about so many of these projects is that they are focused on connecting with and building community both here in Indianapolis and around the world. Service to and engagement with the community remains a core strength of our campus and great points of pride.
Part of that service, of course, is our role as an anchor institution in the city of Indianapolis.
That role translates into huge economic impact. I’ve already talked about our $68 million in external grants and awards. But our economic footprint as an institution also includes the IU School of Medicine, which brought in nearly $470 million in research funding last year.
Add to that our nearly 10,000 full time employees (including medicine), who live, learn, earn and spend right in the city and surrounding area.
With a total budget of $1.65 billion, we are a large enterprise to say the least. Our spend as an institution is in the range of $300 million, and the vast majority of that is spent right here in the state of Indiana.
Beyond our scope and scale, as an anchor institution we also strive to be a good partner with the communities we serve. To that end, we are incredibly proud of our longstanding and ongoing partnership with the city of Indianapolis. At the beginning of the semester, we built on that partnership when we hosted Mayor Hogsett who announced an expansion of the Indy Achieves program. That program provides last-dollar scholarships for residents of Marion County pursuing higher education at IUPUI and Ivy Tech.
IUPUI has also partnered with county election officials to establish University Library as a polling location for Marion County voters. More than a thousand people voted there during this year’s elections. Dean Palmer tells me that earlier this month, they had a steady stream of voters throughout the day—including me!
Our service to the community also includes the important ways we build engagement. To that end, I am so pleased to share that Vice Chancellor and Dean of IU Fort Wayne, Dr. Deborah Garrison, is reaching out to the community through a series of listening sessions to gain a deeper understanding of IUFW’s place in the community and region. Dr. Garrison started her tenure in Fort Wayne in July, and she has been a dynamo in getting to know the campus and the community, building on the great work of Fen Lei Chang and Ann Obergfell.
More broadly, recognizing our engagement efforts, in July IUPUI received the Civic Engagement Award at the National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference. The award honors the work we are doing to in collaboration with area schools, neighborhoods, and other key stakeholders in implementing community school strategies.
The progress that I outlined above is just a snapshot of the great work that we continue to do across campus, work that wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of our outstanding faculty, staff, and students.
Just last week, a Higher Learning Commission site visit team came to campus as part of our 10-year reaffirmation review. In preparation for that visit, we had a team of people led by Margie Ferguson and Stephen Hundley who prepared our materials and hosted the site visit team. Our HLC writing team composed a 32,000-word assurance argument and backed that up with more than 700 pieces of evidence cataloging every gear, cog, and wheel that make IUPUI tick. I really appreciate the good work that the HLC team did and look forward to hearing the results of that review in the next month or so.
Before I close I want us to turn to the stories we tell about higher education more broadly.
We are navigating some major campus changes during a time of significant challenge for higher education in Indiana—indeed across the country. This includes confronting a serious decline in the college-going rate among Hoosier high school graduates.
In addition, higher education is facing a demographic cliff as the traditional, college-aged population shrinks.
We also are increasingly facing questions about the value of post-secondary education. Higher tuition costs, student debt, and the opportunity cost of pursuing higher ed are fueling skepticism.
As a result, people are increasingly asking whether a college degree is worth it.
What I would like for all of us to do is turn to a few facts to tell a different and much more positive story.
Facts like these:
With these personal economic benefits come social benefits as well. Higher educational attainment has been connected with greater levels of civic participation—including philanthropy and volunteering—better health overall, and longer life.
And if we think about the impact of a large research university and anchor institution like IUPUI—impact that I just described moments ago—we see another chapter in that positive story about higher education in America.
I want to thank all of you for helping to share that positive story. More important than that, I want to thank you for all that you have done to write the story of IUPUI over the years. I look forward to working with each one of you as we create the next chapter together.