November 1, 2016

Recognizing Excellence at IUPUI: State of the Campus Address

IUPUI Campus Center Theater
Indianapolis, Indiana


Thank you, Professor Applegate, and thank you all for being here this afternoon. We are livestreaming this event today, and I want to welcome all of you who are joining us via the web.

I want to offer a special welcome to IU Trustee Phil Eskew, Chancellors Emeritus Jerry Bepko and Charles Bantz and his wife Professor Sandra Petronio.

I would also like to welcome Purdue University Provost Deba Dutta, Vice President for Public Affairs Julie Griffith, and other friends from Purdue University. And it is my special pleasure to welcome members of the IUPUI Board of Advisors Alpha Blackburn, and Peggy Boehm, who is joined by her husband Ted this afternoon.

Would you all please join me in welcoming them?

A Crucial Time for Our Country

This is my first State of the Campus address as chancellor of IUPUI, and I want to say at the outset, the state of our campus is strong.

My remarks come at a crucial time for our country and our campus.

A week from today we will be making a collective decision of national importance when we select the next president of the United States. Depending on who gets elected, the next four years for our country will look dramatically different.

What will remain the same is the value of higher education to our 21st century students who will be living, learning and earning in an increasingly global environment. To best serve these students, we in higher education must continue to focus on our strategic priorities.

At IUPUI, our strategic priorities are fostering student success, advancing health and life sciences, and contributing to our communities, both near and far. These priorities align with the broader IU Bicentennial Strategic Plan and with the goals of the university-wide Bicentennial For All fundraising campaign.

At the heart of these priorities and at the heart of our campus is our goal to make sure that IUPUI is an intentionally inclusive, equitable, diverse, and accessible campus community that inspires educational, personal, social and professional achievement.

I share these goals at the outset of my remarks because they will provide the background for all that I will be discussing.

But the thread that holds my remarks together is people.

IUPUI has always been a collaborative and inclusive environment. I want to reflect that spirit of collaboration and partnership throughout my remarks today by recognizing a number of special guests from our campus and community who have helped us achieve many of our goals over the course of the last year.

You will be able to identify these special guests by the red ribbons you will see on their nametags.

Of course, those I am recognizing represent the thousands of people on our campus and in our community who make a difference every day in the life of IUPUI and in the lives of our students. I wish I could mention every single person, but that would take several weeks.

At the heart of these priorities and at the heart of our campus is our goal to make sure that IUPUI is an intentionally inclusive, equitable, diverse, and accessible campus community.

Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar


In terms of recruitment, we have concentrated on increasing the diversity of our student body in a number of strategic ways.

This fall we welcomed nearly 30,000 students to IUPUI. Included in that total was our largest and most talented freshman class ever. That class marked record increases in our minority student population as well.

We saw a 13.2% increase in Latino students; a 20.4% increase in Asian students and a remarkable 40% increase in African American beginners on our campus. I think those numbers deserve a round of applause.

These increases are no coincidence. Soon after I was named chancellor, I called for the formation of a Task Force on the Recruitment and Retention of African American Students. And earlier this year, we formed Task Forces on the Recruitment and Retention of Latino Faculty, Staff, and Students.

Eric Williams, Kimberly Stewart-Brinston, Jose Vargas-Vila, Monica Medina, and many others have been deeply involved in these task forces. I believe Eric, Kim, and Jose are with us this afternoon. Would you all please stand for our recognition of all that you have done and continue to do to support our students?

I would also like to acknowledge our new Director for Undergraduate Admissions Yohlunda Mosley and her incredible team for the important role they have played in achieving these increases, connecting prospective students to opportunities at IUPUI. Yohlunda, thanks to you and your team for the energy and drive you bring to your roles.

Finally, I also look forward to working on these efforts with Boyd Bradshaw, our new Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. Would you help me welcome Boyd to our campus?

Midwest Student Exchange Program

In all of our efforts, we remain dedicated to educating Hoosiers. In fact, nearly 88 percent of our undergraduates come from right here in Indiana.

We continue to educate more students and more diverse students so that the IUPUI student body has the widest variety of perspectives and backgrounds from Indiana and beyond to enrich our intellectual environment.

With this goal in mind, we joined the Midwest Student Exchange Program this fall. We are opening doors of opportunity for Midwestern students who save tens of thousands of dollars in student debt thanks to this program. Since joining this year, we have seen an over 60 percent increase in student enrollment from member states.

Would our Midwest Student Exchange Program students please stand for our welcome and recognition?


In addition to programs like this, scholarships are vital tools in our recruitment strategy. As a campus, in the last year we have doubled need-based aid and added to merit scholarships to recruit high-achieving students including underrepresented minority students.

These increases come at a crucial time since, according to the most recent data, IUPUI ranks second to last among our Urban peers in terms of the percentage of undergraduates receiving institutional aid or scholarships.

We are using every tool at our disposal to change these numbers. Our generous donors are partners in providing support to recruit and retain the very best students whose presence enriches our campus and helps strengthen our programs.

When I think of the Cox family, the Mays family, the Bowen family and others, I am reminded of the powerful legacy of learning each one has established. Campus leaders and colleagues like Bill Plater, Jerry Bepko, Gene Tempel, and many others have invested in IUPUI students whose education has made a difference.

Names like Nina Mason Pulliam have become synonymous with opportunity on our campus.

These names and so many others tell an incredible story of the generosity that has transformed the lives of IUPUI students over the past nearly 50 years.

I am pleased that a number of donors who have supported scholarships at IUPUI could join us today. Would you please stand for our recognition and thanks? I should add that many of these generous supporters are also current or retired IUPUI faculty and staff members.

Now I would like to ask our Red Ribbon scholarship students to stand for our welcome and congratulations?

In all of our efforts, we remain dedicated to educating Hoosiers. In fact, nearly 88 percent of our undergraduates come from right here in Indiana.

Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar

Graduation and Graduate Programs

Graduation for our student athletes and all of our students is the ultimate goal, and we have seen improvements in this regard.

Our 4-year graduation rate rose from 21% t to 25% in the past year and our 6-year graduation rate has increased from 45% to 47.5%. We know we need to significantly improve these rates, and we are working towards that goal.

This May at our first graduation ceremony held at Lucas Oil Stadium, we awarded over 7,000 degrees. The majority of those graduates are staying right here in Indiana to live and work.

These graduates included a record number of African American students, including a remarkable group of PhD students graduating from the School of Education. They included hundreds of veterans. They included thousands of students earning advanced degrees.

Those graduate students remind me of the remarkable strides we are making in building our graduate programs, one of our campus’ strategic priorities. After much hard work, over the course of the last year alone, we have sought and received approval for eleven doctoral programs at IUPUI, including some very productive programs in the School of Science.

I would like to say a special word of thanks to our colleagues at Purdue University for their support of these programs, especially Provost Dutta.

Thanks also go to Deans Simon Rhodes, Tom Davis, Paul Halverson, David Russomanno, and Mathew Palakal for their strong leadership in this work as well. Would you please help me thank them?

These programs strengthen our ability to compete nationally for the best faculty and students. They also empower degree recipients with skills sought by many academic and industrial sectors at the local, state and national levels.

I am delighted to welcome a number of students in these new programs that are helping to create new knowledge within their fields, and enriching the intellectual environment of our campus as a whole. Would you please stand for our congratulations on your achievements as graduate students in these impressive programs?

None of this progress in the areas of student recruitment, retention and graduation would have been possible without our outstanding faculty and staff at IUPUI.

Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar


IUPUI has received national recognition for excellence in teaching and learning. We have an array of award-winning programs that support student success, including first-year seminars, themed learning communities, Summer Bridge, and many high-impact practices, such as RISE and our use of ePortfolios.

Bepko Learning Center of Excellence

Recently, the Bepko Learning Center within the Division of Undergraduate Education was awarded a Learning Centers of Excellence designation by the National College Learning Center Association. The Center’s Director, Mark Minglin, is here with us today. Would you all help me thank Mark, his staff colleagues, and most impressively the students who serve as tutors and peer mentors for all of their hard work.

Excellence in Assessment

Thanks to the efforts of our colleague Trudy Banta, who retired earlier this year, as well as others, IUPUI was further recognized by receiving the inaugural Excellence in Assessment designation, an award bestowed upon us jointly by three major national organizations, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Effective assessment requires a robust, responsive data infrastructure and expertise in analytics, survey research and program evaluation. We are very fortunate to have Michele Hansen and her team in the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support providing the data that drives our campus’s culture of continuous assessment and improvement. Michele, would you please accept our thanks?

Faculty Collaboratives Project

We can also see IUPUI’s national leadership in teaching and learning through such projects as the Faculty Collaboratives, sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. These Collaboratives involve faculty from several institutions in Indiana who meet regularly to directly connect faculty teaching and learning practices to increased student success through projects that cut across multiple disciplines and institutions.

I’m pleased that IUPUI faculty such as Keith Anliker, Senior Lecturer of Chemistry, Elaine Cooney, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, and Beth Goering, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, are working with colleagues across the nation on these innovative projects that hold promise for national replication. Would you help me thank Keith, Elaine, and Beth for helping strengthen teaching and learning at IUPUI and at institutions across the nation?

Let me add that you can follow Keith on twitter @k-e-i-t-h-a-n-l-i-k-e-r. And don’t forget to follow me @PAYDAR.

Teaching Online

As I’m sure our online audience would agree, innovative teaching and learning don’t just take place in brick-and-mortar classrooms.

Indeed, IUPUI has been at the forefront of developing and deploying fully online and blended or hybrid classes. Over the past few years, in particular, we have expanded our capacity to offer certain courses and programs 100% online.

But we must increase our presence in this strategic area. That is why I am so pleased that Carolyn Gentle-Genitty, Associate Professor of Social Work, has joined the Office of Academic Affairs as a faculty fellow who is focusing on online education. She is working with colleagues across campus to support our ongoing expansion of online courses and programs. Carolyn, thank you for being here today.

With online education and other strategies, IUPUI is meeting the 21st century needs of 21st century students.

Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar

Our International Connections

The presence of a powerful higher education sector—including IUPUI—was critical to Indianapolis’ selection as one of the eight inaugural cities for the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase. 

Working in partnership with the city on projects like this, we prepare our students to connect and compete in the global marketplace. 

I would add that since 2000, we have tripled the number of international students studying at IUPUI.  Those students now comprise 7% of our student body.

Their presence indicates growing recognition of and interest in our programs.  Clearly, IUPUI is gaining a reputation as a destination campus for students from around the world with the presence of students from over 145 countries.

I want to thank Leslie Bozeman and Stephanie Leslie for all that they do to help IUPUI students—no matter where they come from—succeed in Indianapolis and around the world. 

Would you help me welcome and thank Leslie and Stephanie?

Advancing Our Campus

Creating global leaders is one of the four goals of the For All: IU Bicentennial Fundraising Campaign, which I mentioned at the outset of my remarks. 

We are around the halfway point of this $2.5 billion university-wide campaign, and the IUPUI campus is at 73% of goal.

I think that deserves a round of applause.

To those of you here in the audience or watching on the web who have supported IUPUI with your gifts of time, service, and resources, I want to thank you. 

I want to offer special thanks to the thousands of our faculty, staff, and retirees who have generously supported this campaign.  Your investment makes a strong statement about your confidence in this institution, in our students, and in our programs. 

Working in partnership with the city of Indianapolis, we prepare our students to connect and compete in the global marketplace. 

Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar

Welcoming Campus Innovation Fund

This anniversary celebration is closely tied to the Welcoming Campus Initiative, another milestone in the life of this campus. 

Launched last spring, the Welcoming Campus Initiative asks faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community what it means to be a “welcoming campus.”

Their recommendations focus on creating a vibrant and inclusive student experience investing in faculty and staff, communicating who we are as a campus, designing an accessible, inspiring urban campus, and engaging and integrating with the community.

Clearly this is far more than a beautification project. 

At the heart of the Welcoming Campus Initiative is the notion that physical space and intellectual environment—when working well together—enable people to achieve loftier goals. This is why the Welcoming Campus Initiative is aligned with our campus landscape and public space planning project that is currently underway.

For this kind of initiative to work, we need a collective, campus-wide effort that draws together the best ideas—from campus gateways to lecture series, from mentoring projects to campus wayfinding, and so much more.  We need to be willing to work hard. 

And we need to invest. 

To this end, I am delighted to announce the $1 million IUPUI Welcoming Campus Innovation Fund. This fund will provide internal grants of up to $25,000, with a match by the proposing unit, to support implementation of recommendations emerging from the Welcoming Campus Initiative. Our goal is to strengthen our campus community in ways that we can sustain and that will make a powerful difference in the lives of IUPUI faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the broader community.

More information about the Welcoming Campus Innovation Fund will be announced in a few weeks with proposals due in spring. 


Let me close with a number of challenges:

To the deans, I thank you for your strong and steady leadership, for aligning your school’s plans with those of the campus and the university as a whole, and for your constant work to improve the quality of your programs. As always, I challenge you to continue this good work, be bold in your thinking, visionary in your ideas, and collaborative in your approaches. I also look forward to receiving Welcoming Campus Innovation Fund proposal from all of your schools.

To the faculty, I congratulate you for pushing curiosity and creativity towards discovery and innovation through teaching, community engagement, research, and creative activity that change our world. And I challenge you to heighten your efforts especially in working together to address next generation challenges.

To the staff, I appreciate the vital work you do in making IUPUI successful in our teaching, research, and service missions, and I challenge you to continue to help us create a culture focused on excellence, exemplifying IUPUI’s welcoming and inclusive campus in every interaction you have.

To students, I encourage you to engage with peers, professors, and staff members across campus and embrace the opportunities that IUPUI offers. For many of you this is the one moment in your life that you can give yourself the gift of time to concentrate on improving through education, the depth and breadth of which depends on what you, yourself, invest.

To our alumni, I invite you to remain connected to the IUPUI campus to help us maintain strong traditions like Jagathon and Regatta that reflect who we are as Jaguars. Your continuing commitment to IUPUI provides inspiration for our students who see in your successes their own futures.

To all of you, I am proud to count myself among your colleagues and friends.

The past year—my first as chancellor of IUPUI—has been remarkable.

YOU have made that happen.

Working together, we'll make next year even brighter.

Go Jags!