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Indiana University

Provost focuses on strategic plan in State of the Campus address

A visual depiction of IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel's State of the Campus address.

A visual depiction of IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel’s 2014 State of the Campus address. Click to enlarge.

NOTE: This guest post was written by IU Newsroom colleague Steve Hinnefeld, who normally blogs at Policy Briefings. Word cloud courtesy of IU Newsroom’s social media strategist Thom Atkinson.

The strategic plan for the Indiana University Bloomington campus is nearing completion some eight months after the planning process kicked off, Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel said this week in her 2014 State of the Campus address.

Robel said the plan, which she intends to submit to IU President Michael A. McRobbie by April 15, demonstrates that members of the campus community have come together to create a vision of academic excellence as the university approaches its 2020 bicentennial celebration.

“What will our campus look like in five years if we adopt this plan? I will leave that to your imaginations,” she said. “But at the very least, we will surely be a community that understands and values the benefits of working together towards common campus goals.

“This process has brought out the best in a great many faculty, staff and students, who have through their work made doing so appear both desirable and achievable. I will be honored to devote myself to making their vision real for our campus.”

Speaking to nearly 100 people in Presidents Hall, Robel touched on her recent visits to East Asia and spoke of the remarkable loyalty toward the university expressed by alumni such as renowned South Korean pianist Ick-choo Moon and the distinguished Chinese jurist Tongkui Ju.

“When it opened its doors in 1820, the tiny seminary that would become this great public university might not have envisioned Ick-choo Moon or Tongkui Ju,” she said. “Indeed, it might not have envisioned a president from Australia! But in the world our graduates will face in 2020, and the one in which our state competes and participates today, these global connections are essential.”

Robel said members of a university community consider it “self-evident” that faculty drive great programs, that they work from deep knowledge of their disciplines and that they take profound satisfaction from the success of their students. But they also recognize, she said, that the campus can do more for students and the world by working collectively and interdependently.

And showing how is the role of the strategic plan, developed by 167 faculty members, students and staff serving on 11 committees and generating reports and recommendations that have been polished and improved through comments offered at town-hall meetings with various stake-holder groups.

“With the utmost respect for the work that we do in our most immediate neighborhoods,” Robel said, “these 167 colleagues have invited us to raise our gaze to who we are collectively and where we can be better together. Their imagination and dedication to a common vision for our future is inspiring.”

The plan includes goals and objectives addressing major areas including the experiences of undergraduates; the quality of graduate programs and faculty; university research efforts; global experiences and connections; and new interdisciplinary collaborations.

The focus provided by the planning process has already led to actions, Robel said. For example, an examination of undergraduate services produced investments in advising. The campus launched “a terrific initiative,” the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, which supports women pursing technology careers. And new faculty members now have access to leadership and career management assistance through IU’s membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

The research segment of the plan includes a focus on “grand challenges,” big, important initiatives that attack challenging questions, often with an interdisciplinary approach. “I would like to suggest that we also consider how we might use our resources to have a large and measurable impact on our immediate neighborhood,” Robel said, “by identifying ways we can have a measurable impact on the health, educational achievement and economies of the counties surrounding our own.”

An archived webcast of the provost’s address is available at the university’s broadcast.iu.edu site. The text of the address will be posted to the Office of the Provost website.

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