Universities are among our oldest continuously surviving institutions, both in the United States and around the world. In some cases, U.S. universities pre-date the states in which they are located.
In many others – including Indiana University, which will celebrate its bicentennial in 2020 just four years after the state of Indiana marks the same milestone – the historical timelines of higher education institutions virtually mirror those of their home states.
In other words, the genius of universities is that they were designed to endure. And to endure means to adapt. To changing technology and changing socioeconomic conditions. To the shifting cultural tides that sweep over the landscape. And most recently, to the globalization of virtually every aspect of life as we know it today.
A common misconception among critics of higher education is that these entrenched institutions are reluctant to change with the times, content instead to hold on for dear life to the time-treasured traditions of the “ivory tower.” The reality at places such as Indiana University is quite different.
Want proof? Consider that in the last three years alone, IU has created new or reimagined schools in disciplines as disparate as international studies, public health, information sciences and media-relate studies. Or that IU has become a model for lowering student debt and controlling college costs – both by becoming more efficient in how it operates and by helping students make more informed decisions on their borrowing. Or that IU continues to invest in facilities and infrastructure that will provide a world-class learning environment for generations to come.
We’re not done, either.
As part of IU’s ongoing work to provide a relevant college experience for our students and continue to serve as an economic and intellectual powerhouse for the state of Indiana, the university has created an ambitious blueprint for improvements to be made over the next five years – work that will culminate with IU’s bicentennial in the 2019-2020 academic year.
IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan builds on much of our recent work to strengthen the student experience and create degree programs that reflect the realities of today’s global society. It contains eight broad initiatives that, when complete, will touch virtually every aspect of IU’s mission.
The plan, created with extensive input from IU faculty and staff as well as the public, was approved by the Board of Trustees in December. The strategic plan website, which offers details on the bicentennial plan as well as links to much of the underlying work, is now live and worth a view if you want to get a good idea of where IU is headed over the next five years.
Change is hard, but necessary, and IU is committed to the type of change necessary to retain its standing as one of the premiere public universities in the country. And while the methods will evolve over time, our fundamental values of teaching, research and service remain at the core of everything we do.
Happy reading, and as a bonus check out this terrific video below produced by our marketing team that gives you a sense of where we’ve been and where we are going.