Retirement Reception for Chancellor Sandra Patterson-Randles

Hoosier Room
IU Southeast
New Albany, Indiana
June 12, 2013


During the course of her 11 years of service as chancellor, Sandra Patterson-Randles’ tireless energy and leadership have made a lasting difference at IU Southeast.

During her tenure, as you will hear this afternoon, the campus realized a number of its long-term aspirations, including improvements to key facilities, the addition of on-campus housing, enhancements to on-campus athletics, increased enrollments, and the growth of its reputation for academic quality.

Sandra’s leadership has earned her the respect of many of her campus colleagues and many members of the New Albany and surrounding communities.

I know that many people on this campus will miss having her as a daily colleague, but we are very pleased that, after a one-year leave, Sandra will continue her service to IU Southeast as a member of the faculty.

Sandra Patterson-Randles

Sandra was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs of Skokie and Crystal Lake, Illinois. She was the oldest of seven children, and she has suggested that her aptitude for academic administration grew out of her role as an oldest child with no small measure of responsibility for her six younger siblings.

After the devastating Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965 destroyed her family’s home and her father’s electrical contracting business, her family moved to Colorado.

Following high school, she attended the University of Colorado at Boulder as a member of the honors program, and became the first member of her immediate family to graduate from college, earning a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and literatures. She would later earn master’s degrees in English and in classical languages and literatures, as well as a doctoral degree in English, from the University of Kentucky.

She has taught from the high school to graduate level and has held teaching or administrative positions in six states at eight different institutions, including the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado.

In 2002, she became the first woman to be named chancellor of Indiana University Southeast.

Strategic Planning, Reaccreditation, Facilities Upgrades

As chancellor, Sandra oversaw the development and implementation of a comprehensive, long-range strategic campus plan—the first in the history of the campus.

All of us have heard about strategic planning documents that wind up gathering dust on a shelf. Such was not the case with the IU Southeast strategic plan for 2005-2009. Though the ambitious plan included more than 200 initiatives, 95% of them had been completed or were in progress by the end of the five-year period.

Under the plan—and under Sandra’s leadership—the campus attained a number of important milestones, including record-breaking enrollments, national rankings and awards, and a greatly enhanced reputation in the region for quality education.

At about the time the campus was beginning work on its subsequent strategic plan, IU Southeast was also undergoing a reaccreditation review by the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission. The NCA review team was very impressed with IU Southeast’s strategic planning and no interim visits or reports were required—which is highly unusual. In fact, the chair of the NCA team, who had been conducting accreditation reviews for 20 years, had high praise for the way the campus was run.

During Sandra’s tenure, a number of academic programs on the campus have been recognized for their excellence, including the nursing program, the campus' School of Arts and Letters, and the part-time MBA program. Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek magazine ranked the part-time MBA program as the 9th leading part-time MBA program in the country, the third highest ranked part-time program in the Midwest, and it was the only program in Indiana or the Greater Louisville area to achieve a top-10 national ranking.

In addition, new degree programs in criminal justice, informatics, and other areas have been added during Sandra’s tenure.

Of course, Sandra also led the essential work to upgrade the facilities on the IU Southeast campus, including the construction of a new state-of-the-art library that was dedicated in 2005, and the creation of the first on-campus housing. The library was the largest renovation project in the history of the campus and it was honored by American School and University less than two years after it had opened. The apartment-style lodges that opened in 2008 made IU Southeast the only full-service, public four-year school in southeast Indiana. The work on the lodges was completed by local vendors, and the short-term economic impact of their construction was around $44 million. The lodges quickly became very popular with students and they continue to operate at capacity—and they continue to have a multi-million dollar annual impact on the regional economy. More importantly, they allow students to live comfortably so that they can apply themselves fully to their studies.


These are just a few of Sandra’s accomplishments here in New Albany, but they convey the impact she has had on this campus and this university and they reflect the notable growth that has taken place at IU Southeast during Sandra’s tenure as chancellor.

As she steps down as chancellor, she leaves the campus well positioned for even greater success in the future.