Toward Enduring Excellence: The Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University

State of the University
Hine Hall
Indianapolis, Indiana
October 14, 2014


Thank you, Marianne (Wokeck) for that introduction. I am once again very pleased to present to my fellow faculty members and colleagues, and the broader university community, my annual state of the university address.

I am delighted to welcome a number of members of the Indiana University Board of Trustees who have joined us this afternoon. With us are:

  • Randy Tobias, chair of the trustees;
  • Phil Eskew;
  • Janice Farlow, and
  • Andy Mohr.

Would you join me in welcoming our trustees?

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan For Indiana University

In my September 2010 State of the University address, I outlined the Principles of Excellence, six core principles that would guide the university in the years to come: ensuring an excellent education; recruiting and retaining a great faculty; maximizing research; increasing international engagement; supporting the health sciences and health care; and strengthening the university’s efforts in engagement and economic development.

These principles, endorsed by the Board of Trustees, will continue to ensure that Indiana University remains one of this country’s finest universities.

As most of you know, Indiana University will celebrate its bicentennial during the 2019-2020 academic year. During that year, students, faculty, staff and alumni and friends from all IU campuses will have cause to celebrate this unique milestone in the life of the university and to reflect on all that IU has achieved in the previous 200 years.

In last year’s State of the University address, I directed all IU campuses to collectively develop strategic plans for the next five years, identifying goals to be completed and recognized during IU’s bicentennial year.

Those planning efforts have now been integrated into a single Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University, the preparation of which was overseen by the office of Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs John Applegate. He, Dr. Michael Rushton from SPEA, and all their staff deserve our special thanks for the excellent work they have done to assist in this large and complex task.

Indiana University has been engaged for the last several years in ongoing efforts to reevaluate how we achieve our core missions. As a result of those efforts, much has already been accomplished. Still more is in progress, all with the same goal as the Bicentennial Strategic Plan—to build the foundation for Indiana University’s enduring strength, and to set IU on the course for greatness in its third century. 

These strategic planning efforts have included the New Academic Directions Report, which precipitated the most comprehensive academic restructuring in the university’s history; the Blueprint for Student Attainment, which is helping to ensure that IU’s regional campuses remain accessible to a wide range of Indiana students and that they provide an excellent education; IT strategic plans that helped make the university a national leader in the uses and applications of IT; and the IU International Strategic Plan, which has helped to make IU one of the nation’s most international universities.

A new IUPUI Strategic Plan, Our Commitment to Indiana and Beyond, is aligned with the university-wide Bicentennial Strategic Plan, as this campus prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. And a new IU Bloomington Campus Strategic Plan sets objectives for the campus’ third century as a flourishing vibrant center of education and research. The regional campuses have each drafted or are in the drafting process for strategic plans that address their individual circumstances.

As a result of these efforts, much of what is brought together in the Bicentennial Strategic Plan has already been announced, approved, and is underway.

All of these planning efforts are consistent with and guided by the Principles of Excellence, and these principles likewise provide the starting point and the organizational structure for the Bicentennial Strategic Plan.

All of these planning efforts, too, have involved the work of many hundreds of people across all campuses of Indiana University over the last year. I would like to convey to all of them my most grateful thanks for their selfless and thoughtful contributions to what is one of the most important and large-scale planning exercises ever carried out at the university.

Let me emphasize, too, that the plan is not in its final form. The current draft is now available on the Web at It will be distributed widely and comments on it invited—this is a plan for the whole university for the next five years, so input from the university community is essential. Comments may be submitted at the website between now and November 22, and in other forums between now and then. A revised version of the plan is expected to be submitted to the Board of Trustees for their consideration and final approval during their December meeting.

In what follows, I will describe seven proposed Bicentennial Priorities, which constitute the core of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, and, as I do so, I will describe the reasons that make them priorities. The plan contains many other actions, many aimed to conclude by or before the bicentennial, but these seven Bicentennial Priorities are vital to IU’s third century. They are initiatives that the university will specially support and for which we will track progress through relevant metrics. Each campus’s and unit’s strategic plan and annual budget must advance these priorities, to the extent and in the manner consistent with their respective missions.

Bicentennial Priority One: A Commitment to Student Success

The first Bicentennial Priority is to further reinforce IU’s already strong commitment to student success, which is at the core of Indiana University’s mission.

For nearly two centuries IU has been educating the sons and daughters of Indiana—and students from across the nation and around the world­­—at the highest levels of quality.

Great public universities like Indiana University educate students for what lies beyond the horizon. As the world around us changes, and as new avenues for better understanding the world and contributing to its improvement arise, what we teach and the manner in which we teach it must also evolve.

The New Academic Directions Report of 2011, a major effort to scrutinize and renew IU’s educational programs, led to the establishment of six new schools on the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses.

This process of self-examination and renewal must be ongoing. Thus, as part of the Bicentennial Priority focused on student success, we will continue—as we have done in recent years—to conduct systematic reviews of our existing programs and realign schools and programs as necessary to leverage the university’s strengths, to ensure that what we are teaching is relevant, and to respond to the needs of our students and the needs of the state.

Recent studies consistently show that a college degree has never been more valuable to students. But we must ensure that students are able to afford to pursue and complete degrees. 

We have had great success in this regard through five key strategies that comprise our Affordable IU initiative. These strategies include:

  • Keeping tuition increases as low as possible. IU’s most recent tuition increases have been at the lowest levels in nearly 40 years.
  • Providing extensive financial aid for qualified students. IU has doubled institutional gift aid to students over the last seven years.
  • Ensuring that comprehensive measures are in place to assist all students in graduating on time. Our Finish in Four program effectively freezes tuition for juniors and seniors on track to graduate in four years.
  • Providing programs in financial literacy aimed at managing and reducing student loan debt. IU’s Money Smarts programs reduced student debt across all IU campuses by $31 million in just one year. 
  • Implementing strategies to reduce other costs of attendance at IU. Costs of textbooks and software have been significantly reduced, and residence hall rate increases have been kept low.

As part of our Bicentennial Strategic Plan, we will build upon these efforts to ensure that an Indiana University education is accessible and affordable for qualified students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, including first-generation college students, veterans, and students from underrepresented minorities. In fact, it is our goal by the bicentennial to ensure that the student populations on all our campuses more closely reflect the ethnic composition of their regions. All students must be given the best chance to succeed in their chosen educational path.

We will also extend our efforts to seek efficiencies in the delivery of academic programs, especially in regard to the development of fully online and hybrid courses. IU Online coordinates and catalyzes IU’s efforts in this area. Online delivery of courses is not, though, a panacea for the financial challenges higher education faces. Such courses still require faculty and staff support, and students still need the personnel and facilities that provide a complete college experience. But online and hybrid delivery allows IU to expand its offerings across campuses in a cost-effective way, through developing systems of sharing online resources.

Bicentennial Priority Two: Catalyzing Research

The second priority of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan is to further strengthen and expand research at Indiana University.

IU is one of the nation’s most eminent research universities, a long-standing member of the select Association of American Universities (AAU), and the home of outstanding, internationally recognized researchers and scholars.

The benefits to all the people of Indiana of having a great research university in the state are profound. Research universities train graduate students at the highest levels to continue the research enterprise, spur economic growth, generate new industries, and they educate and train a world-class workforce.

Although there are many opportunities to be seized in the coming years, the environment for research universities is increasingly competitive and challenging.

Global competition for scholarly and creative talent has increased while federal funding for university research nationwide has declined. It is essential, then, that Indiana University take an active and vigorous role in supporting faculty and graduate students in securing grant funding.

Research has also become increasingly multidisciplinary and based on teams of investigators focused on so-called “grand challenges”—challenges chosen for their huge potential to advance a discipline, such as President Obama’s Brain Initiative, or address a major problem of humanity, such as the effective treatment and prevention of AIDS. The funding of research has shifted in this direction as well.

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan calls on Indiana University’s academic leadership and faculty to work together to identify the grand challenges to which IU can contribute most effectively, and to provide support to multidisciplinary and multicampus teams to address those challenges.

IU will provide targeted seed funding to assist faculty in expanding and diversifying external research funding from all sources. We will invest in the physical and IT infrastructure necessary for 21st century research, and we will intensively pursue cluster hires to strengthen current areas or establish new strengths.

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan also recognizes that the arts and humanities are enormous strengths at IU. It is no exaggeration to say that the last decade has been a golden age for support for these disciplines at IU, with the university and generous supporters investing well over $100 million in a range of facilities to support the arts and humanities, and with hundreds of successful projects funded by the New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities program. For example, just yesterday it was announced that Herron School of Art and Design Professor Anila Quayyum Agha had just won a $300,000 prize for an installation at a major international art competition—maybe the largest prize ever won by an IU artist—that was funded with a grant from the New Frontiers program. She deserves our enthusiastic congratulations on this splendid achievement. Not surprisingly, then, in the face of such extraordinary success, the Bicentennial Strategic Plan proposes to continue the New Frontiers program for another five years, through to the bicentennial.

Bicentennial Priority Three: Re-imagining Education

The third Bicentennial Priority recognizes that Indiana University’s Schools of Education play an enormously important role in the state. They have the leading role in training teachers and school administrators, and in producing innovative research on teacher training, pedagogy, curriculum and administration.

Indiana University’s core campus School of Education is consistently ranked in the Top 25 nationally, and a number of its specialties are ranked in the top ten. Among its alumni are numerous recipients of the Indiana Teacher of the Year Award and Milken Educator Awards, known as the “Oscars of Teaching.” And the schools of education on IU’s regional campuses, in many cases, provide the majority of teachers in their regions.

Despite these strengths, the state and Indiana University face serious challenges in the field of education. While Indiana ranks overall in the top ten nationally in terms of four-year high school graduation rates1, the graduation rates in some school systems are of deep concern, while college completion rates are below national averages and raise questions about the college- or job-readiness of Indiana’s high school graduates.

Education policy is also in a state of transition, as the federal and state governments and others advocate for reforms in teacher accountability, rigorous assessment to ensure college- and career-readiness, improving achievement in low-performing schools, and the reward and retention in schools of the best educators.

In part because of these issues, and in part because of fluctuating economic opportunities, enrollments in degree programs in IU’s Schools of Education have been on a significant downward trend with undergraduate and graduate enrollment declining by around 30 percent over the last few years. This is, in turn, causing severe financial strain for these schools on all campuses.

The central importance to the people of Indiana of having an effective system of early childhood, elementary, and secondary education cannot be overstated. It is vital for Indiana’s economic, social, and cultural development, and for the quest for equal opportunity and socio-economic mobility. Given IU’s commitment to outstanding professional education and research, it is essential that the university look deeply into how its schools of education can best serve the needs of students who wish to pursue careers in education as well as the needs of the educational system of this state, the nation, and the world. By doing so, IU will not only advance its responsibility for leadership in education in Indiana, but will also attract talented new students who are inspired to help address the challenges facing P-12 education.

Thus, as part of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, before we begin the search for the next dean of the core campus School of Education, I will appoint a Blue Ribbon Review Committee of external experts and practitioners to conduct a comprehensive review of directions and trends in teacher education and education research. This review will not only be relevant to the search for next dean of the School of Education on the core campuses, but it will also inform the future structure, direction, and approach of the schools of education on all campuses.

The review committee’s report will form the basis for a thorough, university-wide re-evaluation, in full accordance with IU’s traditions of shared governance, of the structure and organization of education at IU, and the education programs, degrees, and non-degree credentials that Indiana University offers.

This process of strategic renewal will enable Indiana University to best serve the educational challenges of the next century.

Bicentennial Priority Four: Fulfilling The Promise of The Global University 

The fourth Bicentennial Priority is to reinforce and strengthen our international engagement efforts. 

Today, increased international integration and global interconnectivity are among the major forces driving and shaping our contemporary society. Understanding and responding to these forces is of paramount concern to all of us. 

Recognizing that global literacy and collaboration have never been more important to higher education in the United States, we inaugurated the School of Global and International Studies last year. The school now provides our students with deep knowledge and sophisticated tools to understand, critically evaluate, and ethically participate in this complex and interconnected world. The school also provides the nexus for many of our international engagement efforts. 

Indiana University has a long history of international institutional engagement, in the form of exchanges and partnerships with peer institutions around the globe. We now have over 200 such partnerships, and they can be found on every continent and in nearly every part of the world. Such relationships are vitally important to our research and education missions. They support faculty research, provide venues for study abroad programs, and are of great advantage in our faculty and student recruitment efforts. 

Our international engagement efforts will remain focused on 32 priority countries, which have been determined primarily on the basis of an extensive, data-driven analysis of the main study abroad destinations for IU students, countries from which international students at IU come, locations of international alumni, and major higher education institutions in these countries, among other factors. 

Our aim is to establish and sustain relationships with overseas institutions of comparable quality to IU, or whose strengths and capabilities complement IU’s in some important way. This ensures that the agreements we have in place are more than symbolic. 

Our International Strategic Plan called for the establishment of chapters of the IU Alumni Association in all 32 priority countries, and we have now established chapters in all but one. I have had the pleasure of personally inaugurating a number of these chapters. I have also made it my goal to visit each of these 32 countries personally and have thus far visited 25 of them. 

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan also calls for the expansion of IU’s Global Gateway Network. Earlier this year, we officially dedicated the Indiana University China Office in Beijing. Later this month, we will officially dedicate the IU India office in New Delhi. These offices support a variety of activities, including scholarly research and teaching, study abroad programs, distance learning initiatives, student recruitment activities, executive and corporate training, and alumni events. We are also exploring the possibilities of opening such offices in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and South East Asia.

Bicentennial Priority Five: Health Sciences Research and Education to Improve The State and Nation’s Health

The fifth Bicentennial Priority is to strategically invest in health sciences research and education to improve the health of citizens of Indiana and the nation. 

The educational, research, and clinical activities of Indiana University’s health science and clinical schools—which include the IU schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, optometry, social work, public health, and health and rehabilitation sciences—are one of the major ways in which IU contributes to the social and economic development of the state of Indiana. 

IU has also launched a major effort to address our state’s very poor performance among all states in measures of the leading causes of illness and death as well as measures of the determinants of health through the establishment of the Fairbanks School of Public Health here on the Indianapolis campus, and the School of Public Health at IU Bloomington. 

IU’s impact is amplified even further by its close partnership with Indiana University Health, the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system. This partnership allows research at the School of Medicine to be translated into new and improved treatments, procedures, and cures within IU Health hospitals and facilities. In turn, the revenues generated from the provision of such advanced health services and access to state-of-the-art treatments and facilities are invested in further research and training. 

But, in light of the major shift in the funding of health care in the U.S. with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, of efforts by employers to control rising health care costs, and of a decrease in the budget of the major national source of funding for medical research, the academic health center model of IU and IU Health faces a challenging environment for the generation of future revenues. As a result of these and other factors, IU Health will need to cut $1 billion in expenses in future years, a process that has already begun.

Compounding these problems is the fact that the two major IU Health hospitals, University Hospital and Methodist Hospital, are aging, have excess capacity, and contain numerous redundancies given their close proximity. Because of this, IU Health and the IU School of Medicine are evaluating possibilities for a consolidation of services or a new replacement facility. This would, of course, be a major endeavor.

All of which makes it essential for Indiana University to prioritize the areas in the health sciences in which it supports research. And so, the Bicentennial Strategic Plan specifies that the IU School of Medicine, and, where relevant, IU’s other clinical schools, will build research capacity in selected areas of the health sciences, with emphasis on population health management, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and the neurosciences. Here, as elsewhere, we will use cluster hires and other innovative mechanisms such as joint appointments between schools to recruit and retain researchers, educators, and clinicians in these key areas.

IU will continue to invest in the infrastructure to foster collaboration in research and education programs among the clinical schools and other academic units. We will seek to develop new inter-professional degrees and special qualifications in the health sciences. We will work closely with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute to facilitate public-private and other interinstitutional partnerships to accelerate the translation of discoveries into practice. And we will lead a statewide expansion of primary care residencies to help address the shortage of primary care physicians.

Bicentennial Priority Six: Building a Prosperous and Innovative Indiana

The sixth Bicentennial Priority is to enhance our efforts to help build a more prosperous and innovative Indiana. 

As a public university, IU contributes to the economic development and cultural enrichment of the state of Indiana in myriad ways. IU coordinates economic development activities statewide through Innovate Indiana, which is an initiative of the IU Research and Development Corporation (IURTC), and Innovate Indiana, which are both part of IU’s Office of the Vice President for Engagement. IURTC’s mission is to accelerate the translation of innovations and intellectual property developed by IU faculty, staff, and students into new products, services, and companies to improve Indiana’s economy and our national competitiveness. 

Given the slow recovery from the Great Recession, the enormous impact of globalization on Indiana’s manufacturing-based economy, and the persistence of areas of poverty in both urban and rural areas of the state, Indiana University’s economic engagement efforts are now more vital than ever. 

As part of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, we will strategically transform IURTC to ensure that it provides the highest quality of support for entrepreneurial activity at IU.IURTC will reorganize its resources, and it will partner with the IU Foundation to establish a fund that will be available to provide capital to the many innovations generated by the university’s entrepreneurial faculty, staff, and students. As part of this reorganization, and in order to more fully integrate IURTC into the life of the university, IURTC’s headquarters will move from its current off-campus location on Tenth Street to the IUPUI campus.

Bicentennial Priority Seven: Toward a Culture of Building and Making 

The seventh Bicentennial Priority is also strongly related to economic development, and addresses, more broadly, IU’s commitment to supporting an entrepreneurial culture.

In an era in which there is a national shortage of STEM graduates, in which design has emerged as a critical component of product competitiveness, and in which there is an expectation that research universities should contribute to state and local economic development, the lack of programs in design and engineering at IU Bloomington must be addressed.

The need for this in the campus’s own back yard, let alone statewide, is well attested to by a major recent report by the nonprofit research and development organization, Battelle. It recommended that IU should: “Expand and/or develop IU Bloomington offerings in applied engineering, applied technologies, science, and systems engineering design and development areas.”2

Today, America’s research universities are, without question, major engines of the nation’s prosperity. And, today, all research universities are expected to support a culture of “building and making” that takes the innovations and inventions in their labs and disseminates them through new companies, products, and services that contribute to state and national economic development, generate jobs, and provide income for the university. Two disciplines that play an especially important role in creating and sustaining a culture of “building and making” at research universities are design and engineering. 

Here on the IUPUI campus, the Herron School of Art and Design has trained and inspired many members of the design industry’s current and next generations. IUPUI students also have the opportunity to study engineering through the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. Not coincidently, the IUPUI campus has developed a record of success in commercialization. 

Such programs are vital if IU Bloomington, in turn, is to reach its full potential to provide relevant and rewarding educational opportunities, to contribute more extensively to the state’s economic development, and to contribute to the state and national need for STEM graduates. IU Bloomington must develop a robust campus culture of building and making—not to replace the grand traditions of exploration, reflection, analysis, and creativity that are so strong on the campus, but rather to expand and deepen those traditions. 

Of the 62 member research universities of the AAU, only four do not have programs in engineering. And of those four, two have joint programs with other institutions. Indiana University Bloomington, then, is one of only two AAU institutions that do not teach engineering. The majority of AAU institutions also teach the closely allied discipline of design, taken in a broad sense. Bloomington does so, but only in a limited way. 

Of course, in the School of Informatics and Computing, and in departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, including physics and chemistry, IU Bloomington already has many of the components necessary to rapidly establish specific programs in engineering. There would certainly be no intention to compete with large engineering programs elsewhere in the nation, such as those in infrastructure intensive areas of engineering like aeronautical, chemical, civil, industrial, and mechanical engineering. Rather, through the School of Informatics and Computing and other academic units, what should be considered is a more general program in modern IT-enabled systems engineering that builds directly on IU Bloomington’s existing strengths. There are, in fact, well over 100 faculty on the Bloomington campus with engineering or comparable qualifications. 

Thus, as part of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, I will appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee to assess the feasibility of establishing a new program in IT-related engineering on the IU Bloomington campus. 

Plans to establish more extensive programs in design at IU Bloomington are already well advanced. The Department of Apparel Merchandizing and Interior Design and the Department of Studio Art have voted overwhelmingly to establish a new School of Art and Design, which would be located within the College of Arts and Sciences, in the same way that the Media School and the School of Global and International Studies are now located within the College. This school would also include IU’s exceptional Center for Art and Design in Columbus—a city renowned for its innovative contemporary interior and exterior design. The proposal for this new school is now moving into its final approval stages and it is expected that a proposal will go to the Trustees for their consideration for approval in the coming months.

The establishment of programs in design and engineering at IU Bloomington are issues that have been raised and discussed in general terms for many years. The time has come to address them directly, seriously, and definitively—and to take action if it is indicated. They can no longer be avoided or deferred—national and state needs demand it.

The Framework of Excellence

These, then, are the seven major priorities of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan.

The Principles of Excellence also include four additional areas that form part of the crucial framework that is vital to academic excellence. That framework includes advancement, physical facilities and infrastructure, information technology and libraries, and responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us. These comprise the Framework of Excellence—and the Bicentennial Strategic Plan addresses these elements as well. I will touch on each of these briefly.

Excellence in Advancement

Private philanthropy and alumni support have long provided the margin of excellence at Indiana University. They have allowed us to realize our full potential to improve lives and communities here and around the world.

Last fall, here in Indianapolis, we celebrated the closing of the IUPUI Impact Campaign, which raised $1.39 billion for the Indianapolis campus. In 2010, we concluded the Matching the Promise Campaign, which raised $1.14 billion for the Bloomington campus. These two campaigns, as I announced in my September 2010 State of the University Address, were the first phases of what will ultimately be a $5 billion campaign to be completed by IU’s bicentennial. The success of these two campaigns has put us more than halfway to that ambitious goal. The campaign to achieve this goal is now in its silent phase and we will launch its public phase in the fall of next year.

Building for Excellence

The second component of the Framework of Excellence is “Building for Excellence.” Our goal is to ensure that IU has the new and renovated physical facilities and infrastructure that are vitally important for both the research and educational mission of the university.

In my inauguration address in 2007, I announced that, given the vast scale of our infrastructure, its extensive and critical maintenance needs—including a then-deferred maintenance bill of nearly $1 billion—and our huge needs for new research space, the time had come to more systematically plan in order to address all of these problems.

Since that time, we have seen what has most likely been the most sustained period of the renovation, renewal and repurposing of our existing facilities, and of the construction of new facilities, in IU’s history. The last seven years have seen the construction or renovation, either completed or in progress, of 56 major new facilities across all of our campuses as well as hundreds of smaller renovation projects, with a total value of over $1.7 billion. Of this, about 70 percent has been funded with private or internal resources.

Great progress has also been made on our plan to upgrade and renovate all student residence halls on the Bloomington campus, most of which had been unchanged since the 1960s. We are more than halfway through this process, and our goal is to complete all these upgrades by the bicentennial. And planning has started to begin a significant increase in student housing at IUPUI.

The plan also calls for the elimination—subject to the provision in part of State and other external funding—of IU’s deferred maintenance on all campuses, presently totaling about $625 million.

The Centrality of Information

The third component of the Framework of Excellence is focused on the centrality of information, and it seeks to ensure that the Principles of Excellence are supported by outstanding information technology and information resources.

For centuries, the library has been one of the main intellectual focal points of the university. Its function was to serve as a storehouse of information and to assist in the discovery of information. While the role of the library as a physical repository of knowledge has by no means been eliminated, it has been utterly transformed in the digital age, and that transformation will go on.

IU is committed to libraries that fully leverage the opportunities of this digital age. This was the context in which we initiated the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, which I announced in last year’s State of the University address, the recent re-purposing of library space for broader student and other uses, and the construction of IU’s auxiliary library facilities.

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan also calls for the completion of the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative and the development and commencement of a university-wide Digitization Master Plan. The ambitious goal of these interrelated initiatives is to digitize, preserve, and make universally available by the bicentennial (consistent with copyright or other legal restrictions) all of the perishable media objects on all campuses of IU judged important by experts. They leverage IU’s decades-long investment in information technology infrastructure. We expect that this initiative will truly make IU the preeminent leader in this field, and thus open up many new opportunities for partnership and collaboration. 

Responsible Stewardship

The final component of the Framework of Excellence is to ensure that we are responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to us, and that all public and private resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible.

As is the case with public universities throughout the U.S., every one of the five major sources of IU’s revenue—tuition, state funding, federal research finding, clinical revenue, and philanthropy—remains under pressure or threat.

We must, therefore, make the most of our resources by discovering economies, leveraging our scale, and ensuring strategic alignment of resource allocation. We must also enhance our revenue through the exemplary execution of our existing mission while we seek new revenue producing opportunities. And we must ensure the highest standards of operational efficiency.

IU’s core missions are supported by a broad array of necessary, and often externally mandated, administrative functions. This requires that we recruit and retain experts and professionals in their respective fields. The recruitment and retention of talented staff and the best faculty requires competitive compensation and benefits, positions that are professionally challenging and intellectually rewarding, as well as programs that support an inclusive, family-friendly, and healthy workforce and work environment. It also requires systematic programs of career development and succession planning. The Human Resources Office will be asked to review all these programs for effectiveness and to make recommendations on the need for additional programs.

While American college campuses are and remain safe places where millions of individuals work and study, we have, in recent years, taken many steps to more effectively protect the health and safety of students and other members of the university community. We aim to prevent to the extent possible, and to respond effectively to, a wide range of hazards. All of our campuses have worked to create environments where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. We have also taken strong anticipatory steps to strengthen the policing and environmental health and safety functions on all campuses. And we have created new and robust emergency management, data security, and enterprise risk management capacities. 

It is also essential, in the current environment, to communicate effectively IU’s strengths and accomplishments to a wide variety of audiences, including the many constituencies that have a just claim on a public university’s attention and responsiveness. A comprehensive marketing strategy will soon be implemented that will take full advantage of IU’s brand and be aligned with the university’s top priorities. 

Conclusion: Toward Enduring Excellence

These, then, are the seven main priorities of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University, as well as the crucial framework that is integral to the university’s enduring excellence.

Great universities, like Indiana University, are not narrowly focused. They offer a broad scope of instruction and undertake research in depth over a large and growing array of subjects. They provide essential clinical services and professional education in a wide range of fields.

Great public universities, like Indiana University, are also rightly called upon to contribute in major ways to the lives of their states. They serve as doors of opportunity for thousands and thousands of the best students in the state of all income levels and of all backgrounds. They produce well-educated graduates who contribute to the growth of the economies of their states and are active and engaged citizens in democratic society.

And finally, great universities, like Indiana University, are expected to endure. While universities are among the oldest continuously operating institutions in the world, we are entering a period marked by rapid change, unprecedented global competition, and increasingly stressed resources.

Indiana University has endured for nearly 200 years. The Bicentennial Strategic Plan gives focus to our efforts to ensure that Indiana University will continue to endure—and thrive—for another 200 years, and more. As we work to implement the Bicentennial Priorities that I have described today, we will, as always, rely upon the ongoing support of faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends. I look forward to continuing to work closely with all of you as we set Indiana University on the course for greatness in its third century.

Thank you very much.

Source Notes

  1. Marie C. Stetser, Robert Stilwell, “Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010-11 and 2011-12,” National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 2014, URL:
  2. Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana, Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, 2014.