Leading for Change: Innovation and Research

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Opening Remarks for Symposium on Establishment of the Field of Higher Education Leadership and Management
IPB International Convention Center
Bogor, Indonesia
May 28, 2015

Introduction and Acknowledgements

Thank you, Professor Suhardiyanto, for that kind introduction, and, on behalf of Indiana University and our delegation, let me extend our thanks to you and your colleagues at the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), for hosting us today and for your partnership with Indiana University in the Higher Education Leadership and Management Project.

It is a great pleasure to be back in Indonesia—I was here just a few years ago—and to be here in Bogor on the campus of IPB for this groundbreaking symposium. This is the first symposium of its kind in Indonesia, and it promises to be an invigorating and intellectually stimulating exchange of ideas. Indiana University is proud to be part of the USAID-funded HELM Project—as leader of the Indiana Alliance with our colleagues at the University of Illinois and Ohio State University—to help develop post-graduate programs in higher education leadership and management.

On behalf of Indiana University, I also want to acknowledge and express my thanks to the distinguished leaders of the Indonesian universities with which Indiana University is proud to partner in the HELM Project.

In addition to Professor Herry Suhardiyanto, the rector of IPB and Chair of the Council of State Rectors, I want to acknowledge the representatives of our partner universities in the HELM project, Gajah Mada University, the Education University of Indonesia, and the State University of Padang.

I also want to thank the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education for their support in this initiative.

The HELM project, as I mentioned, is under the auspices of USAID, and I would like to thank the following people who are with us today.

  • Dr. Peter Cronin, Foreign Service Officer for Education for USAID Indonesia;
  • Remy Rohadian, who is also in the Office of Education for USAID Indonesia;
  • Andrea Bosch, the HELM Chief of Party; and
  • Parapat Gultom, the Deputy Chief of Party for HELM.

I am also mindful that this symposium takes place as part of a meeting of the Indonesian Council of State Rectors. So let me add what an honor it is to have this opportunity to address all the rectors of all the state universities in Indonesia.

Indiana University has partnerships or relationships with a number of your institutions and many of you have partnerships and relationships with other great American universities. On behalf of my fellow university presidents in the United States, let me say that we greatly value these partnerships and relationships. We hope that they can be expanded and deepened and that more of them can be developed in the years ahead.

Indiana University and Indonesia

At Indiana University and other American universities, we warmly welcome Indonesian students and academic staff to our campuses. We strongly encourage more to come to the United States to study and pursue their research.

As President Obama, who, of course, lived here in Indonesia for a number of years, said in his speech at the University of Indonesia in 2010: “We want more Indonesian students in American [universities,] and we want more American students to come study in this country.” He continued: “We want to forge new ties and greater understanding between young people in this young century.”1

Indiana University and Indonesia themselves have a long and rich history of partnership, and, of course, we have welcomed many Indonesian scholars and students to IU over the years.

Our longstanding ties date back to a visit to Indonesia by IU’s 11th president, Herman B Wells, in the 1950s.

In the early 1960s, IU was involved in many educational institution-building projects in Indonesia, including the development of the National Institute for Public Administration. More recently, the IU School of Education has been part of the U.S./Indonesia Teacher Education Consortium, which was established to strengthen Indonesian education and teacher quality.

The School of Engineering and Technology on our Indianapolis campus partners with the University of Gadja Mada on joint teaching activities. In 2012, we signed an agreement that expanded that partnership. This was during a visit I made to Indonesia—the first by a sitting IU president since the 1950s.

And most recently, of course, we have been honored to be partners in the HELM project.

Indiana University has gained much from all of these partnerships. We are deeply grateful for the many collegial professional relationships and the enduring personal friendships that have been fostered through all these collaborations and all our other partnerships and relationships in Indonesia.

Indiana University has nearly 1,000 alumni associated with Indonesia, many of whom have prominent positions in business and government in Indonesia and who are successful and distinguished.

IU also has a large and active Indonesian chapter of our alumni association based in Jakarta. In fact, we just came here from Bali, where we participated in a very successful conference of our Asia-Pacific alumni, attended by nearly 300 people, and organized and hosted by the IU Alumni Association chapter of Indonesia.

I should mention that we had the great pleasure and privilege to present awards to two particularly distinguished women associated with IU—alumna Ibu Nurhaida, CEO of the Indonesia Financial Authority (who, incidentally, has invited me to open the Indonesian Stock Exchange tomorrow)—and the extremely successful businesswoman, Martha Tilaar.

Incidentally, I also presented an award to another very distinguished IU woman alumna, Dato Professor Dr. Asma Ismail, the Director General of Higher Education in Malaysia.

I have been asked to speak today about Indiana University’s commitment to innovation and research and the strategies and approaches we have used in recent years to make some major changes in our university.

My comments will reflect our experiences at Indiana University, but I believe much of what I will say is relevant for other major research universities and many other institutions of higher education as well, like those here in Indonesia.

Background on Indiana University

But before I do this, let me also, by way of providing some context, say just a little about Indiana University.

We are a major, multi-campus public research institution, and a world leader in professional, medical, and technological education with an extensive history of research and scholarship of the highest order in nearly all disciplines. This history includes eight Nobel Prizes and over 50 programs ranked in the top 20 of their disciplines nationally. We are one of the 62 members of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

IU is one of the largest public university systems in the United States with a budget of over $3 billion, eight campuses around Indiana, eight medical education centers (which are extensions centers of our School of Medicine—the second largest in the nation) and a number of smaller facilities. Last fall we enrolled over 114,000 students (more than 8,500 of whom were international students, and over 100 from Indonesia), and employed over 6,000 academic staff and 11,000 administrative staff. We have nearly 650,000 living alumni around the world, nearly 1,000 of whom, as I said before, are affiliated with Indonesia.

Our flagship campus is in Bloomington, with over 46,000 students; and our urban campus in Indianapolis has over 30,000 students.

Our allied health system, Indiana University Health, is the largest and most highly ranked hospital system in Indiana with hospitals or other medical facilities in nearly every part of the state, as well as being one of the largest hospital systems in the country. IU and IU Health are collectively the largest employer in the state of Indiana.

New Academic Directions

Preserving and enhancing the academic core of our university has been our highest priority. This academic core is reflected in the various faculties—we call them schools in the United States—and campuses that comprise Indiana University as well as the various administrative units that support them. At IU, these units are well managed, and many are very highly ranked. But especially on the IU Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, they had mostly remained the same and unchanged for many years.

I have often asked the question of audiences at IU, if we were establishing a new university in Indiana with a budget, like we have, of $3 billion dollars, would it look exactly like IU does today—based as it is, in many ways, on a 19th century model of higher education?

I have yet to find a person who claims that it would.

Now of course, there are many different opinions as to what it would look like.

So, in order to develop a coherent plan for institutional change towards a more contemporary vision of IU and its role in the state, nation and world, I announced the establishment of a committee known as the “New Academic Directions Committee” in 2010.

I asked the members of the committee—which was made up of some of our most distinguished academic staff and university leaders—to examine four things:

  • whether we were offering the right kinds of degrees and educational opportunities that one should expect of a university that aspires to be one of the finest universities of the 21st century,
  • whether the structure and organization of the academic units at IU allowed this to happen in the most effective way,
  • whether there were areas in which we should be considering establishing new faculties or other units in which our peer institutions nationally and internationally had already established flourishing academic programs, and
  • whether some of our present faculties should be transformed in ways that would allow them to take better advantage of some of the major national and international changes happening in business and industry.

This was one of the most important exercises of its kind ever carried out at Indiana University.

Our academic staff, university leaders, and administrative staff deserve a great deal of credit for asking the tough questions about our academic structures, their overall effectiveness, and the inefficiencies that accumulate in any organization over time.

Their groundbreaking report has allowed IU to effectively preserve and strengthen the university’s core missions of excellence in education, research, and engagement. It is allowing us to pursue new ideas, innovations, and partnerships that will greatly enhance our state and nation’s economy.

Within a very short time after it was approved, the New Academic Directions report led to major changes of remarkable scale and speed at both the IU Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.

The Establishment of Six New Schools

We have so far seen in less than four years the establishment of six new faculties. This is more academic change than we have seen at IU since the earliest days of the university’s founding over a century ago.

We have established, for example, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on our Indianapolis campus. It is the first school of its kind in the United States—devoted to the academic study of philanthropy—and it is named in honor of the Lilly family, who founded the multinational Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company, one of the great philanthropic families in Indiana and the U.S.

We also established two school of public health—one in Indianapolis and one in Bloomington—driven, in part, by a desire to improve public health in the United States and in the state of Indiana. We expect these two schools to make major contributions in this area.

We also merged our highly ranked School of Library and Information Science with our School of Informatics to form a new School of Informatics and Computing. This newly configured school is now one of the largest, broadest, and most successful of its kind in the country. It offers a wide range of programs—all geared toward giving students the knowledge and skills they need to innovate in and widely apply information technology.

We also created a new Media School—which brings together our highly ranked programs in journalism, telecommunications, film studies, and communication and culture. We established the Media School in response to the dramatic changes that the media industry has undergone in recent years, fueled by information technology. The Media School will ensure that IU is at the forefront of teaching and research about the understanding and production of media as it continues its dramatic transformation, and it will prepare our students for the rapid and ongoing changes in these fields.

And now, I come to one of the most important developments that resulted from the New Academic Directions Committee and, I believe, one of the most important developments in the nearly 200 years of IU’s history—the establishment of IU’s School of Global and International Studies.

The need for internationally minded and globally literate citizens is greater than ever. Today, without question, increased international integration and global interconnectivity are among the major forces driving and shaping our society. And understanding and responding to these forces is a major concern for us all.

The school brings together IU Bloomington’s extensive and remarkable strengths in global and international studies.

We teach more than 70 languages, including, I am pleased to say, Bahasa Indonesian. No other university in the country offers more—and some of the languages offered at IU are not taught at any other American university.

We also have outstanding strength in international area studies through our centers that engage in research and scholarship concentrating on a wide range of countries, cultures, and regions around the globe.

As part of the establishment of this new school, we have created a new Center for Southeast Asian and ASEAN Studies.2 This will be one of the very few centers at any American university focused on the study of ASEAN. It is based on an interest at IU in ASEAN and Southeast Asia going back to the early 1980s. In fact, we are presently in the process of establishing what we believe will be the first chair in ASEAN studies in the United States.

We also have more than 350 full-time research faculty working in the area of international studies.

The School of Global and International Studies brings all these programs together and positions IU as a leader in the study of global, economic, political, and cultural forces, transformation, and development.

While the impacts of the establishment of these six schools are far-reaching, the impetus behind their creation was the same: to provide our students with the most contemporary, relevant educational opportunities possible so that they are well-positioned for success in today's global marketplace upon their graduation.

Funding in American Higher Education

These changes, of course, are also designed to support our academic staff and their research, so let me now say a few about words research at IU, the sources of funding for universities like IU in American higher education, how these affect the research enterprise, and some of our major current research initiatives.

Let me first say that a distinctive and important feature of American higher education is the diversity of its sources of support. This diversity of funding is, in fact, one of the great strengths of the American system of higher education. It strengthens academic freedom by giving our universities greater autonomy. It strengthens our ability to serve other institutions. And diversity in our funding sources also serves to insulate American universities, to a certain degree, during times of economic difficulty.

There are four main sources of funding for Indiana University.

Funding from the State of Indiana is about 20 percent of our funding, but we also receive about 20 percent from the key federal research-funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation; over 50 percent from tuition revenue, that is student fees; about ten percent from private philanthropy and a number of other sources.

The Research Enterprise

At Indiana University, we are also committed, of course, to supporting collaborative research by our academic staff around the globe.

The United States and Europe are obviously no longer considered the only sources of new knowledge and innovation. Path breaking research and innovation is being produced in many other parts of the world—including right here in Indonesia—and so our academic staff need to necessarily work in an international research environment. We need strong international partnerships and affiliations. At IU we have about 230 such partnerships, including 60 main ones, and some of these are with institutions represented in this room.

Research, especially in the sciences, very often requires the pooling of expertise and resources around the world. Increasingly, important discoveries come from teams of researchers assembled across the globe.

This is an area where our academic staff are largely self-motivated. These days it is generally understood that nearly all academic staff members will likely work internationally to a greater or lesser degree during their whole career. And this is an area where the university should provide support, but should keep out of their way.

But there are two important things we can do as institutions.

One is to provide the best possible access to Internet technologies to our academic staff, as this is critical to support international collaboration. This drove the involvement that Indiana University has in the Internet2 network, which provides enormously high-speed internet connectivity to academic staff, to researchers, and to students in the United States, and connects them to their colleagues all over the world.

The second thing simply is to do everything we can to enable our faculty to travel physically, in addition to doing so virtually. Face-to-face collaboration is still a fundamental part of what academic staff need to do. At IU, we try to support the most able in carrying out such collaboration.

We hope in the future we will see more Indonesian academic staff working with colleagues in the United States.

At Indiana University, we are also focusing many of our future research efforts on the so-called “grand challenges” to which we can contribute most effectively—building on strengths in the humanities, the professions, and the social, natural, and clinical sciences.

Devising solutions to these grand challenges our society faces—challenges whose solutions have the potential to massively advance a discipline or solve the most vexing problems of humanity— challenges that can often only be addressed by large multidisciplinary teams of the best researchers—is one of the major ways universities can contribute to society.

Our commitment to addressing these grand challenges is part of our five-year Bicentennial Strategic Plan, which will conclude as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the university in 2020.

And successfully competing for external peer-reviewed funding from funding agencies like the NSF and NIH will be one of our major priorities.

As we encourage our faculty to find ways to increase external funding and other support for research and scholarship in all areas of inquiry, we must also ensure that these activities are strongly supported both academically through internal “seed” funding and investments in infrastructure, and administratively in areas such as research administration and compliance.

But ultimately, our research enterprise relies on external funding, peer-reviewed in order to objectively assess its strength, and awarded after intense competition.


So these are some of the challenges we have faced at Indiana University in recent years, some of the major changes and innovations we have made, and the strategies that drove those changes.

I certainly do not believe in change for its own sake. As I mentioned earlier, our commitment to the quality of the education and research we produce at Indiana University will never waver. This commitment is our enduring strength, as it is for all universities. But we live in exceptionally challenging times, and the technologies, academic and administrative structures, and processes that served us well in the past will not necessarily serve us well in the future.

But universities do have an obligation to change in response to society’s changing needs and to the changing needs of their students.

What will serve us well in the future is the kind of collaboration today’s symposium represents.

And so I commend all of you for your efforts to build and strengthen the Indonesian community of scholars, to support independent research by academic staff, to build and sustain a culture of peer-review, and to foster collaboration.

Your efforts—and today’s symposium—point to an increasingly internationally intertwined and collaborative future—a future that will enormously strengthen higher education in Indonesia, in the United States, and around the world.

Thank you very much.

Source Notes

  1. Barack Obama, Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Delivered November 10, 2010, Web, URL: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/10/remarks-president-university-indonesia-jakarta-indonesia
  2. Association of Southeast Asian Nations