Dear IU Bloomington Faculty, Staff and Student Academic Appointees,
As we approach the mid-point of the semester, I write to you today with updates regarding plans for the launch of our IUB 2030 planning process, progress on an array of health and wellness initiatives first recommended by the Task Force on Graduate Education, and to express my optimism about important action taken this week by the Bloomington Faculty Council to formally reconstitute its SAA Affairs Committee.
First, I am excited to report that the Task Force will continue its work in conjunction with the IUB strategic planning efforts. This will allow the Task Force to continue having a strong voice in shaping the future of graduate education at IU over the next several years.
To that end, we received more than 600 faculty, staff, and student nominations for our upcoming IUB 2030 strategic planning process, which will include the ongoing efforts of the Task Force on Graduate Education. Invitations for planning teams under the three core strategic areas—Student Success and Opportunity, Transformative Research and Creativity, and Service to State and Beyond—will go out by early next week, with the formal launch of our planning efforts on October 17. Thank you in advance for your strong engagement in this critical time of visioning and planning for our community and our shared future.
Second, since we initially announced action in September on the Health and Wellness recommendations of the Task Force, we have worked diligently to begin implementing specific components of those substantive and lasting recommendations.
As of this week, I can report progress in an array of areas:
The waiver for the international student fee and the G901 fees for all SAAs has been officially implemented. Any SAA with a remaining question about fees should contact their advisor.
Through the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and IU Human Resources, we will soon roll out the documentation and formal process that will allow SAAs to access full health insurance coverage during approved medical or parental leaves of absences. SAAs will be notified via email when this new process is officially available.
SAAs now have access to programs and services through Healthy IU, which include preventative care and work, life, and wellness resources. Any SAA with questions should contact Healthy IU at email@example.com.
A potential dedicated space for graduate student engagement and well-being has been identified. Efforts to finalize details and develop programming are underway.
The guide to grievance pathways for graduate students, at both the school and campus levels, is under development by the Graduate School in concert with the Bloomington Faculty Council and the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.
Third, as many of you are aware, this week the Bloomington Faculty Council reconstituted its Student Academic Appointee Affairs Committee. As I have shared before, I view this as a crucial step to guarantee ongoing dialogue and action through shared governance to ensure that issues of importance and concern for our SAAs can be addressed collaboratively and intentionally. In addition, BFC leaders outlined a plan to include designated SAA representation on the Council and key committees through the Graduate and Professional Student Government. I applaud and thank the faculty for their leadership in pursuing these new and reconstituted channels.
As we aspire to be one of the nation’s leading institutions for graduate education, the SAA Affairs Committee of the BFC, along with the SAA Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences and the newly announced Graduate Student Advisory Committee, will be essential to ensuring not only that the voices of our SAAs are heard, but that we can act when necessary to further improve the personal and professional support we provide to our graduate students.
As the semester moves ahead, we will continue to provide periodic updates regarding the work of the IUB 2030 planning teams, including the Task Force and IU Bloomington’s efforts to enact recommendations. In the weeks to come, I anticipate receiving new recommendations from the Task Force Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
I am encouraged by the shared progress and improvements made possible by our students, faculty, and staff, and I very much look forward to the positive impact these efforts will have for our students now and in the years to come.
Indiana University Bloomington