Fulfilling the Promise for All
February 2, 2016
Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall
Indiana University Bloomington
Thank you, President Sugimoto. And thank you to the Bloomington Faculty Council for hosting this event and for the work you do on behalf of the campus. I’d also like to welcome Mayor John Hamilton. Thank you for joining us today.
Over the weekend, I was at one of those magical events that happen with such regularity in Bloomington that one might be tempted to take them for granted. (No, not the basketball game; one never takes that for granted.) For several years, Professor Jason Jackson, director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, has been working with our magnificent alumnus, Robert Johnson, a committed leader of our alumni board, to bring a highly regarded exhibition from the Smithsonian to the campus. The exhibition is remarkable in numerous respects. Called “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” it was developed not from the Smithsonian’s permanent collections, but through a social media crowd-sourcing effort from Indian-American communities around the country. It chronicles the history of immigrants from the sub-continent, one that dates to the 1700s, and their contributions and struggles for inclusion and political acceptance and power in the United States.
Its appearance here—the first on any university campus—has been wrapped with the kind of intellectual and cultural richness that a university like ours makes possible. Through Michael Dodson’s terrific leadership, the Dhar India Studies Program and several other partners in the College have surrounded the exhibit with challenging lectures that use it as a focal point to discuss race, inequality, colonialism, and stereotypes about model minorities.
The broad-ranging lectures are on issues of immigration and inclusion that are very much in the center of political and civic discourse today. They connect W.E.B. DuBois to the lives of those of South Asian heritage in the U.S., parse how the multiple meanings of race affect different ethnic communities, and bring together scholars and students to discuss the Indian diaspora. The IU Cinema is screening several films to support the exhibit, none of which would have otherwise been available in Bloomington. As always at the Mathers, the Museum is reaching out to the community and the local schools, hosting a free hands-on day of learning and making about traditional Indian arts and crafts.
At the event on Saturday, a standing-room-only crowd heard our spectacularly talented student, Lavanya Narayanan, deliver a mesmerizing and beautiful vocal performance of Indian classical music. Lavanya is a senior studying Nutrition Science in the School of Public Health, with minors in Biology and Medical Sciences. She hopes to attend graduate school in Nutritional Biology while also continuing her vocal training. Her goal is to become a regular performer in Chennai, India's December music season.
As I thought about the academic and cultural richness of this set of events, I was reminded of another speaker last semester. Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose “Between the World and Me” just won a National Book Award, came to Bloomington through a partnership led by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In the book, a searing extended letter to his son, Coates describes his developing understanding of what it means to be black in America, from his childhood in West Baltimore to the days that led up to and past Ferguson. It is a pessimistic book, one that represents lived experience, serious thinking, and engagement with history—an engagement that he credits to the history department at Howard University, and to his work with original research materials there. Of that experience, he writes:
“I was learning to live in the disquiet I felt in [the library], in the mess of my mind. The gnawing discomfort, the chaos, the intellectual vertigo was not an alarm. It was a beacon.” 1
I will return to that beacon at the end of today’s talk.
In the past several years, as the result of a thoughtful and inclusive process and with the support and leadership of our Board of Trustees, we worked together to imagine what shape our campus should take as we approach our third century. At its broadest, that shape is captured by IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, and the Bloomington campus plan that details our promises to the future.
At this moment, as a result of those promises and the vision of faculty, staff, and students across the campus, Indiana University Bloomington is a place of extraordinary dynamism and excitement, no matter which direction we look. New academic initiatives are flowering; new schools are building curricula and achieving important milestones; we are on the cusp of the largest investment in research we have ever made collectively.
We have moved as a campus to a shared vision and consistency in our collective approach to core student services—those that ensure our students can achieve their academic goals and take a confident next step into the job market. And every step towards that consistency we take allows us to speak with assurance and integrity to prospective and current students and parents about the experience they will have here, both in and out of the classroom.
We have initiated and strengthened programs to recruit and retain the talented faculty who are at the core of our mission, and to support the creative teaching and research that transforms lives. Our global engagement in every school on the campus has never been higher, and it brings benefits that are specific and critical to the teaching, research, and service of our faculty, and the education of our students.
And we are embarked in a capital campaign—called, beautifully, For All—to engage our supporters, our friends, and ourselves in providing the crucial resources for the work that we do, to ensure our third century of excellence by 2020. We certainly have challenges, but we are working together to meet those challenges in ways that do not raise the cost of education for our students; that enhance academic and research excellence; and that ensure we meet our commitments to our state.
This dynamism is fueled by—and would be impossible without—marked strides in diversity and inclusion, tangible progress that is central to the very meaning of what it is to be a university. I will speak of those strides today, because they allow us to challenge ourselves and our students to think deeply about some of the most critical issues we face as a democracy. Without progress in this area, we would not be in a position to prepare the thoughtful, engaged, and critical humans who will be charged with the future of our country, and who will struggle—as Coates struggled, as we should all struggle—with the issues that have galvanized discussion around the country since Ferguson.
I will proceed in two parts today. The first will allow us to see the extraordinary work our campus is doing, often through the stories of those who are doing it, and to think about the ways this work will impact our students, our state, and our world long past the bicentennial. These are the promises we made in the strategic plan, and today I speak of how our community is fulfilling those promises. The second will present the opportunities we have as a community, defined by our educational mission, to foster deep and excellent thinking and action on issues of inclusion, diversity, and identity. Our campaign motto is: “For All.” Excellent public research universities, like ours, are in reality for all—for all the talented and ambitious, the thoughtful and creative, for all who would serve their communities and the world.
Let me begin with progress toward our Bicentennial strategic objectives, starting with academic programs.
1 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015).
There is significant and exciting progress to report from every one of our new schools. Within the College, three new schools forged new pathways founded on the strength of the liberal arts.
The School of Global and International Studies has hired new faculty in Chinese Politics, Security, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, and in the languages that are among the school’s distinguishing strengths. It has entered into a relationship with the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington to explore the relationship between governance and democracy in transitional societies; joined with the best international studies schools in the country to found the Carnegie International Scholars Consortium; and, of course, moved into the spectacular new Global and International Studies Building. A highlight of our fall semester was the visit by Secretary of State John Kerry.
JonZachary Forbes, of Indianapolis, a junior in the school, blogged of meeting the Secretary:
“Part of me was still sure this was not actually happening. All that ended, though, when the incredibly tall, charming, relaxed, and all around attention-grabbing Secretary walked out the door, walked over, and sat down right next to me. Regulation of breathing was a necessity at this point. He had a warm smile as he eagerly waited for us to pose him questions regarding world politics and international relations.”
JonZachary rallied: He will remember that moment for the rest of his life.
This May, Congressman Lee Hamilton and Senator Richard Lugar, both faculty members in the school, will convene the first annual conference on America’s Role in the World, bringing together leading scholars and practitioners to address issues likely to confront the next U.S. president. Building on the enormous strength in languages and area studies with growing expertise in international studies, the School is already claiming a place as a major voice on international affairs. And it is creating exciting new collaborations on the campus, such as the work of Steve Vinson, a professor in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Bernie Frischer, a professor of Informatics, to offer students immersive 3-D virtual tours of ancient Egypt—work that builds on the astonishing work Professor Frischer has done in digital archaeology and on the area studies expertise in the school. The entire campus owes a debt to Dean Lee Feinstein and the school’s faculty for the work they have done to open these opportunities to our campus.
The Media School faculty have undertaken a comprehensive review of its legacy of course offerings; adopted a Media Core curriculum; and developed innovative new programs that take advantage of the multiple strengths now located in the school and across the campus, such as game design, film-making, and a new sports media program that partners with Athletics. It has also recently created the first minor, we believe in the country, in Black Cinema and Media Studies, building on the national prominence of the Black Film Center and Archive at IUB. The School is on track to move into the newly renovated Franklin Hall for classes next academic year, which will add beautiful and central state-of-the-art facilities in the Old Crescent, right at the gates of the campus.
Every day, at most hours, I see people of all ages interacting in the most delightful ways with Ernie Pyle, who waits patiently at his typewriter for the school to arrive. And its dean, Jim Shanahan, launched the campus’s new podcast, “Through the Gates,” just this past week. I look forward to the date very soon when Dean Shanahan will join Ernie right through those gates.
The College’s newest school, Art and Design, has created a Bachelor of Science in Comprehensive Design that will commence next fall, and which can serve as the beginning of a 4+2 Master's program. The school's four introductory courses will be offered for the first time then, and the school has developed a wide variety of international courses and internships that will be offered this summer, including Architecture in Barcelona, Art in Venice, and merchandising internships in Hong Kong.
The search for a dean of the school, chaired by Executive Associate Dean Jean Robinson, will have several candidates coming to campus in the next several weeks. The Fine Arts faculty have moved into a renovated studio space on 13th Street, and the school is on track to move into its renovated home in the Old Crescent in Kirkwood Hall this fall. Many thanks to Associate Dean Steve Watt and the faculty members who have worked so beautifully to integrate offerings and develop new programs.
The School of Public Health’s faculty, staff, and Dean Mohammed Torabi are to be congratulated for achieving accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health this past year. That accreditation opens not only many doors for expanded research funding, but also many opportunities for student fellowships and graduate employment and certification only available to accredited schools of public health. Indiana has suffered in its health indices on every count from its lack of a concentrated university public health effort, and I am delighted to note that the school’s faculty were central to the development of one of the Grand Challenges proposals that was invited for further development, one that addresses the issue of inequities in health.
And of course, faculty from the sciences, SPEA, Maurer, and Kelley, and most centrally the School of Informatics and Computing are to be congratulated for the approval of the innovative and necessary new degrees in Intelligent Systems Engineering. The creation of these degrees demonstrates the power of collaboration across the disciplines and the professions, and with our partners in the community in Indiana, who strongly supported the need for Indiana University to move in this direction.
The establishment of the Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering in Informatics and Computing signals a major step toward our commitment to a new engineering, focused not on the legacy programs of the past but on the interfaces between humans, computing, and things that will characterize so much of our future—indeed, for those of you surfing your smartphones right now, that characterize so much of our present.
So much of our science outside of the school, as well, will benefit from the development of engineering partners in the School of Informatics and Computing, as the testimony of our chairs in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Environmental Science at the Board of Trustees made clear. The new program will have its home in the School of Informatics’ new home, Luddy Hall, for which we broke ground this fall, and will admit its first undergraduate cohort in the fall. We all owe a debt of thanks to Dean Bobby Schnabel, who leaves a terrific legacy through this program, and to the faculty for their critical work here.
Finally, I’d like to note that the Integrated Program in the Environment, under the leadership of Professor Jeff White, has brought together over 100 faculty from 25 departments and five schools. Under the aegis of IPE, faculty from across campus have coalesced into interdisciplinary groups to develop collaborative research proposals for the Grand Challenges program. All three teams associated with IPE have been invited to submit full proposals.
In its first year, the new BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, a College–SPEA joint degree program, attracted 50 majors and an equal number of minors. Interest continues at this pace in year two. And IPE dramatically expanded its connections with the larger community through offering new training programs hosted at the IU Research and Teaching Preserve. Through this programming, nearly 90 individuals (regional teachers and citizens) earned environmental and sustainability educator certifications.
Our faculty’s work on these programs demonstrates definitively that at Indiana University, we fulfill our promises of an excellent and relevant education.
We made other promises to the health of our state. Through the strategic planning process, our programs in the health sciences—medicine, nursing, speech and hearing, optometry, social work, and public health—developed not only a strong sense of shared mission but an equally strong commitment to a new model of professional training. This interprofessional education model, which stresses commonalities and cooperation among the professions that provide patient care, is central to the space planning in the new Regional Academic Health Center, our partnership with IU Health Bloomington. And the work that our faculty did throughout the strategic planning process is already paying off for our students before the first dirt is moved for the new facility. Last year, 627 interprofessional student interactions took place in the Simulation Lab on the Bloomington campus.
Through the process of working with the other programs on shared needs, and planning for the new facility, the School of Social Work has developed and submitted a proposal to offer the Master of Social Work on this campus, and the School of Nursing will increase enrollment in undergraduate nursing programs next year by 25%, and is exploring graduate offerings.
We are well on the way to achieving the ambitious goals on excellence in the health sciences set out in our strategic plan, and I want to thank all of the faculty involved in this process, and especially Vice Provost David Daleke, for the rapid and important progress as we plan for the new education building and hospital.
This campus has enormous strengths in the arts and humanities. The Jacobs School of Music is world-renowned. Two of the faculty members in English, Ross Gay and Adrian Matejka, have been nominees in the past three years for the National Book Award in poetry. Our cultural institutions—from the Art Museum to the Cinema to the Lilly Library (which worked with the Cinema, the Media School and many others on the amazing Orson Welles Centennial symposium), to the Mathers Museum—all are gems that make possible the kind of deep and rich experiences I described at the opening of this talk.
The campus strategic plan included a promise to preserve our historic strengths in the arts and humanities. This past April we took a major step toward fulfilling this commitment with the formation of the IU Bloomington Arts & Humanities Council, chaired by Professor of English Ed Comentale. The council represents the first cross-campus group dedicated to promoting the transformative values of the arts and humanities. It includes 32 faculty members from departments across campus, directors of every performance and exhibition space on campus, and 8 outstanding student leaders. My charge to this council was straightforward: Make the arts and humanities inevitable for students on this campus and make them public-facing for our community.
The council is already having that impact. Its members have conducted a comprehensive inventory of all campus arts and humanities resources, as well as a campus-wide survey with a corresponding series of student focus groups, which together have compiled more than 5,000 responses from students, faculty, and staff. These have revealed a deep passion for the arts and humanities at all levels of our community, particularly among our undergraduates, who are hungry for the kinds of cultural experiences that define a liberal arts education at a premier public university.
One such experience was shared this past fall semester by undergraduate and graduate students from a wide range of majors in nearly every school on campus. More than 50 students took part in two days of storytelling workshops led by visiting instructors from the renowned Moth Radio Hour. These culminated in a story slam at the Wells-Metz theatre in front of a packed house. Ashely Hosseini, a graduate student in SPEA, won the story slam with a compelling and moving story about her mother’s recent death and Ashley’s decision to return to IUB for the fall semester shortly afterwards. This experience inspired a group of students to form their own student group dedicated to the art of storytelling, with plans to hold more story slams on campus in the near future.
And the council itself has exciting future plans for the campus that include a First Thursdays program, which will be anchored by the Art Museum, to transform the social calendar of the campus so that there’s at least one day each month devoted entirely to student involvement in the arts. Our hope is that students use First Thursdays to explore the many different venues and performance types the campus has to offer, and we also hope that the faculty present at the various events can model participation in these different genres, particularly for students who may be unfamiliar with (or even intimidated by) being, say, an audience member at an opera or a gallery visitor at a museum.
The ultimate goal is that students who experience these various performances and venues during First Thursdays will then be more inclined to return to them throughout the rest of the semester. The Council is also working on a web platform dedicated to making the arts and humanities on campus more easily accessible to students and more visible to the public at large. The web platform will include a comprehensive searchable events calendar, a virtual arts walk of the campus, curated exhibits and programs, and a course enrichment program designed to make it easier for faculty members to incorporate our campus resources in the arts and humanities into the classes they teach.
Taken as a whole, the efforts of the council promise to make the arts and humanities essential in the lives of our students while they’re here, and to encourage their passionate lifelong advocacy and affection for the arts and humanities.
During the past year, we also made significant progress on the strategic plan’s commitments to student success and student welfare, particularly in the areas of career development, classroom innovation, and preparation for advanced studies. These efforts help us to ensure that each IUB student has the opportunities and support necessary to fulfill her unique promise.
As the result of an extensive collaborative effort across several units and funding from the campus, all students (and employers) on campus now have access to a common career development software platform. This platform makes it easier for students to identify the steps they need to take to achieve their career goals, and it helps career counselors offer more focused support to students. And beginning this spring, the campus will be able to collect, track, and report on campus-wide career development metrics. This will help guide our efforts as this program grows and evolves.
The campus also worked with Executive Dean Larry Singell and the College leadership and that of the Career Development Center to reorganize and enhance career services for University Division students and students in the College of Arts and Sciences. These efforts will help students pursuing traditional liberal arts degrees—some of them with three or more majors!—identify and pursue the career paths best suited to their unique talents and educational experiences. In addition to this major reorganization, the campus assisted several academic units in expanding their career development services for undergraduate and graduate students.
In addition to preparing students for life after Bloomington, we are also focusing the energy and expertise of our best teachers on creating compelling classroom experiences for those students during their time here. Through UITS and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the campus launched the Mosaic Active Learning Initiative to create technology-rich classrooms and support the faculty and students who use them. The Mosaic Initiative includes grants for 10 Mosaic Faculty Fellows.
Among those this year is Jill Robinson, a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry who teaches undergraduate courses in general, analytical, and environmental chemistry. She is a participant in a National Science Foundation grant to develop team-based modules for analytical chemistry and has facilitated a workshop on active learning for faculty from minority-serving institutions. As a Mosaic Fellow, she will focus on how to best use technology to implement active learning in large lecture classes.
Through the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the campus supports a Learning Analytics Fellows Program, which funded 10 faculty or faculty teams to investigate student success through the lens of student data. Among the Fellows this year is Jennifer Robinson, a Professor of Practice in Anthropology, who focused on understanding variability of outcomes among different student cohorts in a large general education course. She has already presented her work at a conference and is extending the project in this year's fellows program.
We’re also helping interested students make the transition from undergraduate to graduate life through the Pathways Scholarship program. The Pathways program permits IU Achievement Scholarship recipients who complete their undergraduate degrees early to apply the remainder of their scholarship funding towards graduate study at IU, and it saw its first Master’s graduate from IUB—and of course that financially astute student received an MBA from Kelley. Students in programs ranging from Accounting to Optometry are now taking advantage of this incentive to continue their educations at less cost.
And there are new academic options for those Pathway Scholars, and all students, at the graduate level. Among our first multi-school graduate certificates are the cybersecurity certificates offered by three of IU’s top ranked schools: the School of Informatics and Computing, the Maurer School of Law, and the Kelley School of Business. Each school offers a certificate with a different emphasis, yet each certificate requires that courses also be taken in one of the other partner schools. This cross-school partnership is currently developing an interdisciplinary Master’s in Cybersecurity, which the University Graduate School will administer. This mechanism opens the door for broader cooperation across our schools, and so we anticipate new certificates and degrees coming forward quickly. Thanks to Vice Provost Venkat for solving this academic Rubik’s cube. And I am pleased to report that in addition to the nationally ranked online graduate programs at Kelley and Education, every IUB school now has a graduate online presence.
The promise we make to our students extends beyond providing the best pedagogical experiences and career development. We also promise them a safe and healthy environment in which to learn and live, a place where people of all backgrounds and beliefs are welcomed and valued by the community as a whole. On the critical front of student safety, I will focus on just a few of many initiatives.
The campus rolled out a pervasive education initiative on sexual misconduct, completed the first Sexual Climate Survey on the Bloomington campus, worked with IU researchers from the Kinsey Institute and the School of Public Health to understand the results, and is using the survey to target efforts on a research-based set of initiatives to attack this issue and end sexual assault of our students.
We have expanded the availability of student mental-health services, both in terms of counselors and other resources, and the Counseling Center and the Jacobs School have completed a pilot program that includes counselors in residence, with positive results we hope to replicate in other schools.
The Division of Students has focused on off-campus safety issues, both through increasing its human resources in this area and through leading the Campus-Community Coalition, which provides a forum for common issues of safety in the neighborhoods around our campus. In addition, the Division sponsored late night events on weekends throughout the fall semester that attracted 20,000 students to safe social events.
Taken together, these initiatives and related programs across campus represent a firm commitment to helping us fulfill the promise of student success for all.
Another key component of our strategic plan is the promise of a globally connected campus that offers enlightening and enriching international experiences to our students and faculty. This is another area in which we are making great strides.
In November the university opened its Gateway in Berlin, our third international gateway joining those in China and India. During the spring semester and into the summer, the Berlin Gateway will host an academic workshop growing out of the College’s Themester program, led by Professors Ben Robinson and Alex Lichtenstein; a talk by Professor Alvin Rosenfeld from the Born Jewish Studies Program; and performances by the Jacob School of Music, which has students traveling for performances and research at the Beethoven Haus in Bonn and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. These events serve not only to celebrate the Gateway’s first year, but also to raise the academic and artistic prominence of Indiana University in one of the world’s most diverse and cosmopolitan cities.
We are also increasing our efforts to help our many international students transition smoothly to life here on the Bloomington campus. The IU2U program through the Office of Undergraduate Education will expand to five cities this year. Its on-site orientation programs in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and Delhi last year allowed our faculty and domestic students to interact with about 40% of our new international students before they arrived in Bloomington, and begin to forge relationships among those students that have served them well as they matriculate. This is a great example of the utility of our Gateway facilities. I particularly want to recognize the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and its Global Partners, which matches second-year international or minority students with new international or minority students to make the school more welcoming and warm.
And we are doing more than ever before to ensure that every IUB student has the opportunity to take part in a diverse array of transformative international experiences. Many of our efforts in this area are long-standing, with proven track records of success. For instance, this past year the Hutton International Experiences Program passed the $9 million mark in grants to over 6000 students since the inception of the program.
Of particular note in more recent initiatives, the campus has invested almost $1M to expand global experiences for IUB students, toward the goal of ensuring that all interested IUB students, regardless of financial need, have at least one international experience during their time at IUB. This funding, coupled with efforts led by Martin McCrory, the Vice Provost of Educational Inclusion and Diversity, resulted in a 5-fold increase in students from underrepresented minority groups going abroad. Since 2013, the collaboration between my office and DEMA has resulted in 225 low-income, first-generation, or underrepresented minority students studying abroad in 40 countries—resulting for the first time in the percentage of these students studying abroad being higher than the overall campus rate.
In the book by Ta-Nahisi Coates I quoted earlier, he recounts the many years after college that passed before he received his first passport, and says, “I wish I had come to it sooner.” This week, Indiana University Bloomington, in partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange, will provide passports at no cost to 280 students during the CIEE Passport Caravan—the largest cohort in the country.
The passports will be given to a select group of IU students who are part of academic programs in IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, including the Hudson and Holland Scholars, Groups Scholars and 21st Century Scholars programs. The initiative is designed to make it possible for more first-generation, minority and low-income students to share in the promise of transformative international experiences.
Most of the initiatives I’ve just mentioned are part of our deeply-rooted tradition of IUB students and faculty taking their talents and passions out into the wider world. But we also have a strong tradition of bringing the world to Bloomington, in the form of students, researchers, and artists who visit our campus to learn, to work, and to share in the great promise of Indiana University. I’d like to share the story of one such visit with you, involving student interns from our Office of Sustainability and their peers from Koç University in Istanbul.
That wonderful video was produced by a creative team of student multimedia interns in the Provost Office. They go all around campus to interview the many incredible individuals whose stories collectively make up the story of IU Bloomington. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the Provost Office Interns for their outstanding efforts.
The team is led by Cadence Baugh. Cadence graduated in May with a major in journalism and an outside concentration in Mandarin Chinese, and she has since been working with our multimedia interns to help tell the story of IU Bloomington. Cadence traveled to China and South Korea last summer to document the IU2U program, and recently took part in IU’s 2016 MLK Civil Rights Immersion trip to Montgomery, Alabama.
Students like those in the video, and indeed scholars from all fields, are drawn to the Bloomington campus because of its outstanding reputation as one of the world’s leading research universities. This is another key component of our mission as a public university—the promise to explore the ever-expanding frontiers of knowledge and to find applications for this knowledge than can be used for the betterment of all.
Our campus is internationally known for its excellence in technologically enabled research and outstanding resources such as Big Red II and its “PetaFLOPS” performance, which means—I’m told—that it can perform a thousand trillion mathematical operations per second. This kind of mind-boggling capacity is needed because unlocking the secrets of the next generation of Grand Challenges, like climate change or the spread of disease, involves an astonishing volume of big data and increasingly complex models to help analyze and make sense of that data.
A good example from our own campus is the Social Network Health Research Lab, directed by IUB School of Nursing Assistant Professor Wendy Miller. In response to the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, the goal of the lab is to harness Big Data, especially in the form of social media, to inform policy and interventions that will improve human health. Interdisciplinary faculty from both IUPUI and IUB are collaborating on various health-related projects using data sets from ChaCha, Twitter, Instagram, and the Epilepsy Foundation of America. IUB Informatics, Nursing, and Speech and Hearing faculty are currently developing and testing methods that will facilitate public health monitoring and precision-medicine interventions.
These will need a new generation of much smarter supercomputing tools that run not at “Peta” but at “ExaScale.” I am delighted that some of the most pioneering work on the very frontiers of ExaScale supercomputing is going on right here at the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies (CREST) led by Professors Andrew Lumsdaine and Thomas Sterling of the School of Informatics and Computing.
Research of this scope and ambition occurs daily across the campus: Trevor Douglas’s co-opting of viral structures and bacterial genes to create an efficient engine to promote hydrogen formation for use as a biofuel, for instance; or Yves Brun and Michael VanNieuwehnhze’s development of powerful new fluorescent probes that let researchers understand how bacteria build their cell walls, which will allow for the development of new antibiotics; or Optometry Professor Nicholas Port’s development of a portable tool to diagnose concussions right on the football sideline.
These are just a few examples of research conducted by our faculty that have the potential to make lasting, positive impacts on the world in which we live, and the world we leave behind for future generations of researchers. As a university, we have made a profound promise to push forward the frontiers of knowledge through the focused, coordinated efforts of our faculty. Over the next five years, the campus and the university will invest heavily—approximately $120M from the Bloomington campus alone and up to $300 million university-wide—in several research initiatives, including Grand Challenges, Emerging Areas, and Strategic Research Investments.
The energy unleashed by the Grand Challenges process led to the submission of 21 preliminary proposals involving approximately 400 IUB faculty, and five proposals have been selected for further development in this round. They propose harnessing our strengths to attack issues of health inequalities, sustainability, water resources, environmental protection, and precision medicine. The Vice Provost for Research, Rick Van Kooten, and his team have worked with all the teams, as well as with the groups who were not selected in this round, and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the usefulness and power of these new collaborations.
The Emerging Areas of Research program, which is directed specifically to our campus, will be less focused on multidisciplinary areas than those initiatives in the Grand Challenges, and will permit us to develop our research expertise in areas where we can become national leaders.
These campus, school, and university investments will increase the number of faculty, postdocs and Ph.D. students on the Bloomington campus, strengthen IUB’s research reputation in critical areas, and provide opportunities for IU to extend its impact in the region and the world, improving life for our citizens through the work that we do here.
And on another important research front, I am delighted to report that the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, the ambitious effort to preserve over 750,000 discrete media items at IU, has just passed the 50,000 mark as of last week!
This program, announced by President McRobbie in his 2014 State of the University Address, has put Indiana University and the Bloomington campus at the forefront of efforts to save our history—endangered films, audio recordings, and other media from the past century. For instance, the initiative has helped professor of folklore and ethnomusicology Ruth Stone preserve recordings of traditional Liberian folk songs and dances that she made decades ago on media formats that are now outdated and deteriorating. The Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative ensures that these recordings will be preserved for generations to come. Thanks to Vice President Brad Wheeler, Dean Brenda Johnson, and their entire team for their outstanding work on this initiative.
A world-class faculty of innovative researchers and passionate teachers is central to our vision for a third century of academic excellence at IU Bloomington. Our duty as a campus is to create an environment that enables professional growth, encourages bold research and creative activity, and maintains a healthy work-life balance for faculty at all stages of their careers. This year saw this promise fulfilled in a variety of ways.
The strategic planning process identified the need to hire in twos as critical to our recruiting efforts. We expanded campus funding to support the hiring of dual-career couples, more than doubling the number of dual-career faculty since 2013. In 2015-2016, the Dual-Career Funds are supporting 59 couples who have been hired in different schools and the college since 2013-14.
Professor John Nieto-Phillips joined the campus as the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity. John’s first priority is to reach out to faculty of color to build a stronger community and better assess our needs in the areas of recruitment and retention. John will also play a vital role in implementing one of the key objectives of our campus strategic plan: the use of strategic hiring funds to build a more diverse faculty. Again, this is an area in which we have already made significant strides.
Since 2013-2014, we have devoted more than $2.8 million in strategic funds toward the hiring of diverse faculty, leading to the successful hires of 31 faculty of color and 3 senior women.
In 2015-2016 alone, 8 new faculty were successfully recruited to IUB with the help of Strategic Hiring Funds, including 6 faculty of color and 2 senior women.
Through the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, we opened the Faculty Writing Program to the entire campus and hired Laura Plummer as full-time director of the program. The result was an increase in faculty participation from 14 in Fall 2013 to 154 in Spring 2016, leading to a large increase in those faculty members’ self-reported productivity in publication, conference presentations, and grant proposals.
We also have expanded our highly successful partnership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity to provide career development opportunities for a diverse faculty. From Summer 2013 through Spring 2016, we partnered with schools to provide 162 faculty fellowships to enroll in the NCFDD Faculty Success Program.
In a recent survey of IUB alumni of the NCFDD Faculty Success Program, 78% reported that their writing and research productivity increased since starting the program, and 60% reported that their work-life balance was better than when they started the program.
These initiatives and others like them reaffirm IU Bloomington’s promise of an academic community committed to the success, growth, and health of our faculty.
While there is much more to talk about in terms of the strategic plan progress, I would like to conclude this talk where I started, with the educational imperative of inclusion. I mentioned the visit of Ta-Nehisi Coates to our campus last semester and the thought-provoking public lecture he delivered, in which he shared with us his own experiences with inequality and racism. This talk provided our community with an occasion to engage in open, frank discussions about these issues and the ways they affect our lives on this campus. Although these subjects are fraught with emotion and the weight of history, the response from our campus community was overwhelmingly positive and productive. Our students, faculty, and staff showed a heartening commitment to the unity of this campus, despite our many differences. I’d like to share with you a short video that highlights just some of these campus-wide discussions.
Indiana University Bloomington has strong, long-standing commitments to diversity, expressed in its mission statement, its public advocacy from the Supreme Court to the Statehouse, all of its strategic planning, and its daily actions. I’d like to tell you about some major actions, and end with a call to action, made possible by the success of our work to date.
In June, under the leadership of Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs James Wimbush, the university began an external assessment and evaluation of its diversity efforts on all of its campuses. We retained Halualani & Associates, the acknowledged leader in evaluation and assessment of diversity and inclusion efforts in higher education, to perform that external review and to provide recommendations. For the past six months, Halualani has conducted a thorough external examination of the diversity efforts completed by our campus through all of its divisions, programs, and units, from January 1, 2010 through October 15, 2015.
It concluded: “IU Bloomington has made a vigorous and sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion in the last five years” and that our “diversity efforts are high in number and rich in quality.” Specifically, the report found that our commitment to diversity and inclusion is “firm, genuine, and intrinsically motivated, and includes a level of participation and collaboration on diversity efforts among all IU Bloomington’s divisions, including the large majority of academic schools, that is rarely seen at other universities.”
Halualani documented almost 2000 separate diversity efforts during the period it studied, and found that 99% of those actions were not motivated by a desire to comply with external requirements, but by a desire to create the fullest educational environment around diversity. I urge you to read the report yourselves, released today, at the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs website.
Halualani noted that IU Bloomington’s focus has been most heavily directed “toward creating access and entry points for historically underrepresented students.” These efforts are bearing fruit. This fall, our campus recruited its strongest, most diverse class in its history. In order to understand where we are, we looked at how the students report their own identities at census, reporting that corresponds as closely as possible to data we collected before the federal government changed the reporting categories in 2010. Through that methodology, 22% of this fall’s entering class was comprised of domestic students from underrepresented groups, 7.1% of whom were students who identified as African-American and 7% of whom identified as Hispanic. Using the same methodology, the total domestic degree-seeking students from these groups is above 20%, and the total for African-Americans is 6.2%.
I would like to congratulate both the Kelley School of Business and the Maurer School of Law for particularly creative and exciting initiatives. Dean Idie Kesner approached me about matching contributions from the Kelley Dean’s Council to support additional scholarships for diversity recruiting. With the promise of this match, the Kelley Dean’s Council exceeded its goal and raised over $900,000 to support a dramatic increase in the number of historically underrepresented students in Kelley’s direct-admit program. And Maurer Dean Austen Parrish has entered into a series of partnerships to provide dedicated scholarships to students from excellent women’s colleges, like Smith and Wellesley, and with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Asian & Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund nationally, as well as our own Groups, 21st Century Scholars, and Hudson & Holland Programs. Leadership is critical to these efforts, and Kelley and Maurer have shown it.
This historic class was coupled with an historic commitment of resources to support these students’ success. The campus increased funding for historically underrepresented minorities, and financially disadvantaged, and first-generation students by 20% between 2014 and 2016 (from $18M to 22M). The campus is planning to increase this funding by another 25% by 2025, to $27.5M. This includes funding for Hudson-Holland Scholars, 21st Century Scholars Covenant, Pell Promise, and Groups.
And funding for the Groups and Hudson-Holland programs combined has more than doubled since 2014. Groups, which is aimed at making IU more affordable for first-generation students, now provides funding for all four years of college. The Hudson and Holland Program, which brings high-achieving underrepresented minorities to campus, increased from $5M to $9.5M annually. These funding increases permitted the largest increase in the size of both the Groups and the Hudson Holland program in their histories, and the Groups program saw a 98% retention rate from summer to fall, the strongest in the program’s history. And the IUB 21st Century Scholars Program was recognized by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education this past year with the Champion Award for outstanding contributions to the success of this state-wide program.
I want to thank all of the terrific and dedicated people involved in these programs, and most immediately Vice Provost Martin McCrory, for their laser-like focus on student support, retention, and graduation over the past few years, and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management David Johnson and his office for their commitment to recruiting these students. I am confident that their efforts, which have included a significant expansion of academic support, will continue the upward trajectory in graduation that we have seen in the past several years.
We are already working to implement Halualani’s recommendation to design customized retention-graduation interventions for specific diverse groups through excellent analysis and cooperation with Dennis Groth, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, whose crack data analysis talents and aggressive use of advising analytics are focused on this issue.
Halualani also reported, “IU Bloomington has admirably implemented rigorous diversity efforts that benefit graduate students,” noting almost 100 diversity efforts that specifically target these students and have been both institutionalized for multiple years and supported by “an unbroken level of investment.” As Dean of the Graduate School, James Wimbush has been a passionate and effective advocate in this area. David Daleke has continued that tradition through his work as Vice Provost, most recently through the appointment of Bianca Evans as assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, and through Dr. Maria Abegunde’s work in the Graduate Mentoring Center.
There is a lot to do. In this area, there is always a lot to do. And Halualani has some wonderful recommendations for us, which we will act on immediately. But the central question is: What is our larger vision related to this area? And what kind of campus culture does IU Bloomington want to be for all of its members?
And here I return to the place I started. Many, perhaps the great majority of our students, like Coates, come to college from communities that are practically, though not legally, segregated. Bloomington brings the greatest diversity they have ever seen—to quote Coates again, “different people living by different rules,” where what stands between us and the world is “nothing so essentialist as race.” 2
For our students, college is and should be a brilliant time, and our vision for this area should be to increase its brilliance, to complicate their vision, to make their heads hurt with the vertigo that comes with serious thinking about complex problems, and ultimately, to insist on clear curiosity and thinking so that they can attack the too-real issues we face as citizens with better tools, better minds, and greater clarity. We should be finding every space we can to entice students from different backgrounds, countries, and worlds into dialogue with each other, knowing from our classrooms that they will say the wrong things to each other often, until they learn what it means to be able to listen respectfully across difference, and that we should help them understand how to do this by modeling it ourselves.
As Amartya Sen put it, we should keep after this until our students can see clearly that “the same person can be, without any contradiction, an American citizen, of Caribbean origin, with African ancestry, a Christian, a liberal, a woman, a vegetarian, a long-distance runner, an historian, a schoolteacher, a novelist, a feminist, a heterosexual, a believer in gay and lesbian rights, a theater lover, a tennis fan, a jazz musician, and someone who is deeply committed to the view that there are intelligent beings in outer space with whom it is extremely urgent to talk (preferably in English).” 3
In other words, our vision should be essentially and utterly connected to our mission. It should look like the event I described at the start of this talk. Our faculty and staff do this every day in the schools and College. And our faculty have already stepped up to do this at the campus level. I am delighted that Kevin Brown, the Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law at Maurer, and Sandra Shapshay, Director of the Political and Civic Engagement Program in the College and Associate Professor of Philosophy, will chair a steering committee of faculty and students to launch a new series designed to engage the campus community in discussing “hot topics” on the national and international stage, and to foster inclusion on the campus.
The idea is to take issues that are currently generating significant heat, and bring our best minds and teachers, from across the campus, to engage with our students around those topics. Our students do not need to be told what to think: the internet and social media are full of that. Rather, they need ways to think that equip them to question their own assumptions and reactions so that they can engage in productive discussions about uncomfortable and complicated issues. The first of these sessions, on the criminal justice system and the Black Lives Matter movement, will happen yet this month, and will be followed by events every month this semester on similar hot topics.
How do we think about diversity and inclusion? By doing what we do best: opening the door to the finest minds we can find and troubling them until in Coates’ words, we create “the intellectual vertigo that is no longer an alarm. It is a beacon.” As has always been true for universities, the world hangs in the balance of us doing that well.
2 Id. At 120.
3 Amartya Sen, Identity and Violence (2006) at xiii.