“Cooperation and Collaboration: A Vision for Progress”
Evansville Rotary Club
Veterans Memorial Coliseum
April 24, 2007
Thank you, Brian, for that kind introduction. I am honored and delighted to have been selected the 18th president of Indiana University and look forward to assuming office on July 1st. Since the announcement on March 1st, I have been on a listening and learning tour of the state, and am glad to be back in Evansville. I was here just over a month ago and had the opportunity to tour the IU Medical Center and speak about IU at this crossroads in its history.
Winds of Change
In 1960, Harold MacMillan, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, spoke before the South African Parliament. In that very famous speech, he identified the “wind[s] of change … blowing through the continent of Africa.” These winds signaled the growth of African nationalist consciousness and hunger for independence.
Unlike the highly volatile situation about which MacMillan spoke, universities have often been described as, at best, making changes at a snail’s pace or, at worst, completely unable to change.
Indiana University is evidence that nothing could be further from the truth.
IU represents the genius of great universities—institutions which have lasted longer than just about any other in human history. That genius is their ability to adapt while preserving their fundamental missions of education and research.
Widespread changes have already begun to occur on all IU campuses and medical centers. They involve many people, units, and schools, and they will have lasting effects on the future of the University and the future of the entire state. In many areas they represent deeper changes that are affecting all of higher education. My responsibility as IU’s next president will be to accelerate and manage this change.
We might say there are winds of change blowing at IU that will transform the face of the University over the next five to ten years.
I would like to spend some time highlighting several priorities that are driving change at Indiana University and will continue to do so over the next decade. These will be some of my key priorities when I begin my official duties on July 1st.
Indiana Life Sciences Initiative
At the same time one of Indiana University’s central priorities is to enhance our research programs in the life sciences. Such programs will have an impact throughout the state not only in terms of economic development but also in concrete improvements in Hoosier health.
The pathway toward these enhancements is the Indiana Life Sciences Initiative. This initiative builds upon Indiana’s national leadership in the life and health sciences. Indiana has the 2nd highest concentration of biopharmaceutical jobs in the nation. Currently, more than 578,000 Indiana jobs are directly or indirectly tied to the health industry. They account for more than $21B in wages and $8B in federal and state taxes paid. That is just over 20% of Indiana’s tax base.
The Life Sciences Initiative actually started 7-8 years ago with the establishment of the Indiana Genomics project, funded generously by the Lilly Endowment in 2000. It was dramatically expanded at IU Bloomington in 2004 with the establishment of the METACyt Project—the Indiana Metabolomics and Cytomics Project—also funded by the Lilly Endowment with a generous $53 million grant. METACyt is a major multidisciplinary project that currently supports collaborative research principally from the departments of biology, chemistry, and psychological and brain sciences.
The IU Life Sciences Initiative is reaching its peak with the development of the university’s Life Sciences Strategic plan, on which I worked with Dean Craig Brater of the IU School of Medicine, and Dean Kumble Subbaswamy of the College of Arts and Sciences, among others. The University’s legislative funding request is based on the strategic plan. The request calls for aggressive investment in the Indiana life sciences economy over the next 12 years, starting with $80 million in the next biennium. Through this initiative, IU plans to hire 500 top scientists who will help strengthen collaborations especially between IU Bloomington and the IU School of Medicine.
These life sciences funds are essential to our goals of expanding research and educational programs at the regional medical centers.
IU School of Medicine—Evansville
The IU School of Medicine here in Evansville concentrates research on intracellular controls especially in relation to immunity and nutrition. With this research focus in mind, the medical center is in dialogue with a local company involved in nutritional products. We are exploring building a research program with a nutritional science focus that could collaborate with local research and development activity.
The IU School of Medicine will also be seeing other tremendous changes over the next three to five years.
The School of Medicine has conducted a formal manpower analysis of physician needs in the State. In order to meet the State’s increasing needs, the School of Medicine must increase its class size by 30%. This includes increasing class sizes at regional centers including Evansville. As we increase class sizes, we will also likely add opportunities for third and fourth year rotations.
The original rationale for creating the regional medical centers was related to retention. The idea was that if some of our medical students had the opportunity to spend time in different parts of the state, they would be more likely to go back to those places to practice. Our data suggest that that idea was right. We are now extending that original logic. If medical students spend even more time studying at a regional center, they will be even more likely to return there to practice.
To guide this expansion, the School of Medicine has requested that the regional centers to craft their own strategic plans in concert with their host institutions and the community. These plans will enable the regional centers to have the greatest positive impact on their community while helping meet the state’s needs for physician manpower.
The medical center here is in a strong position as it makes these changes. In large part, this is due to the tremendous community support the center receives. Over 170 area physicians volunteer their time to support the center’s educational programs. The center also has one of the largest scholarship programs among the regional medical centers. They are able to offer over $150,000 in support thanks to the remarkable generosity of the Evansville community.
Related to the University’s goals in the life sciences is the increased need for research space. In August 2004, I commissioned a report that starkly stated that the lack of research space was the biggest single impediment to IU reaching its full potential as a research university.
The equation is very simple. More space equals more research dollars equals more research. Research, especially in areas like the life sciences, cannot grow or expand without more space and the renovation of much of the space we have.
Over the next 5 to 10 years, I anticipate a boom in construction that will provide much needed research space. This will enable the university to reach its goals in the Life Sciences. We are already seeing such expansion in Bloomington.
Simon Hall, the first major new building at IU Bloomington in over 20 years, will be operational this summer. Simon Hall has been designed to encourage multidisciplinary collaborations among scientists from fields such as biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology.
Later this year, construction will begin on another major building, the Multidisciplinary Science Building II, and this should be finished by Summer 2009. This building will house major research programs in the neurosciences and in environmental science.
These construction projects are the first of many that we will see coming to fruition in the next five to ten years. Each is designed to improve Indiana University’s ability to achieve its dual missions of education and research.
Internationalization and Global Literacy
Another priority will be the greater internationalization of IU. As a research university, we are in a battle for the best students and faculty not just from Indiana or even the United States, but from the whole world.
The Rotary organization, with its rich history of global service, knows the importance of international engagement. And this complements IU’s great tradition in this area. In addition to student exchanges, international studies in languages and cultures have been a remarkable strength at IU for decades, as was confirmed in spectacular fashion by the award to IU of $16 million in funding for nine Title 6 area studies centers.
An international requirement is also a centerpiece of the proposed new general education curriculum. This recognizes the need for IU students to be globally literate and will require us to greatly expand our relationships with overseas institutions.
To help build such relationships, I spent several productive weeks in China and Japan last summer and fall. I met with faculty and administrators at eight of the most prestigious universities in those countries and helped formalize or revive at least three collaborative agreements. This is just a first step, and our task now is to keep the momentum building.
Such partnerships will enhance both the research and educational missions of the university. Global partners in research will provide another avenue toward innovation in the sciences and other areas. They will also increase our visibility on a global scale, enhance our competitiveness with other institutions around the world, and strengthen the university as a whole.
Admissions Standards and Selectivity
A third priority grows out of IU’s mission differentiation project, through which we hope to tailor campus offerings to regional economic and workforce needs. We are working to make IU Bloomington more selective. There, a new undergraduate admissions policy will take effect in 2011.
This is good for IU and for the entire state. It will translate into a stronger academic profile and an improved national reputation. So far this year we have seen a 20% increase in applications, and more applicants means more selectivity and more potential for diversity. Our freshman class this fall was the largest incoming class in IUB history, and the most talented in recent history. This new class arrived with SAT scores 10 points higher than last year’s, in a year when the national average SAT score went down 7 points. We also have more National Merit Scholars and more valedictorians. We are working to keep the best and brightest students here in the state of Indiana.
Stronger students help attract and retain the best faculty, who generate national and international attention with their innovations in research and scholarship. National attention attracts business and industry to the state. This kind of chain reaction creates an environment where high achievement is the norm at every level from kindergarten through college and beyond.
Our attention to regional needs also translates into stronger partnerships with other institutions of higher learning around the state. I understand that the Ivy Tech facilities here in Evansville have undergone renovation and expansion that include a new library and student center. Chancellor Schenk should be congratulated on the terrifically successful capital campaign that supported this impressive project. The success of this campaign is testimony to the community’s tremendous support for higher education.
Working collaboratively with institutions like Ivy Tech, USI, University of Evansville, Purdue, and others around the state will allow IU to target its offerings to help meet regional needs in an efficient and effective way.
Higher standards, international partnerships, and a vibrant life science research program that aims to improve the health of Hoosiers: these are just a few of the priorities that are driving changes at Indiana University. Each of these priorities will help strengthen the research and educational missions of the university as a whole, producing stronger graduates and attracting top-rate faculty from around the world, and this will have a dramatic effect on economic development.
The impact of these improvements on the entire state promises to be substantial. With nationally and internationally recognized educational programs and research projects, Indiana University is a magnet for individuals and companies from across the nation and around the world who are drawn by our faculty expertise and our highly trained graduates. This is true across the entire state and will only enhance statewide economic development.
Of IU’s nearly 490,000 living graduates, more than 250,000 live and work in Indiana.
With new programs in Comprehensive Human Biology and 21st Century Interdisciplinary Science, we will be adding to the number of highly-trained graduates who are ready to contribute to the Indiana economy.
IU already trains more than 50 percent of Indiana’s physicians, 64 percent of optometrists, 40 percent of nurses, 35 percent of teachers, 75 percent of lawyers, and 90 percent of dentists are IU graduates. We provide the educational foundation for many of this state’s professional leaders.
The Emerging Generation
One challenge facing the university as we strive to meet our ambitious goals is generational change. Baby boomers have served with great distinction in University faculty, administrative, and leadership positions for decades, but are now nearing retirement.
By way of example, over the past few months, I have appointed six new deans at IU Bloomington. Of the 565 tenured faculty members on that campus, over half will be eligible to retire in the next ten years.
Managing this generational transformation will certainly be a test of university leadership in the coming years. For it is on these new faculty and administrative leaders that the future of Indiana University will depend.
Impact on Evansville
What do these priorities mean for the city of Evansville?
They will mean more jobs with better pay, more tax revenue, and expanded economic development opportunities.
They will mean enhanced partnerships with individuals, community organizations, and industries.
They will mean better and better students will attend Indiana University. We will come to expect a more qualified and more diverse student body. This will, in turn, attract even better faculty and retain the best currently here.
We will come to expect globally literate graduates with international experience. We will come to expect the best minds to stay in Indiana to generate the innovation and economic development that will move the state forward. We will come to expect cooperation, collaboration, and success.
The winds of change that transform the face of the University necessarily change this city as well, through collaboration and partnership with Evansville businesses and institutions of higher learning.
To achieve our goals, though, we will need your continued your support, which you have always given of unselfishly and in the fullest measure.