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Office of the President, Michael A. McRobbie

President McRobbie speaking at the podium

Looking to the Future: Preparing for Indiana University’s Bicentenary

Presidents Hall
Franklin Hall
IU Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
October 1, 2013

Introduction

Thank you for joining us this afternoon.

I am very pleased, as always, to present to my fellow faculty members and colleagues, and the broader university community, some remarks about the state of the university.

This is, of course, a meeting of the University Faculty Council, and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the council on the completion of a very successful year under the constitutional reforms adopted in May 2012. The changes themselves were the result of an excellent partnership in shared governance and of a shared commitment to an effective faculty voice on the major issues confronting this university. The results last year were exceptional: we had no quorum issues at all, and more legislation was passed last year than in any year that I can recall. This year is off to an excellent start, and I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with the UFC, its executive committee, and its leadership.

Continuing Change

In nearly every State of the University speech I have given, I have consistently commented on the immense challenges facing higher education and the winds of change blowing through academia. Each year I have announced new initiatives, proposed new strategies, set new reviews and investigations in motion, and continuously advocated change while always recognizing the need to preserve all that is of most fundamental, central and enduring value and importance to IU as a great research university. The Principles of Excellence embody those values, and change, I have consistently said, must reflect those principles.

In the year since I last spoke to you, the winds of change have continued to blow. In some areas they have moderated—for example, we are seeing a more nuanced assessment of the impact of on-line education as in a recent major study by the UK-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. It concludes that “students will prefer blended learning to fully online learning”—as they put it, “the future is blended.” This is a conclusion that is very much consistent with the main directions of IU Online—our major online initiative announced almost exactly a year ago.

And of particular importance has been the decision of the State of Indiana to increase its investment in higher education. We are extremely grateful to the State legislature for the increases approved at the last budget session, on recommendation of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Specifically, IU’s operating appropriation increased 3.6 percent, $120 million was provided for four major new construction initiatives at IU Bloomington, IUPUI and a number of the regional campuses, and $23 million was provided for vitally needed R&R. The legislature also provided $25 million for the extremely promising new Indiana Biosciences Research Initiative in which IU can be expected to participate. But, as gratifying as these increases are after a long period of austerity, we must remember that a portion of our operating appropriation in the future is now tied to measures of our performance in certain areas.

In other areas, the intensity of the winds of change has increased—for example, the issues of the cost and quality of higher education have reached the very highest office in our land. In late August, President Obama unveiled a plan for addressing these issues. The first major part of the plan, which received the most public attention, is rating colleges and universities based on some still-to-be-defined measures of "value" and "affordability." Eventually, these ratings will be tied to institutional eligibility for federal student aid programs. A second major part of the president’s plan relates to the price of college and tuition. The president wants states to fund public higher education based on “performance,”—as is already happening in Indiana—and he also proposed linking student academic performance and satisfactory academic progress with eligibility for federal student aid.

Though the future of these proposals in a bitterly divided Washington is murky at best, it would be a mistake to ignore them. They represent to greater or lesser degree, the views of many political and corporate leaders throughout the country as well as the wider citizenry.

Indiana University has always been committed to an affordable and quality education. In recent years, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure quality, value and affordability in many ways, including:

  • Tuition increases for this biennium, which are the lowest in almost half a century with the undergraduate resident tuition increase at 1.75 percent.
  • The “Finish in Four” program guarantees no tuition increases for juniors and seniors who are on track to finish their degrees on time, and the Summer Tuition program, which provides a 25 percent tuition discount to students taking courses over the summer sessions.
  • A total increase in undergraduate and graduate financial aid since 2007 of 83 percent, increasing from $139 million to $255 million.
  • A complete and continuing overhaul of career and academic advising.
  • Programs for all students in financial literacy aimed at helping ensure lower student debt and better debt management.
  • A comprehensive review of the university’s financial structure with a focus on consolidation and scale in administrative and student services, procurement processes, health care and capital financing, resulting in cumulative cost containment, efficiencies and avoidance totaling nearly $400 million.
  • Establishment of IU Online to coordinate and manage IU’s online initiatives. IU, incidentally, now has over 100 online programs, over 1,000 online courses, and by 2015, all schools expect to offer fully online graduate certificates or degrees.
  • Completion of fund-raising campaigns for IU Bloomington and IUPUI totaling over $2.5 billion, with a major focus on student scholarships and fellowships.
  • Continued investment in IT services in such areas as e-books, mobile computing, teaching and learning systems, high-speed computing and data storage.
  • Targeted investment in new facilities and renovations to expand and enhance IU’s core academic educational strengths and a comprehensive University-wide program of repair and rehabilitation aimed at making the most efficient and effective use of IU’s physical assets.

In this context, a study released just a few weeks ago by the Washington Monthly is particularly gratifying. It ranks IU Bloomington at 17th overall in its “Best Bang for the Buck” survey of over 1,500 universities. IU Bloomington ranks first in the survey among Big Ten universities, and fourth among members of the Association of American Universities. One must always be cautious about rankings, but the Washington Monthly survey comes on top of a number of others that have praised the value and affordability of an IU education, which adds to the credibility of this ranking.

And once again, the market has spoken with its feet. This is another record year of student enrollment at IU at 115,400 students overall, with most campuses also achieving record enrollment, including 46,817 at Bloomington. And on nearly every measure of quality and achievement this is also a record class across the whole university.

Nevertheless, we cannot rest on these laurels. In all the areas I mentioned and more, we must continue to redouble our efforts to ensure the continued value and affordability of an IU education.

Academic Advising

One such area is advising, a topic of my State of the University Speech last year. The state’s flagship university must be committed to student success for students from all backgrounds, and we must adopt, as I said then, “bold, new, innovative approaches and initiatives that are responsive to student needs and committed to establishing a roadmap for all students to attain their degrees on time and to pursue satisfying careers." I requested that each campus report back to me the new initiatives they are or will be implementing.

The reports were most impressive. Each campus clearly takes both academic and career advising very seriously and has a wide range of ongoing activities now complemented with new and developing initiatives. Advising programs on each campus are increasingly pervasive and increasingly proactive. They begin with a student’s orientation, are goal-oriented and built on best practices, have mechanisms for early identification of students who are falling behind, and include special efforts aimed at at-risk and first-generation students. The effort of the regional campuses to serve the needs of non-traditional students is particularly commendable, as it furthers their key access mission within the state.

These activities, however, impressive as they are, can only be the beginning. Excellent academic advising must be more than an add-on to the central educational and research work of faculty members; it must become part of the fabric of a college education. This is not just the case where our graduation rates still need a great deal of attention, but also where students already graduate at a high rate. We cannot be casual about the rates of completion or the time to degree. As the burden of paying for a college education falls increasingly on students and their families, we must do everything we can—consistent with our absolute commitment to excellence in our missions—to moderate that impact. We often think of this in terms of financial aid, tuition programs, and the like. But it also applies to ensuring that students obtain the credentials they have invested in, and that they do so in a timely manner. Quite often, especially on our regional campuses, the largest share of financial aid is devoted to the living expenses of being out of the workforce, and the shorter that period is, the less expensive the education.

We must continue to acquire and deploy practices and information systems such as “intrusive” advising, better advisor training and collaboration, e-portfolios, early alert systems, academic roadmaps, and data mining. Together, they allow the data-based analysis of students’ experiences and programs, and the application of that analysis to individual students’ situations, to improve student outcomes.

Career Advising

Much the same applies to career advising. Career advising is a central concern of many of our professional schools for obvious reasons. More than ever though, this concern extends to all students. It is only fair, and indeed responsible, for them to expect that the cost of their education will be a wise investment in the future and not a millstone of debt.

In response to my call in my last year’s State of the University report to study and improve career advising, each campus carefully examined its activities in this area.

Here, too, we already do much, but we can further support career awareness and advising through sharing best practices and information resources, and by obtaining a common software system for managing all aspects of job exploration and seeking. The regional campuses, for example, should leverage the close ties they have already forged with regional employers. Most important, we must do all we can to facilitate an integrated approach to career advising—from orientation to graduation and beyond—that is available to every IU undergraduate student.

In furtherance of these efforts, I am directing the academic leadership of the university to form a task force to examine ways in which we can collect employment and career information concerning IU graduates more comprehensively. They should utilize available state and federal information resources, as well as our own, notably those of the IU Alumni Association. In fact, the IUAA, under J T. Forbes’ leadership, has made career support a key part of its activities, which is a most welcome development. Collection of this information in a credible, accurate way will not be easy, but it will help us to improve our own efforts in this area, as well as respond to increasing calls for employment data.

The chief reason, though, for undertaking this effort is the success and life-long satisfaction of our students in their careers. We must not fall into the (ultimately self-defeating) trap of imagining that this is simply a matter of training for a waiting job. We must be vigilant, and indeed aggressive, in assuring that such measures not become an excuse to abandon the lifetime skills of critical thought, evaluation, and communication that are the heart of a liberal education. This is a matter of principle, but the popular rhetoric of today is also simply wrong on the facts: what surveys show repeatedly, and what academic leaders hear every day, is that employers are looking for individuals with analytical, learning, and communication skills that will last a lifetime of changing job requirements and careers—and not just training for the next job.

Finally, I should note that a common theme in both career and academic advising is the opportunity to share expertise, experience, and resources—to take advantage, if you will, of the sheer scale of Indiana University. Thinking beyond our immediate organizational units must become a basic part of our thinking; if not the first thing we think of, then the second, in every question and initiative. We must leverage the size and resources of a great university to thrive in a highly competitive national environment, and especially in a global environment for higher education.

LAMP and Beyond

All of this suggests that the optimal situation in many cases may be to combine a liberal arts education which provides these analytical, learning, and communications skills, with specific kinds of skills provided through a qualification from a professional school. The classic example of such a combination at IU is IU Bloomington’s renown Liberal Arts and Management Program. This combines, in a systematic way, a liberal arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences with a certificate in business offered in conjunction with the Kelley School of Business.

The popularity of the LAMP program, and the increasing demand in the marketplace for students who have both liberal arts intellectual skills combined with professional skills, dictates that IU should consider replicating the basic idea behind the LAMP program more systematically right across all the IU professional disciplines.

The New Academic Directions report urged such a course of action. Thus, I am further directing the academic leadership of the university—all the campuses and schools—to examine opportunities for offering combined liberal arts/professional courses of study. The School of Public and Environmental Affairs, School of Informatics and Computing, the School of Education and others are already considering such programs. I encourage creativity in doing this and for people to think beyond the usual disciplinary and professional boundaries, while, of course, never sacrificing excellence or rigor. We should set as a goal that, within the next few years, IU will offer combined courses of study in the liberal arts and every professional discipline at IU, and, in doing so, become known as a national leader in innovative education that graduates students who are much in demand for their skills and adaptability.

Academic Transformation

The issue of the value of an IU education and career opportunities for our graduates in the contemporary economy was a central focus of the New Academic Directions report of April, 2011, when it asked “is IU offering the kinds of degrees and educational opportunities that one would expect of a university that aspires to be one of the finest universities of the 21st century?”

In response to this, we have seen the most comprehensive academic restructuring in IU’s history, with the establishment, merger, transformation or closure of seven schools. In the last year, we have seen the formal establishment of the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, the School of Public Health at IU Bloomington, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the School of Global and International Studies, and just last Friday, we inaugurated and celebrated the newly merged School of Informatics and Computing.

The establishment of another new school based on comprehensive programs of education and research in journalism, telecommunications, communications and culture, and film, has been under study since 2009. Following an extensive period of evaluation, discussion and consultation over the last four years, the Provost, the Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Interim Dean of the School of Journalism have together recommended to me the establishment of such a school to be called the IU Media School. I have accepted their recommendation, and will in turn recommend the establishment of this school to the Trustees at their next meeting later this month. I want to thank Professor Terry to for his support of this initiative by ensuring additional comment is also received on this proposal form the Bloomington Faculty Council.

I want to thank all involved in developing the proposal on which this recommendation is based, and I want to commend faculty, students and alumni of all the units involved for their wide-spread support for the establishment of this exciting new school. It is the right thing to do for our students. And it will ensure IU will be right at the forefront of research and academic study of the media as it continues its dramatic transformation and evolution.

The Bicentenary of Indiana University

To this point in the speech, I have been discussing initiatives and programs that reflect the present challenges facing Indiana University. At the same time, we must look to the more distant future.

On January 20, 2020 we will celebrate the bicentenary of Indiana University—an event of the greatest importance in the life of any institution. For 200 years, IU will have served the people of Indiana and risen to be one of the nation’s and world’s finest research universities. It will be older than most universities in the United States and most universities in the rest of the world outside of Europe. The academic year in which it falls—2019/20—will be a year of truly unique importance in the life of the university—a year of celebration and pride across all campuses and across the whole state, and a year to reflect on all that IU has achieved in the previous 200 years.

The bicentenary thus provides us with a remarkable opportunity to begin now to further trim our sails to the winds of change and launch an extensive and comprehensive range of initiatives right across the whole university that will culminate in the bicentenary year so that, in that year, we can all rightly look back on the previous decade as one of the greatest, most productive, and most transformative in IU’s history.

IU’s bicentenary year is also less than seven years away, and so I have begun to instruct all vice presidents, chancellors, deans and all other units of the university begin the planning and development for such initiatives. In what follows in the rest of this speech, I will describe some of these.

Strategic Planning

The history of strategic planning for units at Indiana University has been, overall, remarkably good—for example:

  • the New Academic Directions report has led to the most comprehensive restructuring and overhaul of IU’s academic structure in its history,
  • the IUPUI strategic plan has played a major role in a general improvement of that campus,
  • the Blueprint for Student Attainment has given renewed direction and vigor to IU’s regional campuses,
  • successive IT strategic plans have made IU a national leader in the uses and applications of IT,
  • IU’s international strategic plan has given focus and clarity to our international efforts and helped cement IU’s standing as a truly international university, and
  • the strategic plans of many schools have played a major role in their progress.

At the university level, the Principles of Excellence have provided an overall framework for the university’s direction and goals. We now need to move to the next stage and use the Principles as the basis of a university-wide Indiana University Strategic Plan for the Bicentenary.

As the basis for this, I have instructed that IU Bloomington, IUPUI and the regional campuses collectively develop strategic plans for the next five academic years commencing in the academic year 2014/15, to be completed by the Bicentenary and with goals to be realized and recognized in that year. These plans will be developed in the context of the Principles of Excellence and will address all of these. These plans will build on and use other previous and current campus, unit-specific or university-wide strategic planning efforts. All of these planning efforts are, in fact, well underway. They are inclusive and involve their broad communities.

These campus strategic plans will all be completed by early spring, at which point they and others will be integrated into a single IU Strategic Plan for the Bicentenary. I have asked that Executive Vice President John Applegate’s office take responsibility for the preparation of this final document. I expect to take this to the Trustees for their consideration over the summer in 2014.

The Campaign for the Bicentenary

On Saturday night, Laurie and I had the enormous pleasure of being able to announce that, because of the extraordinary generosity of tens of thousands of IU alumni, friends, and supporters, the Impact IUPUI Campaign raised just under $1.4 billion in support of the campus—a new record for an IU campaign. Congratulations are due to the campus leadership, past and present—Chancellor Charles Bantz, Uday Sukhatme and Nasser Paydar, the campus deans and development directors, and IU Foundation leadership, past and present—Curt Simic, Gene Tempel and Dan Smith, and especially Dee Metaj—for their superb efforts that made this stunning achievement possible.

Private philanthropy is one of the four financial pillars of the university, and its importance grows every year, with ever greater pressures on tuition, and state and federal support. As I have said before, “… private philanthropy is one of the great glories of the American system of higher education [because it] provides major enhancements to student financial aid, endowed faculty chairs, specialized buildings and infrastructure, and support for path-breaking academic initiatives. In short, it allows American universities to do things no other universities in the world can do. Private philanthropy is, thus, one of the key reasons for the excellence and creativity of American higher education, and it is, I have said, "the envy of the rest of the world.”

The Impact IUPUI Campaign and the previous Matching the Promise Campaign for IU Bloomington, which raised around $1.14 billion, have together raised over $2.5 billion dollars. This is more than halfway to the $5 billion philanthropic goal for the IU Bicentenary that I announced in my 2010 State of the University speech. We will have an exciting announcement to make next year as to how we will achieve this total $5 billion goal for what we are now calling the IU Campaign for the Bicentenary.

Digitization and the Preservation of Knowledge

For over 25 centuries, the great universities of the world have always had three fundamental missions: 

  • the creation of knowledge (that is, research and innovation),
  • the dissemination of knowledge (that is, education and learning), and
  • the preservation of knowledge.

We tend, these days, to mainly associate the first two of these missions with a university. These have been my focus in my six previous State of the University speeches. However, the advent of the digital age, with the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web, is giving renewed rapidly increasing focus to the importance of the third mission of a university—the preservation of knowledge—and is allowing us to think about it in completely new ways. Thus, in this speech, I want to dwell on this mission in some detail.

Previously, the preservation of knowledge—thought of in the broadest way to include not just material from books and journals, but collections of other objects (and their vital meta-data) such as photos, paintings, prints, sculptures, cultural objects, sound recordings, video, film, scientific data—was the almost exclusive preserve of the library and museum. It is this accumulated knowledge, in all its immensity and complexity, that provides the fundamental and essential foundation for the first two missions of a university—for research and for education. But access to this knowledge has often been place-dependent and it has not been not broadly accessible or shareable.

The Internet, the Web and digitization have changed all that. Suddenly, all knowledge, even in this broad sense, is in principle digitizable in at least some form, and hence can be made accessible and shared and transmitted over the Internet. It is only limited by data storage and the data transfer capacity of networks, and of course, the ability to find it via search.

Likewise, vast amounts of material at Indiana University, which had been patiently accumulated and curated over decades, can, again in principle, be made instantly and inexpensively available in digital form at any time not only to students, scholars and scientists throughout IU, but across the country and around the world. The digitization and accessibility over the Internet of this type of material, is now essential throughout the academy. There is no academic area, from anthropology to zoology, that has not, to greater or lesser degree, become highly digital. Data is being generated, collected, processed, analyzed, visualized and stored in digital form. Simulations and modeling are being carried out completely digitally. And the historical and contemporary archives of nearly all areas of scholarship, certainly the main material, have been converted fully into digital form.

Such digital material is also vital to fully realizing the promise of online education. It is essential that all the material on which online instruction in a course or degree is based be all available digitally, if the online student is to be freed from the limits of an education fixed in space and time. And, of course, it makes every type of “blended” residential and on-line education possible.

All of these collections also represent the investment, over many decades, of the people of the State of Indiana, the federal government, foundations and businesses in research and scholarship at IU, as well as the generosity of donors who have entrusted vital and irreplaceable collections to IU. And the new vast amounts of born-digital data being generated today represent their continuing investment. The digitization of these legacy collections ensures that all of this material will be made available to the broadest possible audience and that it is preserved in perpetuity. In this sense, it fully maximizes the value of all these collections to the IU community, the state, and beyond in the digital age.

It is also the collections of such objects, many of which will continue to evolve in size as will the scholarly dialog concerning them, that also define the character, values and heritage of an institution like IU. These “assets” also provide a key element in institutional differentiation for us, and they underpin and buttress some of our key academic strengths.

IU has, in fact, been a major national leader in large-scale and wide-ranging digitization projects for over 20 years.

  • The IU Variations Project in the Jacobs School of Music commenced in 1990 and in partnership with IBM, the National Science Foundation and a number of foundations, developed an advanced digital music library to support instruction. IU now has a world-renown digital music capability that our students still use today to access over 20,000 digitized scores and audio recordings. Some may even recall the IBM TV commercial from Italy that referenced Variations at Indiana University.
  • This success helped accelerate the IU Digital Library Program in the 1990s that pioneered and developed well over 50 highly unique, digitized collections that span from the "Chymistry of Isaac Newton" papers to the "Victorian Women Writers Project."

  • In 2004, then as Vice President for Research and Vice President for IT, I commissioned the Cyberinfrastructure Research Taskforce to assess what scholars needed for data access and preservation. This seminal report from that faculty taskforce continues to guide IU strategy to this day and led to the establishment of the IU "Scholarly Data Archive" systems with over 42 PetaBytes of online storage for research data, one of the largest and most sophisticated at any university in the country.
  • In 2007, IU joined with the CIC universities and Google to digitize millions of our book holdings as part of the Google Book Search Project.
  • And in 2008, IU co-founded with the University of Michigan The HathiTrust, which now has over 70 partners and is one of the most important digital libraries in existence.

These collections represent some part of a huge spectrum of material from written material at one end where the size of digitized documents might be measured in a few Megabytes, to repositories of genomic or particle physics data, measured in Petabytes—thousands of millions of megabytes. It also includes what are called time-based media objects—basically sound recordings, video recordings and films. IU has an extensive range of extraordinarily rare and, in some cases, irreplaceable and unique collections in this area. These collections contain material from a wide range of areas in the humanities, the arts and music, the social sciences, and the health sciences—areas of great traditional strength at Indiana University. A comprehensive recent study estimates that there are over 400,000 objects of value at the IU Bloomington campus alone, and maybe 100,000 or more further objects at IUPUI and the regional campuses.

But nearly all of this vast amount of material is difficult to access. Much has been recorded in what are now obsolete formats for which few playback devices remain in existence. And as is tragically too often the case, some of this material is at risk of deterioration or is already deteriorating. So unless we take action now many of these precious objects—many potentially vital to scholarship and part of the heritage of IU—will be lost forever. This represents material accumulated at considerable cost over many years and now of even greater value.

So I am delighted to announce today, together with Provost Robel and Vice President Jose, that IU will establish the Indiana University Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative with total funding from all three of our offices of $15 million over the next five years. The goal of this initiative is extremely ambitious—it is, in short, to digitize, preserve and make universally available by IU’s Bicentenary (consistent with copyright or other legal restrictions) all of the time-based media objects on all campuses of IU judged important by experts. This initiative will be carried out as part of a public/private partnership with a leading international company in the area, Memnon Archival Services.

There is increasing interest in this area not only in academia but commercially as the gravity of the preservation situation with such material becomes more widely recognized. Hence we expect that the initiative will make IU a leader in this field and truly pre-eminent, and open up many new opportunities for partnership and collaboration. More announcements will be made about this initiative in the weeks ahead.

Many people have been responsible for the extensive work that has lead to this initiative that was initiated by former Provost Karen Hanson—thanks are due in particular to Vice President for Information Technology Brad Wheeler, Dean of University Libraries Brenda Johnson, Vice Provost Sarita Soni, Professor Ruth Stone, Associate Vice President Laurie Antolovic, and Mike Casey.

This Initiative will be of great importance to all campuses and many schools at IU by providing them with immediate Internet access to large amounts of material now almost inaccessible and at threat of disappearing forever. This initiative will also provide some outstanding opportunities for education and research in the School of Informatics and Computing and the proposed new Media School. And the extensive amounts of visual material will open up major new opportunities for film studies in the Media School and for the nationally acclaimed IU Cinema.

All of this, of course, leverages IU’s decades-long investment in information technology infrastructure—through storage, through supercomputing—a major enhancement of which I announced in my State of the University speech last year—through our hardened data centers, and our cutting-edge networks.

The transformation of the third mission of universities from the physical to the virtual world of digitization is both essential and irreversible. IU has been a leader in this area through the projects and initiatives I mentioned above, and with MDPI will remain a leader. But IU’s unique strengths in these areas now suggest an even bolder and maybe unprecedented goal—that is to pursue our third great mission as a university—that of the preservation of knowledge accumulated or created at IU, completely digitally. We have reached a point where it is appropriate to draw all of our digitization efforts together into a true university-wide strategy—what we might call IU’s Digitization Master Plan. The goal of this plan is to digitize and store in some form all of our existing collections judged by experts and scholars to be of lasting importance to research and scholarship, and to ensure the preservation of all new research and scholarship at IU that is born digital.

I am directing today that Vice President for Information Technology Brad Wheeler, Vice President for Research Jorge Jose, and the University Dean of Libraries Brenda Johnson, working in conjunction with campus academic leadership and faculty, formally develop an IU Digitization Master Plan to support research, education and the preservation of knowledge at IU. The principal recommendations of this will be incorporated into the IU Strategic Plan for the Bicentenary.

Building for the Future

New, expanded and renovated facilities to support IU’s central missions of education, research—and the long-term preservation of knowledge, are a central priority of the university. They are critical to help recruit and retain the best faculty and researchers, ensure IU remains competitive in research and scholarship, and to help provide a high quality living and educational environment for IU students—on all campuses. Numerous studies showed IU had fallen behind its Big Ten and other peers in the quality of its student accommodation and facilities and the amount and functionality of its research and academic space. IU also faced a major deferred maintenance problem for its physical facilities that have a replacement value of over $7 billion, with no overall plan for how to address it.

In response to this over the last six years IU has completed, or has under construction or in planning, 52 major renovation or construction projects costing in total around $1.5 billion. The start of many of these projects was accelerated to also take advantage of the fall in construction costs during the recession, which saved us many tens of millions of dollars. Notably, less than a third of this funding has come from the State of Indiana. We are deeply grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have helped fund many of these recent projects including the Lilly Endowment, the Simon family, the late Ed Hutton, Jim Hodge, the late Bill Cook and Gayle Cook, Bart Kaufman, Andy Mohr, the Walther Cancer Foundation, Eugene and the late Marilyn Glick, Sid and Lois Eskenazi, Milt and Jean Cole, Yatish and Louise Joshi, the Harper Family Foundation, and many, many other generous donors. Our participation in the Big Ten Network has also played a major part in these projects, not just in helping to fund new athletics facilities, but also in helping to fund a new academic building—the new Global and International Studies Building at IU Bloomington.

Most of the other more than 30 new or renovated academic buildings we have completed, or have under construction or in planning, also support areas of major strength at IU—the life, health and clinical sciences, arts and humanities, and information technology, while others provide new and enhanced student services or new student residences such as those at IU Southeast, IU South Bend or University Tower at IUPUI, the superbly repurposed former University Hotel.

On the IU Bloomington campus, IU’s main residential campus with around 13,000 beds, I announced in my Inaugural Address in 2007 that IU would develop a plan to upgrade and renovate all student residence halls on the campus over 15 years. As I noted at the time, most of this student accommodation had been unchanged since the 1960s. Huge progress has been made on this plan with the completion of new or renovated student residences at the Union Street Complex, the Tulip Tree Apartments, Briscoe Quad, the Rose Avenue Residence Hall, the Third and Union Apartment Complex, and the Forrest Dining Hall, as well as dozens of other smaller infrastructure and interior improvement projects. We are more than halfway through this process of upgrade and renovation, and plans are in place for several other projects of new housing construction and major renovation. Given this, I have asked Vice Presidents Tom Morrison and Mary Francis McCourt to accelerate the plan for the final stages of these upgrades so they are completed by the Bicentenary.

Concerning deferred maintenance more broadly at the university, Vice President Morrison’s office compiled a comprehensive inventory of all deferred maintenance projects. The total cost of rectifying these was approximately $700 million, comprising small projects totaling approximately $170 million, and large projects totaling approximately $530 million.

A strategy was developed to address all of these small projects with the regular R&R funding from the state (the restoration of which in the last budget we again wish to thank the Legislature and Commission for), a special temporary student fee and other university and campuses resources. It is expected that all of these projects will be complete and we will have “caught up” on projects in this category by the Bicentenary.

The large projects primarily consist of “whole building” renovations. Here the strategy is to renovate and repurpose buildings primarily on the IUB and IUPUI campuses to ensure we make the best use of them in support of the core research and education missions of IU. These are buildings and facilities that have, in many cases, been funded by the people of Indiana going back, in some cases, over a century. In our next three biennial budget sessions leading up to the Bicentenary, we will prioritize requests for such whole building renovations.

On the IU Bloomington campus, the bulk of such renovations, comprising more than half of the total of $530 million for all large projects at IU, form part of the extended Old Crescent renovation and related projects. This is in total the most ambitious renovation and repurposing project ever carried out at Indiana University. The goal, first announced in my 2009 State of the University speech, is to renovate and return to student and academic use all the magnificent iconic buildings that comprise the Old Crescent—the historic core of the IU Bloomington campus that dates back to the 19th Century, including parts of the Memorial Union, and to repurpose again as student residences as they once were, the superb buildings that comprise the Wells Quad.

This process is well underway—this functionally and beautifully renovated room in which we meet today being just one example now of many. In addition, $21 million was appropriated in the last state budget session for the renovation of the whole of this building, which was poorly utilized for years. These renovations will start this academic year, and the renovated building will be the highly functional and prominent home of IU’s innovative new Media School, should it be approved by the Trustees.

Once again, let me express our deepest appreciation to the legislature for approving this funding for this building and for major renovations at IUPUI, on a number of the regional campuses, and for the replacement of Tamarack Hall at IU Northwest.

It will be our goal to complete the core Old Crescent renovations by the IU Bicentenary.

Late next month, will see the opening of the magnificent new Eskenazi Health Hospital adjoining our Indianapolis campus, named in honor of proud IU alumni, Sid and Lois Eskenazi. At that point all of the present Wishard Hospital buildings become IU properties under the terms of the land-swap that provided what was previously IU land for the new hospital. These buildings comprise around a million square feet of space. Some are usable with little modification, some require substantial renovation and some will have to be demolished. But over all, this new space provides an enormous windfall for the health and clinical sciences at IU and for the IUPUI campus. I have asked Vice President Tom Morrison, working with Vice President for University Clinical Affairs Jay Hess and Chancellor Charles Bantz, to develop a plan for the comprehensive repurposing and renovation of this space in a coherent way in line with the IUPUI and IU Health Master Plan. Again, the goal will be to accomplish much of this by the IU bicentenary and details will be incorporated in the IU bicentenary strategic plan.

I should note that, in keeping with the ultimate fiscal responsibility that our Trustees bear for Indiana University and all its property, a great debt of gratitude is owed to our Board for their persistence in not only requiring the administration to develop a plan to address the broader deferred maintenance problem for the university, but the development of a coherent and prioritized plan for the development of all the campuses of Indiana University. The impact they have had in this area, the direction they have given to the creation of new schools and the internationalization of the university, and their constant drive for excellence and efficiency, have been absolutely essential to the extraordinary progress IU has made in recent years.

Conclusion

For nearly 200 years, Indiana University and the state of Indiana have been united in a powerful partnership in which the citizens of the state have entrusted us with land, with resources, and with the education of their children. We have returned that trust by building a community of scholars who contribute in transformative and innovative ways to the prosperity and progress of the state, the nation, and the world.

As we approach our bicentenary, we must commit to strengthening that partnership and extending it over the next 200 years, but in doing so, we must continue to move forward unified in purpose and in action.

We must do all that we can to ensure the continued value and affordability of an IU education and to help all students to attain their degrees on time. We must strive to understand what employers need from our graduates and to offer courses and programs that allow graduates to pursue fulfilling careers. And, because our dedication to excellence extends to our commitment to student life, we must ensure that our students have the living environments that create and sustain a community of learners.

We must promote collaborative learning and research, by sharing expertise, experience, and resources. We must continue to ensure that our faculty has access to the most advanced tools and facilities to support their research and scholarship, and to ensure that the complete scholarly record is preserved for future generations.

And, above all, we must never waver in our commitment to excellence in our two fundamental missions of education and research. At Indiana University, we will continue, just as we have for nearly 200 years, to provide excellent education and to conduct research that changes our world.

If the winds of change are to continue to transform Indiana University in the ways I have described, we will need the continued and ongoing support of faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends. I look forward to continuing to work with you, side by side, as we advance this great university.

Thank you very much.