Soon after she arrived at UIndy in 2005, President Beverley Pitts began overseeing the development of a five-year Strategic Plan, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees in November 2006. The Strategic Plan keyed in on these three broad goals:
—focus on student learning through engagement;
—strengthen and expand the learning community for students through varied, formative experiences on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods; and
—expand the impact of the University beyond its physical boundaries.
The achievement of those goals is evident in campus improvements, new initiatives and partnerships, and additional programs and systems now in place, leaving a legacy the outgoing president can be proud of. Here are some highlights:
The East Hall residence, the Athletics & Recreation Center with its air-supported dome, the vastly expanded Schwitzer Student Center, and the Roberts Hall residence being built south of Hanna Avenue provide the most visible evidence of the push to create more housing and recreational space for students. The transformation of Hanna into a beautiful and safe throughfare includes many aesthetic improvements funded by the University.
Greater student engagement.
Record numbers of students are involved in service-learning courses and labs, and the number of hours spent in those labs has doubled. A push to encourage engagement through Honors College has seen nearly triple the number of students in Honors courses. Events sponsored by student organizations on campus have more than doubled; there were no fewer than 736 such events last year. Homecoming has been reinvigorated: new student activities include a golf cart decorating contest and parade. Efforts to raise school spirit got a boost from the Orvall McCleary ’49 gift of a greyhound sculpture; “Ace” now greets visitors to Schwitzer Student Center.
New programs & initiatives.
Thirty-four new academic programs, including a nursing doctorate, are in full swing. A Graduate School is in place. UIndy became one of just four to offer the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship and is a model for the national program. A joint-degree program has begun with China’s Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages. The Richard G. Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders is four years old. The Digital Multimedia Evidence Processing Lab, which opened in 2007 to train law enforcement personnel in video analysis, just supported its first international investigation—a Vancouver riot inquiry. The newest initiative is the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives; a fundraising campaign is under way.
Resources allocated for faculty development have doubled, and there are new rewards for faculty achievement and more significant increases in salary tied to promotion.
The University’s hosting of the NFC champion New York Giants prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis is the most visible evidence of new community connections in the last seven years. The University also cofounded the Southside Community Alliance to promote local development and established a Homestead Program to encourage employees to purchase homes in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. UIndy also established important nursing partnerships to provide on-site degree programs for three large health systems: IU Health, Franciscan St. Francis Health, and Hendricks Regional Health. In the education reform arena, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning now has connections with schools in nearly every Indiana county. The 2011 announcement of the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives, which will build on our collection of papers and artifacts from four mayors, further solidifies UIndy’s commitment to its city.
Branding & visibility.
The University’s name recognition and reputation have soared, and adoption of the UIndy nickname further helped differentiate this institution from its competitors. Hosting the Giants prior to the 2012 Super Bowl elevated the University’s visibility even further, both nationally and internationally.