The beginning of a new academic year never fails to be an exciting time. That has never been more true than now, as the impact of our Vision 2030 strategic plan begins to become visible all over campus.
As I write, the opening of the UIndy Health Pavilion is only days away, transforming the eastern gateway to the University—and promising to transform our health sciences programs as well, promoting as it does a highly collaborative, community-focused, and practical experience-based approach to health education. As you saw on the cover of this issue of Portico (and in our annual report magazine, 1400, this past summer), Krannert Memorial Library has undergone a major renovation that reflects how that space is best used in the 21st century. The campus apartments, built on Shelby Street in the fifties, have been razed; soon the beautiful new Greyhound Village will rise in their place. The new lacrosse field has been installed, and the fifth floor of the Roberts Hall residence facility (left unfinished to accommodate future growth) has been completed. Because of these and many other developments, there is growth and activity virtually everywhere you look on campus.
These are some of the physical manifestations of the very deliberate plan that we have crafted with your help. But it’s important that we continue to pay careful attention to their context in the University’s values and heritage and what each of these developments means for our students, both present and future. UIndy has enjoyed a remarkable run of record and near-record enrollments over the past few decades, which tells us that the University and its plans for the future are indeed resonating with prospective students. At the same time, we are making every effort to boost retention of those students from year to year and to ensure that they are graduating on time.
The Greyhound Plan—still another crucial element of Vision 2030—aims squarely at that target. The process of centralizing student advising and integrating it with career development started in 2013–14 with the establishment of the Center for Advising and Student Achievement, aka CASA. This integration continues to be refined to provide consistent help to students in melding their curricular and co-curricular activities, including service and travel, to advance their academic and professional goals while ensuring successful, on-time completion of degree programs. The University’s curriculum approach stresses more multidisciplinary coursework and active learning experiences through general education, team teaching, course linking, new majors and minors and concentrations, and student-faculty collaboration. These approaches engage students and prepare them for the workplace. They also spur faculty collaboration, scholarship, and creative expression.
The Greyhound Plan is indeed paying dividends, and we expect that the benefits from our newest facilities will be powerful complements to the work being done to boost student achievement as well as retention. I hope you’ll visit campus on Homecoming weekend to tour these new spaces and take the opportunity to chat with the students you encounter. I’m certain you’ll come away with a newfound appreciation for all your alma mater is and can be.
—Dr. Robert L. Manuel