ImpactSummer/Fall 2019

Introducing the Sease Institute: A Legacy of Innovation

Dr. Gene E. Sease, University of Indianapolis president and chancellor, 1970-1989

The Sease Institute connects University expertise with modern business needs.

At the University of Indianapolis, a long legacy of problem-solving in workforce development lay the groundwork for dynamic responses that would set a new standard in higher education. Dr. Gene E. Sease, who served as the University’s president and chancellor from 1970 to 1989, made those community connections a barometer of success.

Under Dr. Sease’s leadership, the University (which at the time was known as Indiana Central College) introduced associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, offered courses in banking for the first time and launched the criminal justice program.

Dr. Sease noted that in the early 1970s, police academy training focused primarily on practical skills. The University stepped in to fill the gap.

“When the University introduced the criminal justice program in 1972, we brought the human relations skills that officers rely on when they approach other people,” he said, noting that the University has produced graduates who went on to become chiefs of police. Now one of the longest-running programs in the state, the criminal justice major offers concentrations in law enforcement, corrections, loss prevention, cybersecurity and crime scene investigation.

During his presidency, Dr. Sease sought corporate and community partners to inform the curriculum. He also was instrumental in recruiting business and civic leaders for the University’s Board of Trustees, including Otis Fitzwater and Zane Todd, former presidents of Indianapolis Power & Light Co., and Sen. Richard G. Lugar, among many others.

Dr. Sease’s intentional engagement with the business community on workforce development solutions established a University tradition that continues today with The Gene and Joanne Sease Institute. The Sease Institute, launched in July 2019, focuses on developing customized and specific content in business, technology, healthcare and nonprofit sectors, in alignment with expertise already in residence at the University of Indianapolis.

The Sease Institute will generate new certificate experiences in noncredit courses that develop the talent for existing workforce needs. In so doing, the Institute will meet the growing demand for universities to develop regionally-based high-skill talent, said President Robert L. Manuel.

“Vibrant economic regions have institutions that fulfill the dual roles of preparing for the future and addressing immediate needs,” President Manuel said. “Instead of viewing these roles as an ‘either/or’ dichotomy, universities must adopt the philosophy of becoming ‘and’ institutions in order to serve their communities to the fullest potential.”

Dr. Sease sees many parallels with the mindset of the new institute that bears his name and his success in addressing workforce growth.

“You can approach education by saying, ‘This is what you need; here’s the dose.’ Or you can say, ‘What are your interests? What are the skills you have that you’d like to cultivate?’ And it’s that latter role I see The Sease Institute fulfilling,” said
Dr. Sease.

The Sease Institute carries forward Dr. Sease’s commitment to innovation and boldly seizing opportunities. As a thought leader in workforce development solutions, The Sease Institute will focus on adding original research, public opinion data and economic analysis to the public space. Through national research, conferences and publications, The Sease Institute will help promote Indianapolis as a pioneer in understanding, evaluating and implementing workforce development strategies and programs.


“The Sease Institute takes a collaborative and fully customizable approach to education to meet the needs of the business community,” said Corey Wilson, vice president of
The Sease Institute. “We have the infrastructure and networks to build customized learning experiences. Our community partners and members will create the curriculum.”

Building on the success of collaborative partnerships with Ascend Indiana, Roche Diagnostics and Community Health Network to build custom workforce development solutions, The Sease Institute will continue to grow opportunities with organizations throughout Indiana.

“Community Health Network’s diverse array of partnerships with the University of Indianapolis allows Community to meet critical workforce needs specific to healthcare,” said David Kiley, president of Community Health Network Indianapolis Region. “This collaborative relationship creates opportunities for academic research, professional development and exceptional learning experiences for students. Community Health Network is looking forward to developing new solutions in collaboration with the University of Indianapolis through The Sease Institute.”

Sease Institute Vice President Corey Wilson and President Robert L. Manuel appeared on “Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick” in May to discuss The Sease Institute.
Sease Institute Vice President Corey Wilson and President Robert L. Manuel appeared on “Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick” in May to discuss The Sease Institute.

“The University of Indianapolis is a leader in building collaborations between higher education and employers that prepare students for the careers of the 21st century,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO of Ascend Indiana. “Ascend is thrilled to support The Sease Institute by connecting students with in-demand internships and jobs, providing programmatic support for employer partnerships, and sharing workforce-related research.”

Dr. Sease is eager to watch the Institute take shape.

“The University of Indianapolis has cultivated close relationships with local and state government by being attuned to their needs,” Dr. Sease said. “The Sease Institute ensures that the University’s efforts in workforce development not only continue, but prosper so that everyone can benefit.”

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