President Bradley delivers first Fall Address

September 9 2008

In his sixth week on the job, new Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley began his first fall address Tuesday (Sept. 9) by saying he and his wife Cheri "have had one warm and welcoming experience after another and are more than convinced that we made a great decision in coming to Terre Haute and ISU."

In remarks to faculty, staff and students who packed Tilson Auditorium nearly to overflowing, Bradley said Indiana State has "some extraordinary people, programs and activities" and both the campus and greater Terre Haute community want the university to succeed.

"I believe that the resources we have available today, both human and financial, are sufficient to help us achieve our goals," Bradley said.

He went on to detail an ambitious agenda for recruiting and retaining talented students, faculty and staff, re-investing in facilities, marketing the university's distinctive qualities and fine-tuning its international outreach.

While stating he is still in the "listen, listen, listen" mode and some specific goals remain to be established, Bradley noted enrollment is job one at Indiana State and he has already formed an Enrollment and Retention Task Force to develop five to 10 ways to impact enrollment and retention by fall 2009.

While the number of new freshmen entering ISU has climbed by more than 18 percent over the past three years, overall enrollment has remained stable at approximately 10,500.

"We have a goal of graduating everyone we admit. We're going to have to come up with some new techniques, new strategies and tactics to make that happen," Bradley said.

Enrollment tops the list of priorities the ISU Board of Trustees set in hiring Bradley as the university's 11th president. Other areas of focus include diversification of funding, developing the university's distinctive character traits, strategic planning and development, hiring and retaining great people, modernizing athletic facilities, upgrading campus housing and focusing on strategic international programs

While 97 percent of Indiana State's operating expenses currently come from taxes and tuition, Bradley noted progress has begun toward diversifying that funding. The ISU Foundation is in the leadership phase of a comprehensive fundraising campaign and reported a 21 percent increase in giving during the 2007-08 fiscal year.

"We also need to work as an institution on getting more outside sponsored projects and research grants. I'll be working with Provost (Jack) Maynard and others to see what we need to do to make that happen," Bradley said.

Developing Indiana State's distinctive traits will revolve around developing and marketing the university's already defined Programs of Distinction, its community engagement initiative and commitment to experiential learning, the new president said.

While a new round of strategic planning and facilities planning will begin this fall, Bradley said the university will not be starting from scratch. "It's going to be informed by all the planning you have done in the past. We're really starting from where we are and what you've already done over the past two or three years," he said.

"If you want to be part of the planning process, there is going to be an opportunity for you to do that. For some of you, even if you don't want to be part of the planning process, it's too bad," he said, drawing laughter.

Just as it is important to recruit and retain talented students, it is important to attract and retain great faculty and staff, Bradley said.

In recent months, Indiana State hired 100 new employees and "we need to have as our goal that we keep them," he said. "We spent a lot of money bringing those people on board. We need to put the energy into making sure they get the resources they need so they will continue to be valued and value us as colleagues."

Bradley said his administration will examine salaries and benefits at ISU in comparison with those of other institutions.

In the area of athletics, Bradley pledged to air condition the ISU Arena, home to the Sycamore volleyball team, and replace turf at Memorial Stadium with an eye toward a longer term comprehensive plan for athletic facilities.

"In conversation with the Foundation, I'm hoping we can come up with a plan over the next two or three years to begin remodeling Hulman Center and it is my position today that Memorial Stadium probably will not meet our needs in the future - that we will have to decide what we're going to do with regard to that stadium. We can patch it together for a few years, but its life has really run out and we need to do something different," he said.

On the housing front, Bradley said the university should fast-track the renovation and re-opening of Sandison Hall and, during the next seven years, remodel or replace all campus housing that has not been renovated in recent years, with an eye toward serving the children of today's ISU students.

"Any building we build today or that we remodel today is going to be in use in 30 years. It's a serious issue of thinking what will the 18-year-olds of 2038 want to live in." he said.

As for international programs, Bradley noted that ISU has signed more than one dozen new international agreements over the past year.

"We really need to regroup and identify which of those are important to the institution and to its students," he said. "My thought is we should identify a half dozen countries/institutions where we should focus our efforts and to let student involvement, or the potential for student involvement, to be the guide in this area."

Bradley concluded his address by saying many great things are happening at ISU, "but change will be needed if we are to achieve our vision and mission while living our values. I have pledged to the trustees that we will make significant progress in this regard this year and I hope that all of you will help make that happen."

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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New ISU President Daniel Bradley delivered his first Fall Address to faculty, staff and students, saying the university has

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