October 15, 2009
Facilities plan sees housing upgrades,
new "front door" off U.S. 41
An ambitious five-year strategic plan for Indiana State University calls for growth in enrollment and graduation rates, even greater community involvement and relocating some campus facilities to the banks of the nearby Wabash River.
The plan President Daniel J. Bradley unveiled Wednesday pledges to diversify revenue in an effort to limit future tuition increases and attract and retain a diverse pool of talented faculty and staff. It also seeks to strengthen the university's most distinctive programs, continue to upgrade student housing and other facilities and construct a new "front door" entrance from U.S. 41.
Increasing enrollment and student success remains the university's top goal, with an eye toward serving 12,000 students annually by 2014, an increase of nearly 1,500 students from the fall 2009 headcount. The plan also seeks increases in the university's first-year retention rate and four- and six-year graduation rates.
"These are aggressive goals but for the most part they are attainable, and in many cases they are political requirements," Bradley said. "Higher education is going to have to do a better job of helping our students be successful if we are to retain our much valued position politically. If we can just help our students be more successful, our enrollment will grow all by itself," Bradley said.
Steve Lamb, chair of the ISU Faculty Senate, called the plan as solid as any he has seen in his 40 years with the university.
Hundreds of faculty and staff, together with dozens of students and community members, spent more than one year developing the plan.
Indiana State is already recognized nationally for its level of community engagement, but the plan calls for ramping up that involvement to an even higher level so that every student has at least one community engagement experience before graduation, more faculty and staff hold community leadership positions, and more businesses and community organizations are served by the university.
"We are Terre Haute and Terre Haute is us. If we are going to be successful as a university it is critical that Terre Haute be successful. We need to work together," Bradley said.
Nearly three years after identifying a number of programs as programs of distinction and programs of promise, the strategic plan calls for development of criteria to ensure those programs are successful.
"We need now to take the programs of promise and make them programs of strength and we need to take the programs of strength and make them stronger," Bradley said. "Those programs are truly how ISU will be known and they will make us more valuable to our students and to our state. We need to develop methods and criteria for evaluating those programs."
With state funding to Indiana State declining, the strategic plan calls for a 50 percent increase in revenue from grants and contracts, a similar increase in revenue to the university from the ISU Foundation, and growing revenue from student fees by enrollment growth rather than tuition increases that exceed the annual rate of inflation. In fact, the plan calls for limiting tuition increases to the rate of growth in the consumer price index.
Also, Indiana State's athletic programs must generate revenue at a rate comparable to that of other Missouri Valley Conference schools, Bradley said.
Those goals are within reach, Bradley said, thanks to the ISU Foundation's first comprehensive fundraising campaign, set to be formally launched Oct. 23. More than half of the campaign's $85 million goal has already been raised, foundation officials said.
Bradley thanked donors for their generosity and called on faculty and staff who have not yet pledged toward the campaign to do so.
Goals for attracting and retaining diverse faculty and staff include the hiring of more African-American faculty members and the recruitment of more minorities and women for executive and professional positions.
"We want our faculty and our staff to reflect our student body," Bradley said.
The plan also calls for increasing the number of newly hired faculty members achieving tenure to 80 percent and boosting the six-year retention rate for staff to 60 percent. Bradley also pledged to complete and begin implementing a salary equity study by 2010.
"Employees who do a good job should be paid competitive salaries," Bradley said.
Expanding existing partnerships and developing new ones with the surrounding Terre Haute community will play a key role in the success of both the university and the community, Bradley said.
"ISU wants to be a catalyst for the redevelopment of Terre Haute," he said.
While much has happened in recent years in downtown Terre Haute, adjacent to the ISU campus, the university can and will become more of a partner with the community in helping develop more of a "college town" atmosphere, developing the neighborhoods around the university and achieving the full potential of the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative.
The collaborative is an effort by education, government, economic development and health care partners to expand Terre Haute's status as a rural health care hub and increase health-care education in the area between the ISU campus and Union Hospital, located less than one mile north of the campus.
A facilities master plan which complements the strategic plan focuses on renovation of existing facilities rather than new construction, expansion of the Health and Human Services Building (formerly the Arena Building) to accommodate expected growth in nursing and health services programs.
Other projects would include renovation of the current Terre Haute Federal Building to serve the College of Business, renovation of historic Normal Hall as a potential student academic success center, partnering with a developer in the completion of a new plan for student housing upgrades and working with Rural Health Collaborative partners to secure funding for an inter-professional educational training facility near Union Hospital.
The plan calls upon the university to become a key player in a new effort by the Terre Haute community to more fully develop one of its most treasured natural resources - the Wabash River.
Bradley unveiled an artist's rendering of a vision for the Indiana State campus that moves track and field facilities a few blocks westward to the river's eastern bank, replacing a portion of the existing facilities with a new, more visible entrance from U.S. 41.
The facilities plan has the university working with city officials to relocate a CSX railroad line that runs along the eastern side of the campus and construct an underpass under another rail line that forms the campus' northern boundary. In a nod to longstanding concerns expressed by students, the plan also calls for construction of a new parking facility to serve residence halls on the campus's southwest side.
While not an official element of the strategic plan, Bradley closed his address by declaring that the university would begin observing "casual Fridays" in an effort to improve campus morale by making it easier for more faculty and staff to wear Sycamore blue.
"Feeling better is an important part of being better," he said. "If we're excited, our students will be excited, our community will be excited and we will have an advantage in terms of meeting our goals."
Online: See the university's strategic plan at
Video: Click here to watch President Bradley's fall address - http://media.indstate.edu/opa/video/2009/fall-address/president-fall-address.wmv (39:07)
Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/681622471_9iFSc-L.jpg - Indiana State University President Daniel J. Bradley outlines the university's new five-year strategic plan during his fall address to the campus Oct. 14, 2009. (ISU/Tony Campbell)
Writer and media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ISU's new five-year strategic plan calls for an enrollment of 12,000 students by 2014 and growth in the university's graduation rates. It also calls for even greater community involvement and relocating some campus facilities to the banks of the nearby Wabash River.