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Board of Trustees moves forward on international projects


By Michelle Sokol



College of Arts and Sciences Dean Larry Singell recounted a mission of Herman B Wells to “bring the world to Indiana and Indiana to the world” at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Many of the items on the agenda suggested the University is working to do just that.

Singell presented a proposal for a new School of Global and International Studies at IU-Bloomington, and the vision was met with approval from the trustees.

The school, which would be housed in a new building between Herman B Wells Library and the Radio-Television Building, would offer undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in areas of studies such as international communication, nations, states and boundaries, culture and the arts, international leadership and governance and cultural diplomacy and international security.

“This is the right time and right place for SGIS,” Singell said. “We have the assets, aspirations, ambition and strategic advantage. The world is flat, and we compete in a global market of goods, ideas and talents. IU must prepare our students to compete in this world and we must prepare ourselves to compete in this world.”

The board seemed to agree and recommended the school for approval at Friday’s business meeting.

Singell said work to create the new school would begin as soon as it receives approval. Trustees will vote Friday on SGIS and other issues discussed at the Thursday meeting.

“I have absolute faith that it will develop into a very robust, first-rate school,” Trustee Bruce Cole said.

While a School of Global and International Studies would bring the world to Indiana students with flagship language programs and additional study abroad programs, one panel discussed the possibility of delivering Indiana’s educational resources to the world through online learning portals.

Barbara Bichelmeyer, director of the IU Office of Online Education, discussed the benefits of providing distance learning opportunities for free through sites such as coursera.org.

“It could give us a platform to present our best instructors to the world,” she said.

The board seemed apprehensive of using resources when there is no apparent revenue stream, but Bichelmeyer succeeded in facilitating conversation regarding the future of online education.

The Finance and Audit Committee, Facilities Committee and Health Affairs Committee also met with the board Thursday.

Associate Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities John Lewis reviewed the current construction projects, revealing the Kelley School of Business renovations are expected to be complete in August 2014.

Other projects underway are the softball complex, Franklin Hall Reading Room, Jacobs School of Music Studio Building, Jordan Hall laboratory renovations, and bathrooms in McNutt and Teter quads.

Designs for the new Sigma Alpha Epsilon house were also presented to the board and were recommended for approval at Friday’s meeting. If the plans are approved, construction will begin in October and be complete in time for move-in next school year.

Tom Morrison, vice president of capital planning and facilities, discussed the 2013-15 legislative capital request. He said he is hoping for $45 million in rehabilitation and renovation funding, a big increase from the zero dollars IU received in 2011. The money would likely prevent additional building fees from being tacked onto tuition.

Chief Financial Officer Neil Theobald and other key players discussed the operating appropriation request, IU retirement plans, the state of IU Press and student debt.

With the meeting running over, the Health Affairs Committee report was cut short, but not before School of Medicine Dean Craig Brater spoke about the recent U.S. News & World Report rankings that listed IU Health as 16th in overall excellence among national health systems.

“I personally think it’s a validation of the name change,” he said. “People know what the health system is and that it technically links to IU.”

The Board of Trustees will meet at 1:15 p.m. Friday in Room 405 of IUPUI’s Campus Center for a business meeting to vote on the items discussed at Thursday’s meeting.

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