Trustees discuss IU as research university, student involvement at Friday meetings

Bill Stephan and Tony Armstrong from the IU Research and Technology Corporation said there has been an increase in disclosures, patents and startups and a simultaneous decline in licensing in recent years.

“I think it’s fair to say there are heightened expectations for research universities,” Stephan said.

The IURTC representatives proposed potential strategies to encourage research and entrepreneurial spirit at the University.

The first proposed strategy was moving the IURTC to a location on the IUPUI campus to more directly engage with the University community.

They also plan to direct more resources to high-potential startups, an idea they said they plan to bring to Bloomington through the School of Informatics and Computing.

Additional funding may be raised by work with the IU Foundation to find more seed money for projects.

Stephan and Armstrong said IU is greatly disadvantaged without an engineering program and needs an applied technology program.

“We’ve got to sit down and look at this thing strategically in terms of what we have, because there’s a lot of things we don’t have,” Trustee Thomas Riley said.

Riley praised the SOIC and suggested that the school’s programs may make up for a lack of engineering programs in the University.

The last strategy was to encourage more entrepreneurial spirit in the University, but Stephan and Armstrong said this effort would depend on cultural changes.

During the meeting of the Board of Trustees University Relations Committee Friday, trustees heard about student engagement from Alexa Ardnt and Chelsea Wheeler, two graduate students at IUPUI.

Wheeler and Ardnt have conducted extensive research and visits to all IU campuses to determine how engaged students are in university decision-making.

They found notable variance in how involved students feel they are from campus to campus, but did not report conclusions about student involvement at specific campuses.

As part of their method, they sent an online survey to key administrators across university campuses asking about student involvement in governance, including student advisory boards and student government.

Ardnt and Wheeler are still continuing their research. The trustees thanked them for their work.

“I think it’s critically important that we never lose sight of the fact of why we’re here, that you’re the consumers of the product we’re selling,” Trustee Patrick Shoulders said.

Anna Hyzy

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