McRobbie: Bicentennial Strategic Plan could pave way for new engineering degree



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IU President Michael McRobbie delivers the annual State of the University address Tuesday in Hine Hall on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

In his eighth-annual State of the University address Tuesday, IU President Michael McRobbie announced the Bicentennial Strategic Plan that will affect all eight campuses around the state. The announcement of this new initiative is not to be confused with the IU-Bloomington Campus Strategic Plan announced earlier this year.

IU will celebrate its bicentennial during the 2019-20 academic year.

“During that year, students, faculty, staff and alumni and friends from all IU campuses will have cause to celebrate this unique milestone in the life of the university and to reflect on all that IU has achieved in the previous 200 years,” McRobbie said Tuesday.

During last year’s State of the University address, McRobbie directed all IU campuses to develop separate strategic plans for the next five years.

John Applegate, executive vice president for University Academic Affairs, oversaw the integration of these separate strategic plans, as well as the New Academic Directions report, the Blueprint for Student Attainment and the IU International Strategic Plan, into the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, McRobbie said.

“As a result of these efforts, much of what is brought ?together in the Bicentennial Strategic Plan has already been announced, approved and underway,” McRobbie said.

The rough draft, released online Tuesday, is open for comment until Nov. 22, McRobbie said. A final draft will be submitted to the IU Board of Trustees for final approval during the December meeting.

“This is a plan for the whole University for the next five years so input from the University community is essential,” McRobbie said.

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan proposes seven bicentennial priorities, addressing student success, research, reimagining education, global interconnectivity, health ?sciences research and education, economic development and entrepreneurial culture.

“The plan contains many other actions, many aimed to conclude by or before the bicentennial, but these seven bicentennial priorities are vital to IU’s third century,” McRobbie said.

The first priority focuses on student success, emphasizing the need for excellent, accessible and affordable education.

“The first Bicentennial Priority is to further reinforce IU’s already strong commitment to student success, which is at the core of Indiana University’s ?mission,” McRobbie said.

McRobbie said IU will conduct systematic reviews of existing schools and programs and will also continue to realign schools and ?programs.

MaryFrances McCourt, IU senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the University will also concentrate on affordability, addressing student tuition, debt, gift aid and efficient business practices.

The third priority focuses on reimagining education, with an emphasis on the idea of restructuring the education schools on all IU campuses.

“The third bicentennial priority recognizes that Indiana University’s schools of education play an enormously important role in the state,” McRobbie said. “They have the leading role in training teachers and school administrators and in producing innovative research on teacher training, pedagogy, curriculum and administration.”

As a result of low high school and college graduation rates, changing education policies and fluctuating economic opportunities, undergraduate and graduate enrollment at the IU’s School of Education has declined by roughly 30 percent throughout the past few years, ?McRobbie said.

McRobbie said he will appoint a Blue Ribbon Review Committee to conduct a review of directions and trends in teacher education and education research to inform the future structure, direction and approach of the education schools on all IU campuses.

The seventh priority ?focuses on entrepreneurial culture, emphasizing the need for design and engineering programs at ?IU-Bloomington.

“The seventh bicentennial priority is also strongly related to economic development and addresses, more broadly, IU’s commitment to supporting an entrepreneurial culture,” McRobbie said.

A recent report released by Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization, recommends IU expand and develop design and engineering programs at its flagship campus.

“Of the 62 member research universities of the (Association of American Universities), only four do not have programs in engineering,” McRobbie said. “And of those four, two have joint programs with other institutions. Indiana University-Bloomington, then, is one of only two AAU institutions that do not teach ?engineering.”

McRobbie said he will appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee to assess the feasibility of establishing design and engineering programs at IU-Bloomington.

In addition, the Department of Apparel ?Merchandizing and Interior Design and the Department of Studio Arts recently voted to establish a new School of Art and Design, the proposal for which is in its final stages.

McRobbie said the IU Board of Trustees is expected to consider the proposal in the coming months.

“Indiana University has endured for nearly 200 years,” McRobbie said. “The Bicentennial Strategic Plan gives focus to our efforts to ensure that Indiana University will continue to thrive in a new environment. As we work to implement the bicentennial priorities that I have described today, we will, as always, rely upon the ongoing support of faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends. I look forward to continuing to work closely with all of you as we set Indiana University on the course for greatness in its third ?century.”

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