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IU Board of Trustees approves new vice president for international affairs

The IU Board of Trustees approved the appointment of a new vice president for international affairs during the Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 meetings at IU Southeast New Albany.

In addition, there was a university financial report and report of the progress of the bicentennial strategic plan, as well as the approval of a few construction projects on three of IU’s campuses. 

New Vice President for International Affairs

The trustees approved Hannah Buxbaum to take the place of current Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret, who will be retiring in June. 

In a Nov. 30 press release, IU President Michael McRobbie said the Office for the Vice President of International Affairs has made IU one of the country’s most internationally engaged universities, and Buxbaum’s appointment will build on that. 

“Hannah's background and extensive international experience make her the ideal candidate to serve as IU's next vice president for international affairs,” McRobbie said in the press release. 

Buxbaum has held prior positions in the Maurer School of Law such as associate dean for research, executive associate dean for academic affairs and interim dean. She currently is the academic director of the IU Europe Gateway office in Berlin, which provides a connection between IU and Europe to allow for collaboration in areas such as academics and research.

“I'm honored by this appointment and excited to carry that work forward,” Buxbaum said.

University financial review

John Sejdinaj, vice president and chief financial officer, led the financial statement review. In the report, he said student financial aid has increased by $220 million since 2007, making attendance more affordable. 

Sejdinaj said IU’s debt was much lower than those of IU’s peer institutions such as the University of Iowa or the University of Kansas. He said IU was right in the middle when comparing spendable cash, investments and operating costs with other Big Ten schools. 

During Sejdinaj’s report of the University’s finances, one graduate student expressed concern for the recent tax bill by tweeting to the IU twitter account, which was live-tweeting the meeting.

The tax bill will cause tuition waivers that grad students receive to be taxed. This has caused concern for many grad students who could no longer be able to attend because they would be required to pay taxes on money the do not receive. 

“Dear @IndianaUniv, please stop sending me FYI emails about how I’m screwed as a graduate student, and, instead, why don’t you, oh, I don’t know, actually do something about it??? Just a thought!” David Haggerty tweeted. 

IU’s twitter account quickly responded, telling Haggerty the University was working with groups such as the Association of American Universities as well as Congress members in opposition. 

The Bloomington Faculty Council will be passing a resolution against the tax bill in their Dec. 5 meeting. 

Bicentennial Strategic Plan

Two of IU-Purdue University Indianapolis’ smallest schools, the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, will merge together. The new school will be called the School of Health and Human Sciences.

"This restructuring enhances the current strengths of both schools while also creating new opportunities to cultivate excellence in research, student learning and student support services," McRobbie said in a Nov. 30 press release. 

This fits into the Bicentennial Strategic Plan’s goal of realigning the University’s existing programs to strengthen them and fill areas of need. 

One of the goals in the Bicentennial Strategic Plan is offering opportunities for impactful work, such as research into the three Grand Challenges the University is tackling, said John Applegate, executive vice president for university academic affairs. 

Director of Strategic Planning Michael Ruston discussed the three Grand Challenges, which cover opioid addiction, environmental change and precision health.

Rushton also said more than half of the new degrees being proposed to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education come from IU. 

Construction projects

The trustees approve two construction projects for the Bloomington campus.

Teter Quadrangle was approved for renovations, which are expected to be complete by 2020. 

The renovation will encompass all five buildings that make up the residence hall. The project will be divided into two phases, allowing half of the facility to be used during the renovation. 

The renovation is looking to upgrade the elevator and improve accessibility, install a new fire suppression system, replace some mechanical systems and update student rooms and hallways. 

The trustees also approved a 650-square-foot addition to Delta Upsilon’s fraternity house. This addition will allow for a house director, a professional who oversees the activities of the fraternity, and a new facility for bicycle storage. 

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