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McRobbie discusses academic growth and bicentennial plans


IU President Michael McRobbie looks up from the podium Oct. 16 at the 2018 State of the University address. Colin Kulpa

At the State of the University Address, IU President Michael McRobbie talked about the University’s improvements in education as well as the different financial initiatives in place, all in preparation for the bicentennial.

Increased diversity

McRobbie said the number of minority students has almost doubled since 2007 and now account for about a quarter of degree-seeking students. 

University fundraising 

IU researchers raised about $604.4 million in external funding for research, with $204.7 million from the National Institutes of Health and $203.1 million from non-governmental grants.

Philanthropic donations were up 19 percent from 2017, with a total donation amount of $550.1 million.

IU for All bicentennial campaign 

The campaign has a goal of raising $3 billion by the end of 2020. The original goal was $2.5 billion, but the University raised it due to the success of the campaign, and it is now at $2.6 billion. Funds will be used to create more scholarships as well as new faculty positions, chairs and professorships.

Growth and expansion

IU has recently added 10 new academic schools, which represents the biggest restructuring of academics in the University’s history. This includes new, separate Schools of Education for IU-Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Before the split became official July 1, one school used to serve both campuses. The Bloomington campus will focus on strengthening teacher education and research, while the Indianapolis location will focus on urban education.

Online education

The IU Online program has added 2,400 courses since 2012. There are more than 30,000 students enrolled in an online course. IU has online masters and doctoral programs from the School of Nursing and the Kelley School of Business. 

Improvement in teaching

A new teaching website,, offers resources for teaching, such as templates for assignments and recommendations for Canvas pages. The University is evaluating the the teaching pathways for tenure and promotion. 

IU Collections

The Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative digitally preserves research and scholarly collections of audio, video and film. The initiative has already digitized 301,000 items and aims to digitize 350,000 by the end of 2020. The various collections can be accessed through the IU Libraries.

There is also a vast collection of cultural artifacts, manuscripts, archives and art being relocated to allow easier access. The locations being considered for biological collections are the Mathers Museum, Glenn Black Laboratory, the Kirkwood Observatory and the McCalla School Building. There is also a website,, that offers digital access to the collections.

General education requirements

Various campuses are currently reviewing general education requirements, but McRobbie said he is calling upon the Board of Trustees to review the overall general education requirements and give a report on the status of general education. McRobbie said if the campuses do not currently meet the goals of accessibility and breadth, among others, then they should change their curriculum. 

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