Fall address from President Bradley highlights successes, lists challenges

By: Dave Taylor, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
September 19, 2012

Indiana State University is making significant progress in implementing "The Pathway to Success" strategic plan but will need to continue to accelerate to reach its 2017 goals, President Dan Bradley said in his fall address, "Shifting into Third Gear and Keeping an Eye on the Horizon."

The university has experienced tremendous enrollment growth and fundraising success and has earned national recognition for its commitment to community service, he said Wednesday.

"Indiana State is the institution it is due to the people who work here," Bradley told faculty, staff and students during his fifth annual address to the campus and Terre Haute community. "I recognize how hard everyone is working to serve our students and to achieve our strategic goals. Please know that your work is appreciated, and it is having an impact. Together, we are building a stronger institution."

This year's enrollment of 12,114 is the highest since 1993 and more than 60 percent of last year's freshmen have returned to continue their educations, Bradley said. That's an increase of 2.5 percent overall, with retention among African-American students climbing at an even higher rate of 8.4 percent.

Three out of four Indiana State students are from Indiana and more than half are first-generation college students. Minorities now comprise more than 22 percent of all Indiana State students, up from 13 percent 12 years ago, and the percentage of freshmen receiving federal Pell grants has more than doubled in that same time frame, increasing from 24 percent to 53 percent. Women now account for 55 percent of all ISU students, up from 52 percent in 2000.

Indiana State recently set a goal of increasing first-year retention to 70 percent by 2017 and a new four-year graduation guarantee, the formation of a University College to better serve new students and expanded summer programs to serve at-risk students are in place to help achieve that goal and ensure that more students complete a bachelor's degree, he said.

On the affordability front, Bradley cited the graduation guarantee, a 2 percent roll back in tuition for this year, restructured summer school fees, textbook and laptop rental programs and expanded student employment opportunities. An affordability task force continues to examine other possible cost-savings, including electronic textbooks, co-op housing, reductions in utility usage, more efficient use of space, sharing of computing resources and outsourcing, he said.

Bradley said Indiana State is also making significant strides in expanding its commitment to experiential learning. He pointed to an ongoing partnership with Terre Haute's Ryves neighborhood and construction of a Habitat for Humanity house. He also noted that a record 1,200 freshmen took part in this year's Donaghy Day service learning program, faculty, staff and students provided one million hours of community service last year with a value of more than $8 million, the university climbed to third place nationally in Washington Monthly magazine's ranking of community service by students and made the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction.

Indiana State is also making progress toward achieving other goals set forth in its strategic plan, "The Pathway to Success," Bradley said. Those include:

• 100 percent of programs now require significant experiential learning, a Center for Student Research and Creativity is in place and a co-curricular student record has been launched

• Eight "Unbounded Possibilities" programs are sharing $1.5 million in funding for 18 months under an initiative designed to strengthen the university's programs of strength and promise

• Playing a greater role in revitalizing downtown Terre Haute by opening newly renovated Federal Hall as the new home for the Scott College of Business, partnering with Sodexo dining services to create the new Sycamore Banquet Center, and partnering with Wabash Valley ArtSpaces to increase the number of public art sculptures on display

• Diversifying revenue via completion of the ISU Foundation's $86.7 million "March On!" campaign and securing contracts and grants totaling $10.3 million during fiscal 2011

• Recruiting and retaining great faculty and staff through such initiatives as revamping orientation for new faculty, pilot testing a new faculty evaluation process, implementing a new staff salary structure and faculty and staff target salaries, compensation increases and launching "Opportunity Hires" and "Scholar Collaboration Days" resulting in six new diverse faculty members.

Continued growth in enrollment will allow the university to award a 2 percent salary increase, effective Nov. 1, Bradley said.

Despite the progress he detailed in his address, Bradley cautioned that Indiana State continues to face financial challenges. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has recommended a 5 percent reduction in state appropriations for 2013-15.

"While we are becoming more efficient, inflation has increased by 2.7 percent and we will need to reallocate $2 million to $2.5 million for next year," he said.

Still, the university must continue to plan for the future, he said, noting that renovation of Erickson Hall is underway to return that building to its original use for student housing. Construction is also expected to start during the coming year on a new residence hall on the north side of campus as well as new student housing in downtown Terre Haute.

This year is also expected to see the start of work on a new track and field facility and riverfront development and an extension of the National Road Trail to the U.S. 150 (formerly U.S. 40) Wabash River bridges. Bradley said the university will also work toward advancing the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative in which Indiana State partners with other education, economic development and government organizations to strengthen Terre Haute's position as a leader in developing and implementing health care models for medically underserved areas. Bradley also is working with the ISU Foundation to launch a mini-campaign to raise funds toward the renovation of Normal Hall, the oldest academic building on campus, to serve as a Center for Student Success.

Renovation of the 102-year-old building that was originally the university library is a top priority in the university's 2013-15 capital project requests from the state. Other capital project requests include funds to renovate the Arena Building, portions of which are more than 50 years old, to house the university's growing College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services as well as funds to complete the renovation of science and chemistry labs.

"Indiana State is a very good institution and is doing what is necessary to get better," Bradley said. "I would like to thank everyone for their hard work in advancing our university."

Writer and contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu