University doing well amid budget challenges, president says

December 14, 2012

Indiana State University is "trending green" - no, make that "blue" - when it comes to managing its budget and making progress under performance-based funding, university President Dan Bradley said Friday.

Bradley reviewed "dashboard" data related to budget management and areas the Indiana Commission for Higher Education uses for performance-based funding during a meeting of the university's board of trustees.

"Indiana State is doing exceptionally well in advancing its goals and maintaining a healthy financial performance despite budgetary challenges. On a red-yellow-green scale, the university is trending green in the vast majority of areas," Bradley said. He later changed his characterization to "trending blue" and vowed to use red, yellow and blue in color-coded "dashboard" charts to track performance in key areas after Trustee David Campbell of Indianapolis suggested the change in recognition of ISU's primary school color.

The dashboard measurements include the ratio of students to student and other personnel, annualized full-time equivalent enrollment of Indiana residents, various financial indicators for the university overall, housing and dining and athletics as well as performance priorities for the commission including degree completion, on-time degrees and progression toward degree attainment. These measurements are all based upon in-state enrollments only.

Bradley noted there are two areas that need special attention - on-time degree completion and athletic fundraising. The university's enrollment growth, creation of a University College and the development of the Sycamore Graduation Guarantee are among the strategies being used to improve degree completion. The Indiana State University Foundation is also working with the department of intercollegiate athletics to advance athletic fundraising. The Foundation recently hired veteran coach and fundraiser Phil Ness to lead those efforts.

"Many people throughout the university have worked to meet these goals, and I am pleased with the progress being made. Indiana State is well positioned for continued success in the future," he said.

Indiana State trustees acted on several matters Friday, including a proposal to create a university-owned flight academy that will operate from Terre Haute International Airport.

Trustees gave university officials the authority to negotiate and enter into a contract calling for the airport to renovate a facility to provide classroom, office and hangar space in exchange for a four-year lease by the university.

Indiana State has had a professional flight technology program for many years in partnership with Brown Flying School but it is one of the few universities with such a program that does not operate its own flight academy, said Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs. The move will ensure that aspiring pilots have access to the most up-to-date technology, he said. Read more about the flight academy at http://indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=3379.

Trustees also approved an overall 2.9 percent increase in the cost of health insurance for active employees for 2013. New rates include a 1.6 percent shift in the employee share of health plan costs in the second-year of a five-year plan to increase the employee share to 33 percent.

In addition, trustees voted to publish two new university policies and one amended policy for public comment pending with final approval to come in February or later.

One proposed new policy is designed to safeguard minors on the Indiana State campus or in university programs by providing clear instructions and protocols for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. The policy would also requiring criminal background and sex offender registry checks for faculty, staff, students, volunteer or others working with minors.

The other new policy would provide so-called "whistleblower" protection by prohibiting retaliatory academic or employment action against individuals making good faith reports of wrongdoing.

The amended policy would more clearly define what weapons are prohibited under the university's code of student conduct.

In other action Friday, Indiana State trustees:

• Approved new academic minors in multidisciplinary studies and automation and control engineering technology.

• Approved a name change for the department of art to department of art and design.

• Agreed to forward to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education justification for bachelor's degree programs in science education, biology, music education and fine arts in art that require more than 120 credit hours for completion due to accreditation, internship or Indiana Department of Education requirements

• Increased from 15 credit hours to 18 credit hours the amount of classes faculty and staff can take each year at reduced fees, a move consistent with the practices of other state universities.

• Approved a $500 non-refundable matriculation fee for students admitted to a new master's degree program in occupational therapy.

• Recognized the actions of university police officer Chris Heleine who rescued an incapacitated student from his burning car following a Nov. 14 traffic accident on a university parking lot.

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