Fulfilling the Promise

Indiana University was founded in 1820 on a promise to the people of the newly established State of Indiana that the civic, cultural, social, and economic life of the state and of its citizens would be enlarged and enriched by an exceptional public institution of higher education. In the years that followed, Indiana University has consistently redeemed that promise through the outstanding achievements of generations of faculty members in a dazzling array of fields of inquiry and through the leadership of remarkable presidents such as David Starr Jordan, William Lowe Bryan, and Herman B Wells. IU has educated hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers, and they have gone on to be civic, cultural, social, and economic leaders of the state, the nation, and indeed the world. As we prepare for IU’s Bicentennial in the academic year 2019–2020, we recommit ourselves to fulfilling that promise.

While a bicentennial year is a singular and fitting opportunity to celebrate many great achievements—and IU absolutely will do that—the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University is fundamentally a forward-looking document. It sets forth goals and strategies for IU's future. Building on the IU Principles of Excellence, the New Academic Directions report, and the Blueprint for Student Attainment, this Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University sets forth bold priorities and specific actions to be accomplished in time for the Bicentennial, which will keep Indiana University on the course of greatness in its third century.

I shared my vision for a Bicentennial Strategic Plan in the 2013 State of the University address, and at that time directed the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs to lead the task of developing this plan. The plan was to be drawn largely from the existing strategic plans of campuses and administrative units (including plans that were in the drafting phase), giving them direction, coherence, and focus from a university-wide perspective. In my 2014 State of the University address, I presented a detailed draft of the plan, as well as a multifaceted process for soliciting input. The Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (OEVPUAA) posted to the website a complete draft of the plan, with a simple mechanism for recording comments of any length. Strategic Plan Forums, to which all faculty, staff, and students were invited, were held on all eight campuses on which Indiana University offers academic programs. The website garnered 334 comments covering virtually every aspect of the draft and representing a wide range of perspectives. OEVPUAA and the Office of the President received many additional sets of comments from individuals, faculty committees, schools, governance organizations, and faculty and staff councils. These, too, covered many topics, offered many views, and were often very extensive. Every one of the comments has been read and, where possible and appropriate, incorporated into the plan.

A final draft of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan was presented to the Indiana Board of Trustees in December 2014 for their approval. The Trustees unanimously adopted the Bicentennial Strategic Plan on December 5, 2014.

We now move into the implementation phase. Detailed planning for the Action Items must occur on the campuses and in the relevant university administrative offices, and much of that work has already begun. Many important aspects of the overall plan will be more fully developed in the implementation phase, and faculty members will be intensively involved in that process, in line with our traditions of shared governance. It will also be necessary to define precisely the stated metrics and establish targets wherever possible. Finally, OEVPUAA will establish, in cooperation with the campuses and administrative units, a system for tracking the metrics and reporting regularly on progress.

I would like to thank Executive Vice President John Applegate and Professor Michael Rushton, Director of Strategic Planning, for assembling a wide-ranging scan and analysis of IU’s environment, synthesizing many existing plans at IU, gathering and evaluating an unprecedented volume of input, and drafting, revising, and redrafting the plan. In addition and just as important, I deeply appreciate the engagement of everyone who contributed to the Bicentennial Strategic Plan. Thanks to that engagement, the plan truly represents the range and aspiration of our great university, and so charts the course to the Bicentennial and beyond. The writing is behind us. We now continue our work of turning ideas into reality, of fulfilling the promise of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University.

Michael A. McRobbie
December 2014