Greetings! I hope this message finds you doing well. I ask you to take a moment to reflect and take pride in the many accomplishments we have achieved as a community of learners. I thank you for your hard work, enthusiasm and dedication. In this message I highlight a partial list of our accomplishments. These achievements are both intentional and relevant to the needs of our students and North Central Indiana. We continue to focus our energy around our three themes; Academic Excellence and Student Success, Making Friends and Establishing Relationships, and Transforming the Region. These themes allow us to continue to be strategic.
We are On the Move! This fall we had a 6.7 percent enrollment increase. In the past few months we implemented 12 new degree programs, Dr. TJ Sullivan received an NSF grant, and we celebrated a successful and historic first season for our women’s volleyball team. Just this past weekend, at the Model UN competition, one of our students, Rebecca Kasey won the best delegate and Rachel Kasey and Katie Morgan were part of a best delegation team. Our jazz band and student theater troupe recently gave outstanding performances.
I am very proud of two recognitions the campus recently received, we were noted for being the IU campus whose students accumulated the least amount of debt upon graduation. We also received a very high rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) in their study on what subjects students learn in college. We earned the highest grade of any IU campus and we were one of only four colleges in the State of Indiana who received that grade. The city of Kokomo has been recognized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as the Community of the Year. I believe that our efforts to transform the region played a role in receiving that recognition.
The trailblazer group in Admissions ignited the campus this fall with the recruitment of the largest freshman class in IUK history. We are poised to beat this record as we just completed the largest VIP Day on campus with over 200 students and parents visiting us as they make their college choice. I hope you all got a chance to watch our pioneer athletic team, women’s volleyball, draw hundreds of fans to their games. The men’s basketball team is on its way with a win in their first game against IU Northwest. We have submitted our application to the NAIA league so we can build on this great start.
Our faculty are working to add four new degrees. These degrees include Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Environmental Science, Bachelor of Homeland Security, and Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies. Also, two new minor programs, Environmental Science and Coaching, are in progress. In addition, the Nursing faculty opened their new Simulation Center, the Business faculty revised their undergraduate curriculum, the Education faculty launched the Center for Educational Partnership, and the School of Arts and Sciences reorganized into two Schools.
Our advising team has designed and implemented a new Student Success Center grounded in coaching students during their college journey. They continue to enhance the advising centers by involving peer mentors in each center.
One of the highlights of this semester has been Greg Ogle’s efforts to increase the number of students who attend technology workshops. Partnering with faculty, Greg has instructed approximately 300 students in his workshops – a great step forward! The IT staff continues to work tirelessly to deliver a world class web site. They helped the registrar’s office launch the first online schedule of classes. Finally, thanks to the IT staff, IU Kokomo was the first campus to implement the new Unicom phone system. In addition, each office saw new digital copiers.
As you look around the campus, I know you can’t help but notice the tremendous efforts of the Physical Plant staff - enhanced campus beautification efforts, how well the campus is maintained and the cleanliness of our facilities, the remodeled offices on the third floor of the East Building, the new seats and carpeting in Havens Auditorium, and the new paint and landscaping for the Fine Arts Building. In addition, I hope many of you have taken advantage of our new array of training opportunities coordinated by the staff in Human Resources. They have put together an excellent, informative series of workshops and a new performance management system.
Our Marketing and Media team have worked hard to cover and share the growing number of events and news about the campus. “Why IUK” is an excellent example of that effort. They work hard to share our story and continue to enhance our brand. The Advancement staff continues to travel around the region, the state and even abroad, establishing relationships and making friends who support our Mission. We received a very warm welcome from our South Korean benefactor, Dr. Lee, our university partners, Dr. Shim, President of Sungshin Women’s University, and Dr. Seo, President of Jesus University during our recent visit there. We established a Chancellor’s Guild Dinner and the Seiberling Society that allowed us to recognize those who most support our community of learners and student success.
I have spent a considerable amount of my time these past few months sharing the vision for IU Kokomo and the needs of the campus with Indiana University colleagues, along with the legislature, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the governor, and other constituencies throughout our region and the state. In September, I was asked to accompany state legislators on a reconnaissance refueling mission. It was a unique opportunity to share our story with them. In August, I was asked to provide testimony to the Interim Study Committee on Economic Development at the Indiana Statehouse. I then received a request from Teresa Lubbers of the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education to address the “Trustee Institute” with hundreds of Trustees from colleges and universities throughout Indiana in attendance each year. I shared our commitment to academic excellence and student success. Governor Mitch Daniels has asked me to serve on the Indiana Automotive Manufacturing Council; he assigned the task to guide Indiana in its efforts to enhance and innovate the auto industry. In October, I was a keynote speaker for the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), a national organization of higher education, business and economic development professionals. All of these opportunities have affirmed our position as a world class regional campus on the move.
A few months ago, I commissioned a benchmark study of the region and it will be released on campus this month. This will allow us a tool to enhance our role in transforming north central Indiana and serve the needs of our students. Finally, I know many of you participated in the Economic Impact Study. Both of these studies will provide invaluable information for future academic and economic decision making.
It is important to note that this is only a partial list of our community’s accomplishments. It truly represents the commitment of everyone on our campus to strive to do more in order to make Indiana University Kokomo a campus of destination that changes lives and allows students to maximize their potential.
We continue to be forward looking, optimistic and passionate about the role of higher education in assuring that the future is in abundance.
I truly value and appreciate all you do. Thank you!
Michael Harris, Ph.D.
Chancellor and Professor of Public and
Environmental Affairs, Business and Education