Greetings! As 2011 comes to a close, I would like to share with you more of the incredible successes we have achieved and celebrate the many joys of this amazing year.
First and foremost, I want to thank each and every one of you for your dedication and commitment to making our three themes – Academic Excellence and Student Success, Making Friends and Building Relationships, and Transforming the Region – a reality. We will never stop moving ahead and pushing for more, but our accomplishments are many and there is no denying we are serving the needs of our region in a deliberate and thoughtful manner.
One of many recent events on campus was the Fine Arts Building Open House. Tours of the art facilities were given, along with viewing of student artwork and demonstrations. Another was the dedication of the Veterans Rock, located outside the Main Building. This dedication took place on Veterans Day, plus many people participated in the National Roll Call in Kresge Auditorium.
But it didn’t stop there. The campus community was busy with V.I.P. Day, Observatory open house, Hunger Banquet, Nearly Naked Mile, 20th Annual Arts and Crafts Show, Kokomo Civic Theater’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, “We Care” concert featuring the IUK Choir and Jazz Band, “Rockin’ 4 Riley” benefit concert, and don’t forget the IUK Choir and Jazz Band Holiday Concert!
Faculty members have been busy as well. Dr. Bernard O’Connor, the Chancellor’s Visiting Scholar in Law and Humanities, gave a research presentation titled, “The Vatican’s Role in Diplomacy;” Kasem Kasem gave the annual research award lecture as the Research Award winner, “Solar Energy;” Lucy Tormoehlen passed her certification exam to become a certified nurse educator; and Raul Mosley received a New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Exploration Traveling Fellowship. The School of Education held a workshop for teachers on the 90-minute reading block – more than 100 teachers from the area attended. We now have 21 school corporations that are part of the CEP. Another workshop is scheduled for January 13 to address assessment and teacher performance concerns.
These accomplishments are what make IU Kokomo a campus of distinction and excellence. Congratulations and thank you for your dedication to education. Because of this dedication, we are one of the first campuses statewide to pledge its full support of general education CORE transfer credits from Ivy Tech Community College – an initiative that will place students on a faster track to completing their bachelor’s degree.
As we continue to be On the Move and spread the word that we are a campus of choice, I am proud to say many are taking notice. The Lumina Foundation visited our campus on November 11, taking note about all our efforts for student success.
Due in large part to this visit, we received national attention for our cutting-edge approach to saving students money while ensuring degree completion. We were named a leader in innovation during an education committee meeting on Capitol Hill on November 30.
James Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, highlighted our “Student Success Tuition Discount” program as a frontrunner in blazing new trails for tuition cost-saving measures among colleges and institutions nationwide. Merisotis testified before the Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee. The topic of discussion was “Keeping College Within Reach: Discussing Ways Institutions Can Streamline Costs and Reduce Tuition.” This kind of exposure is allowing the nation to see our innovative and forward-thinking approach.
During the 2011 Indiana Trustees Academy, where I was asked to participate in a panel discussion, I met Michael Poliakoff, vice president of Policy for ACTA (American Council of Trustees and Alumni). He was very impressed with the initiative we introduced at IUK.
We have been offered an opportunity to be featured in a book they are creating that will highlight 30-50 of the nation’s strongest core curricula. This is a huge honor and a true testimony to the work we do.
Lilly sponsored the University Partnerships and Reciprocity Conference at IUPUI where we were invited to participate in a Leadership Plenary Panel. The panel included Mayor Greg Goodnight, Chancellor Steve Daily of Ivy Tech, Diana TenBrook from Solidarity, Christina Downey and myself. This was a wonderful experience and brought community leaders together.
Because of the University Economic Development Association Summit I participated in October 11, I was asked to be a part of the TRE (Transforming Regional Engagement) Roundtable in Washington D.C just this month. These opportunities to promote regional development, leadership, and community involvement contribute to and strengthen our mission.
I was honored and humbled to be asked to say a few words at Victor Bogle’s Memorial Service on November 20. Many attended to pay their respect. Chancellor Bogle helped pave the way for what IU Kokomo has become and his legacy will forever live on.
Our basketball season is underway and the excitement is contagious. IU Kokomo Alumni sponsored a pre-game party at our first home basketball game on November 17. Nearly 400 fans cheered for the Cougars!
Our campus was represented at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Dinner in Indianapolis, where Kokomo received the Community of the Year award. Our new initiatives and involvement in transforming the region no doubt contributed to this honor for the city.
We hosted the IU Undergraduate Research Conference this year, and it was an honor for me to give the keynote address. The presentations were outstanding – from the 115 students who attended from across all IU campuses, and 40 of those were IU Kokomo students.
We also presented the findings of a Regional Benchmarking Study that was commissioned to support the university’s work with leaders in north central Indiana aimed at understanding and enhancing the region’s economic competitiveness and broadly advancing its quality of life. This was combined with the Business Outlook Panel that informed all in attendance of the economic forecast we can anticipate.
Our annual Donor and Community Holiday Party was first-class and enjoyed by all in attendance. The food, entertainment, and company were outstanding. The faculty and staff holiday party was a success as well, full of great food, friends, and fellowship.
We continue to advance campus use of technology in a variety of ways. The web services team has worked to improve the layout and design of the campus homepage. The UITS team is currently developing the next generation of Digital Signage, which should be in place for the Spring Semester. The IT training team continues to contribute to student success with more than 525 student interactions this semester!
If you haven’t had a chance to attend an event in Havens Auditorium, you are really missing out. New seating and floors have transformed this venue into a comfortable and visually pleasing locale to watch the wonderful events taking place there.
We have received approval to engage consultants to design the Campus Health and Wellness Center. This is a huge step in seeing this much needed and welcomed initiative come to fruition.We would like to welcome several new employees this month. Tonia Ray has joined the Advancement team as Executive Secretary; Jeni Kirkwood has joined the financial aid office as our new part-time Intake Specialist, along with Becky Lefler as our new Financial Aid Counselor. Mike Spaulding is the new Manager of Classroom Technology and AV Engineer and Paul Watkins was named Manager, System Administration for UITS. Also, congratulations go to Marie Radel, director of Media and Marketing, Philemon Yebei, director of Budget Administration, and Cathy Valcke, director of Human Resources.
If you aren’t looking at campus event photos on flickr, you should be! We have more than doubled our views, meaning people are interested in seeing what happens on campus! There have been nearly 90,000 views of our photos since mid-June. Wow!
We continue to be forward looking, optimistic, and passionate about the role of higher education in assuring that the future is in abundance. I wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to working together to make 2012 an even more prosperous year.
Michael Harris, Ph.D.
Chancellor and Professor of Public and
Environmental Affairs, Business and Education