KOKOMO, Ind. — It's all about momentum, and Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke plans to keep Indiana University Kokomo moving full steam ahead.
Appointed to the position on September 19, Sciame-Giesecke's 35 years of drive, commitment, and dedication to the campus will only continue as she plans to focus on the most important mission – the students.
"We focus on the whole student; and providing outstanding educational programs and facilities, along with a memorable student life experience," she said. "I have a passion for the regional campus. Our graduates live and work in the region. Their lives are transformed by their educational opportunities at IU Kokomo."
Sciame-Giesecke began her career at IU Kokomo in 1977, as an assistant professor, and has advanced her career as a department chairwoman, dean, and vice chancellor. Most recently, she was executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and student affairs.
"Our accomplishments are the result of everyone's efforts on campus. I am blessed to work with such dedicated people."
One goal is to hire more faculty to address the recent enrollment growth of 12.1 percent for this fall semester.
"We've had so much growth; we need to add faculty," she said. "We will hire several brand-new positions, including history, health sciences, hospitality, tourism, biochemistry, and psychology. We are also leading the way in online education, with 11 faculty members currently developing new online courses."
Sciame-Giesecke anticipates adding more new degree programs, including the Bachelor of Applied Science.
Another important need on campus includes upgrades to the Main Building, built in 1965 and only minimally updated since then, which houses a large majority of classroom space. She also looks forward to the grand opening of the new wellness and fitness center next fall.
"This (Main Building) is a crisis-stage building," Sciame-Giesecke said. "The math labs, in particular, must be updated to current standards and to meet the needs of a much larger student population than we had when it was built. We are asking for support from the state Legislature to renovate and upgrade the Main Building."
In addition, she will continue providing economic leadership in the community.
"Transforming the region is a critical regional campus mission," she said. "We have been at this work, and that will not change."
Sciame-Giesecke helped facilitate the merger of nine economic development organizations in Kokomo into the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, and serves on that organization's board. She also led the Regional Leadership Institute initiative.
She will present her most recently published paper, on how to create a regional mindset, at the University Economic Development Association annual summit October 21-24 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
During her career, Sciame-Giesecke created the Center for Teaching and Learning, led the campus to a 10-year reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, created a year-long freshman learning program, created an Office for Online Education, facilitated creation of a digital media lab in the library and a Mac lab in the main building, and implemented the Center for Research and Creative Activity to support an undergraduate research initiative. Currently, she is vice president of the Family Service Association of Howard County, a nonprofit that houses a domestic violence shelter and homeless veterans' housing complex.
With the high quality of faculty and staff committed to the mission of the campus, Sciame-Giesecke knows that IU Kokomo will continue to be a leader in higher education.
"We will continue to do remarkable things. The IU Kokomo community has been successful, and we will continue to be successful," she said. "When you put good people in place, good things happen."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.