Office of the Chancellor

Past Messages

Fall 2014 Convocation

Vicky Carwein, August 2014

It is my pleasure to welcome you back to campus for the 50th Academic Year – an exciting and challenging new school year. You’ll hear from each of the Vice Chancellors in just a moment, but I’d like to start today by framing the coming year in terms of where we have been and where we are going.

Despite the challenges of last year let me remind of just a few of many accomplishments:

  • We received a one-time $4 million biennial allocation from the state legislature in 2013, providing us with an extra $2 million per year, a generous allocation that helped address our revenue shortfall. We have been directed by ICHE and Purdue to include this $2 million in our budget planning for the coming year, giving us cautious optimism that the Legislature will approve this addition to our budget in the upcoming session.
  • Private giving was up 20% over the previous year, for a total of $5,174,560.
  • The ICHE's 2014 "Indiana College Completion Report" last October reported that IPFW's total student completion rate to be 50.1%, the highest of all eight regionals in the state, and, when you remove the graduate programs at IUPUI and compare only undergraduate completion rates, we are only 1.6% below that of IUPUI.
  • The Doctor of Nursing Practice, a system-wide offering by the Fort Wayne, Calumet, and West Lafayette campuses– the first doctoral degree to be offered by a regional campus -- was approved by both the Purdue Board of Trustees and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. It only awaits approval by the Higher Learning Commission before implementation and admitting the First class in fall 2015.
  • IPFW became a completely smoke-free campus.
  • For the first time, an inclusive and transparent budgeting process with representation from across campus was implemented. The university budget committee was established and recommended both reductions and reallocations to the 2014-15 budget. The committee’s recommendations were accepted in their entirety, and for the first time in many years a balanced budget was accomplished.
  • TIP, the Tuition Incentive Program, a 50% tuition reduction incentive, has brought 90 former students, who had completed at least 60 credits and were in good academic standing, back to campus to complete their degrees. These students are enrolled across all colleges and most importantly, they are students who would not otherwise be here. Now they are on the way to becoming alumni.
  • The Division of Advancement was established bringing together those units with major responsibility for external relations; development, University Relations, and Alumni Relations. This alignment of functions will better serve the needs for the coordination and integration of fundraising, alumni targeted and externally focused activities. Wendy Kobler, our new vice chancellor for Advancement, began on February 1. Significant progress has been made since February to align and re-organize units and functions within units, to serve the changing needs of campus, focus on university priorities and structure the division and functions according to national best practices.
  • $335,000 of the one-time legislative allocation was invested in TAP, the Transformational Allocation Program. which funded special projects and initiatives to improve recruitment and retention. Ten proposals were funded, including a piano keyboard laboratory, a mathematics assistance learning lab, a digital x-ray learning system for the dental clinic, Civics Day, which brought 200 area high school juniors, future IPFW students, to campus to engage in discussion with current students, faculty and a US Congressman about American politics, and with the goal of increasing visits of high school students to campus, a project (Susan Byers) is testing new ways of connecting with influencers in high schools (principles, advisors and teachers). The outcomes of these projects will be measured in this and future years.
  • 18 new faculty members were hired and 15 faculty were promoted and tenured, including four who were promoted to full professor. Tonight we celebrate these promotions and tenure awards at a reception in the International Ballroom. The list of these names have been posted on the web. I ask these faculty to please stand and be recognized.
  • George Kalamaras, widely published and renowned professor of English, who has taught at IPFW for 18 years was named Indiana Poet Laureate by the Indiana Arts Commission.
  • Eight books and 182 refereed articles were published, and 236 scholarly presentations were made by 143 faculty and staff.
  • Over $250,000 was invested in the Honors Program and Professor Ann Livschiz was named director. Thanks to the partnerships between honors and the academic advisors in colleges across campus, honors course registrations this fall are up 35%, over last fall (136 to 183). Ninety-two incoming freshmen, the largest number ever, will join the Honors Program this fall for a total of 123 students enrolled in honors classes. 33 faculty members from 19 departments submitted proposals to develop new honors courses resulting in 19 new and revised courses, including five team-taught courses. All honors courses offered this fall will be taught by full-time faculty, a significant change from past years. This month the Honor’s Program and Chapman Scholars Program, our premier scholarship program targeted toward high academic achieving students, will be housed in beautiful new space on the second floor of the library.
  • The Information Technology Services department implemented a significant number of improvements, just to name a few, full wireless coverage of the "green spaces" across campus, new security measures for enhanced protection, installation of classroom technology in 11 classrooms plus 20 Apple TV units with 32 more planned in the next few weeks, color printing and ability to print from personal laptops for students. And importantly, they brought us out of the Digital Dark Ages by retiring GroupWise and replacing it with Outlook in July.

Enrollment numbers this fall show increases in new undergraduate and graduate students, but declines in returning students. Vice Chancellor McClellan will provide more details in his report.

In response to some questions about whether IPFW is pulling back from our community involvement as a result of discontinuing Riverfest and reducing the number of Omnibus Lectures, let me share the following:

  • More than 25,000 people came to campus this summer to celebrate and participate in the annual Three Rivers Children’s Fest.
  • The two Omnibus lectures drew over 2,400 attendees (a third, Bill Nye the Science Guy was a Sell Out, but as you recall, canceled to take a gig on Dancing with the Stars) -- This year’s series will outpace last year’s with our stellar lineup of speakers; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Garrison Keillor. And while not finalized at this time, we anticipate announcing a 4th lecture to be held in spring within the next few weeks.
  • The Department of Music welcomed over 3,500 community members to 49 concerts and recitals.
  • The Department of Theatre gave 27 performances of plays and musicals, entertaining over 2,500 people. The Department of Fine arts and Visual Communication and Design opened seven gallery exhibitions of faculty and student work viewed by more than 2,000 patrons. The Indian Performance Series, presented by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Shruti Cultural Society presented two concerts with over 1,800 people in attendance. More than 750 students of all ages took part in art, dance, theatre, and music sessions through the Community Arts Academy.
  • Job fairs brought over 240 companies and over 1000 students and community members to campus from across the region in response to over 10,000 job openings.
  • A physics camp, science camps, annual Chinese New Year’s Celebrations, countless events sponsored by ODMA, Student Government and clubs, faculty lectures, columns for newspapers and magazines written by faculty and staff, and more. These hundreds of events, programs, activities are hosted and/or sponsored by IPFW, the majority of them offered free or at nominal cost to the Fort Wayne community and the region.

The major focus of effort and activity this year will be upon the process that will position IPFW for a stronger and more vibrant future, the strategic alignment process, and the implementation of Plan 2020, the 2014-2020 Strategic Plan.

The goals of Plan 2020, clearly focus our vision and mission on student success, creating, integrating and applying knowledge, dedicating ourselves to driving cultural and economic impacts in the region and around the world, and strengthening the university by aligning our development efforts, our budgets, and our resources to create an even higher quality and efficient organization.
Plan 2020 represents input from almost 600 people, faculty and staff, students, prospective students, community leaders, employers, and alumni. Metric areas and outcomes have been identified which clearly chart our direction over the next six years. Aligning our resources to these goals and metric areas will drive us toward the outcomes.

To support the strategic plan, we launched USAP, the University Strategic Alignment Process. Through USAP, we will develop an ongoing system of goal-setting, progress reports and accountability, so that all units, academic and support, will be actively working to achieve the university-wide goals of the strategic plan by 2020. Twenty four members of the campus community have agreed to serve as a task force that will conduct an in-depth and comprehensive assessment of all programs and services of the university and make recommendations of how to align our resources with our priorities; i.e., the goals of our strategic plan. This assessment will be data based and data informed according to metrics developed by the Task Force in collaboration with departments and units. The USAP team has launched a web site to assure the process will be transparent and provide continual communication as the work progresses throughout the year. Co-Chairs of the Task Force, Rachel Hile and Mandi Witkovsky, will now say a few words.

[Rachel Hile and Mandi Witkovsky speak]

Regarding Athletics, I have asked Stan Davis and David Wesse, working with the Athletics Department, to conduct analyses and propose a number of options to effectively reduce the subsidy to athletics. As a starting point they will call upon the Senate’s URPC report on athletics completed in spring. This report encompasses many aspects of athletic programming, including revenues, expenses, structure, students success and community involvement. The work of USAP will also be utilized to inform their analyses of the financial impact, enrollment impact and NCAA implications of the options they propose. Our student athletes have been and continue to be “students” first and have unquestionably demonstrated excellence in academic performance as well as on the fields and courts. Whatever the decisions going forward to reduce the subsidy to the athletics department, first and foremost, the education and welfare of our students will be our primary concern and focus.

Two weeks ago, the report titled “IPFW Roles and Governance Report” commissioned by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was released to the State Budget Committee and the public. This report summarized findings of a study commissioned by the Partnership to “determine the most appropriate role for IPFW within the community and to analyze whether the current governance structures are the most educationally productive”. As I shared in my message to you on August 14, IPFW’s long standing and vocal advocacy for the following changes will enable us to more fully achieve our mission:

  • Academic autonomy at the graduate level equal to what we have at the undergraduate level;
  • Designation as a “Multi-System, Comprehensive Institution”
  • Substantive increase in our base funding as well as changes in performance funding metrics to increase alignment with our mission; and
  • A culture of substantive collaboration resulting in tangible academic and economic benefits for northeast Indiana.

We will continue to work with both Purdue and Indiana Universities in any capacity that allows us to realize our mission and achieve our strategic objectives.

These important changes, if accomplished, would significantly improve and support our efforts to realize our mission of meeting the educational needs of Northeast Indiana and help advance the development of the region. I will continue to keep you updated about information related to this report.

As we prepare for the legislative session in January, our number one priority will be the request to increase our base funding by at least $10 million, the amount of dollars that reflects the real growth in number of and the real cost of awarding baccalaureate degrees. IPFW has historically been underfunded for many years. Over the past several years associate degree production decreased and baccalaureate degree production increased without associated adequate funding. The current gap in cost of degrees award and general funds received is currently being calculated. Making progress toward closing this gap is our number one priority. During a discussion of this need with the State Budget Committee two weeks ago on campus, the members voiced support, certainly an understanding, of our funding issues That gives us cautious optimism that this request will receive serious consideration in the upcoming session

Again, as last year, we will propose a new classification for IPFW as a Multi-System, Comprehensive institution to recognize and acknowledge the unique and distinguishing characteristics of this campus as “the only” institution in the state, I would argue the country, that is structured, organized and operates in a partnership that offers globally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs that are Indiana University and Purdue University. We need a different classification to enable us to achieve our mission and vision.

On the capital projects front, as you know, we received approximately one half of our request, $21.3 million, in the last legislative session, to renovate Kettler Hall and the Helmke Library. This work, which will primarily address infrastructure needs, is scheduled to begin in summer of 2016. $1.7 million for annual repair and rehabilitation funding was also received. In January, our capital projects request will be $26.9 million to complete the renovation, and another $1.7 million for repair and rehabilitation.

I remain committed to the principles of transparency, inclusion, and participatory leadership and management. These principles are very difficult to realize in a culture of invisible or non-existing budgets, operational procedures and work products that are solely based in an individual's head and not shared with colleagues, silos of work and ideas, few expectations of accountability across the institution, and an environment of caution, or worse, fear, of expressing new ideas and thoughts and suggestions of new ways of doing business. The top down, highly centralized and directive approach is easier for many in that responsibility and accountability do not occur at the levels where they should. It is my belief and it is my experience that the best decisions and the best directions are those based on seeking input from those around you, on accurate, consistent and reliable data, on collaborating with and asking for help from others who may know more than you do about certain aspects of your work, on the free flow discussion of ideas and dreams for the future of IPFW.

We have taken steps to begin a culture change in a number of areas, for example, establishing the university budget committee and the strategic alignment process, and collaborating with Purdue and IU on a variety of external relations issues. This approach takes longer, requires open and honest dialogue, a respect for and trust in each other's contributions, and a belief that the whole is much better and stronger than simply the sum of the individual parts. In the end, goals are reached with a high level of confidence that ideas have been openly discussed and debated, that data have been utilized appropriately and effectively, that the institution is moving forward, and most importantly, that our students and future students are being served with a level of quality significantly higher than it is today. I have been committed to these principles throughout my career and remain so today.

IPFW, like colleges and universities across the country, is experiencing the effects of demographic and economic changes. Responding effectively to these changes will position IPFW for a very prosperous and successful future. We have highly talented faculty and staff who can help lead the way. The strategic alignment process we have begun, led by 24 of your colleagues, is doing the work that will define IPFW in the future. It is the single most important undertaking that has occurred, transparent and inclusive, that will chart the path in achieving the goals of Plan 2020. They are excited, they are engaged, they are committed. I look forward to working with them, I hope you are as well in the spirit in which this process was initiated, to strengthen IPFW and move it forward in the very best ways possible.

Before turning the podium over to Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond, I want to invite you to a special press conference that will be held immediately following Convocation at 1:30 in the lobby of Rhinehart, where we will announce a major gift to IPFW.