By DANIELLE MILLER
The final candidate for chancellor, Barb Jones visited IU South Bend on Thursday Jan. 31 to speak to students, faculty, staff, and community members in open forums. Jones is currently the Vice President of Student Affairs at Miami University in Oxford, OH where she has been since 2008.
Jones has a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, a master’s degree in college student personnel administration and a bachelor degree in education, both from Indiana University in Bloomington.
Jones has experience in student affairs that dates back to the early 1980’s. She has served as assistant chancellor for student affairs at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater for eight years and associate vice president for student affairs at Ball State for ten years.
The office of student affairs at a university deals directly with offering students support and encouraging their success. It was mentioned at the open forum that student affairs is a unique background for a chancellor hopeful.
“I’m comfortable with students,” said Jones. “I’m not going to play around in student affairs if I’m here but I care about students and want to hear what they have to say. I think a student affairs background serves you well because you are working across all lines of a university.”
Jones described her drive to IU South Bend from Ohio and noted that she saw billboards from other IU campuses with the exception of IU South Bend. “As we engage students in community service, internships, and special projects in the community, we get the community to learn more about the university. We get out there publicly, not just in billboards but they are a start,” she said.
Jones also mentioned getting speakers out into the community so they realize what expertise is here. She said realizing what is distinctive about our campus and how to market that is a step in the right direction towards advertising our campus.
IU South Bend has a fairly low graduation rate, approximately between 20%-30%. Jones said the earlier students are involved in clubs, organizations and community service the more likely they will be to stay at this campus. She also mentioned offering family programs so nontraditional students can bring their families to campus events. “In Memphis we would do a movie marathon,” said Jones.
The two million dollar budget deficit is a burden the next chancellor will immediately inherit. Jones said out of the eight years she has been in Miami, six of those she dealt with budget cuts. “In the first month I had to cut one million dollars from the budget. We had a two million dollar budget deficit right away at Miami. We collaborated with a local hospital to cut costs. We know health service is one we don’t have the expertise to do and they can provide better,” she said.
“If we can move the retention rate about four percent it [the budget] will improve by four million.” Jones spoke of her strategies for improving Miami’s budget and said she liked fundraising. She explained having a presence in the region with a distinctive identity could help with retention.
“See if there are certificate programs to benefit the community like IT, Management, and Human Resources to give them a head start and look into local corporations to identify those needs.” Another idea Jones had would be “Using mentors in the community that have the potential to engage with students.” At Miami they have an adopt- a -school program where they send 500 students out into the community a week. “It’s a huge part of campus, giving back.”
Jones recognized IU South Bend’s desire to add more sports programs and said we could look into sharing facilities for those but said we had to focus on retention so we have the funds to add them.
She said if chosen for the chancellor position she would have to get to know the community and the campus and would spend her time equally between the two at first. She feels “Higher education is a lifestyle not a job,” and reassures she has always had an open door policy. “I feel it is important for the chancellor to go to the Elkhart facility to make sure they feel connected to campus,” she said.
The forum concluded with Jones asking the audience what makes them proud to be part of IU South Bend. The outpouring of support for the campus was evident in comments from faculty and staff that IUSB has a world class facility, the business school is in the top ten percent of the nation, the liberal arts education is amazing, and an acknowledgment that we perpetuate an inferiority complex from being in the shadow of Notre Dame but unrightly so, as we are a public institution that just needs to find our own identity.