Focuses on increasing student retention, meeting regional needs
By SARAH DUIS
IU South Bend’s new chancellor has been formally installed.
On Wednesday, Oct. 9, in a ceremony that took place in the Student Activities Center, Terry L. Allison was formally installed by John S. Applegate, executive vice president of University Academic Affairs.
During the ceremony, Allison gave an installation address in which he focused on both his excitement to join the campus and his determination for the school to overcome several of its weaknesses.
He began his address by stressing the importance of mentorship and the impact it can have on another’s life.
“Every time that we overlook this obligation to stop, show our care, and to help a student find a solution, we fail as an institution, we fail as a university,” Allison said. “Every time we fulfill a mentoring role, no matter how small, we are contributing to a healthy, vibrant university and community.”
He said he noticed that the IU South Bend campus sits almost exactly at the bend of the St. Joseph River.
“So, my metaphor for this address is the river’s bend,” Allison said. “What meaning have I made of this? Together what meaning can we make of this special turning point? Today Indiana University South Bend is at river’s bend.”
Allison explained that IUSB has been growing in its academics, facilities and engagement with the community.
“And yet… our students have not been progressing as we would like,” he said, adding that many of IUSB’s students face financial challenges and are unprepared for university study.
“Even taking this into consideration, we would like our students to progress more expediently, and to remain for a second year of study. And we would like more of them, in fact the majority of them, to graduate from Indiana University South Bend.”
He said the campus needs to improve its coordination of community partnerships to form a more comprehensive approach to serving its shared communities in education, sustainability, transportation, healthcare, hospitality and other sectors.
Allison also stressed the need for the campus to be more “flexible” and “nimble.”
“In other words, to foster student success, we need to bend!” he said.
Allison has been a proponent of recreating the first-year experience for students to better allow them to adjust to college life.
“We need to re-invent our processes so that students can make a smoother transition from the highly structured environment of high school to the individual choice driven model of university study,” he said.
After the university has created a better start to students’ college careers, he said, the campus needs to continue developing enriching educational experiences that will keep students returning. These experiences include more structured approaches to service learning and senior capstones.
Another key focus of Allison’s address was the need for IU South Bend to adjust its programs to better match the region’s occupational needs.
“While preserving the best of a liberal arts and sciences education, we will need to add programs in areas of growing regional strength such as advanced manufacturing management, health services, and hospitality.”
The graduate student population must also increase significantly in order to meet regional needs, Allison said.
He said he was both haunted and inspired by the book “Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities,” which found that family income is the most successful predictor of who will graduate from college.
According to the book’s findings, the bottom 25% of high school academic performers in the top 25% of family income are more likely to graduate from college than the 25% of top academic performers in the bottom 25% of family income.
“A university like IU South Bend was designed to help turn around this picture, and to provide lower income students a greater opportunity to succeed,” Allison said. “To achieve this mission, we must be fierce in our ambition, and relentless in pursuit of student success.”
Allison then invoked the image of the river, which “flows on since time immemorial and yet it changes directions.”
“Today I ask you to flow with the river’s bend,” he said.
He ended his address by expressing his commitment to the university, its students, faculty, staff and the communities they serve.
“I promise to lead by example, share information widely, consult broadly, and share how I arrive at decisions that only I can make,” Allison said. “I commit to be fully present and engaged. I will place all my energies into becoming an increasingly effective chancellor and leader within Indiana University and for the broader region this campus serves.”
For a full transcript of Chancellor Terry Allison’s installation address, visit http://www.iusb.edu/news.
“sing the wild grasses
a joy to enunciate
– a haiku Chancellor Terry Allison wrote in honor of Michiana