Recent Strategic Town Hall meeting begins final phases

No comments

By: Kate Luce


The recent Strategic Town Hall brought faculty and staff together to discuss the final phases of the planning process for goals to better the university on March 19. 

This meeting welcomed feedback to help the Campus Direction Committee strengthen goals and finalize plans.

These goals included growing enrollment, retention and degree completion; demonstrating fiscal responsibility, stewardship and resiliency and vitality; strengthening and continuing to build high-quality educational opportunities; promoting equity, diversity and inclusivity; and enhancing community, regional and national partnerships.

Chancellor Susan Elrod said that this meeting begins the final phase of strategic planning for IU South Bend. While almost all of the meetings have been held virtually due to COVID-19, Elrod states that the university is on track to finalize its plans by the end of the year. She said that while there have been many challenges, there have also been great opportunities for the committees.

The first goal, growing enrollment, retention and degree completion, was facilitated by Doug McMillen, associate vice chancellor of operations and initiatives, and Raman Adaikkalavan, associate professor in computer science.

This goal’s first outcome would be increasing enrollment to at least 5,000 students by 2026. Also, McMillen said he would like to see graduate student enrollment increase by 2% each year. There is a push to improve retention of freshmen by 70% by 2026. Another outcome would be improving the four-year graduation rate to 25% and the six-year graduation rate to 45%. In addition, there is a need to remove the diversity achievement gap in student retention by 2026.

During their breakout rooms, McMillen and Adaikkalavan heard that student’s health and wellness needs would need to be addressed to account for retention. They also heard that social and economic differences are one of the reasons for students not succeeding. 

Also, McMillen believes that university advising as a whole needs a professional assessment to see what can be done to better help students.

Lastly, financial aid can be a barrier for student success. McMillen said that an effort towards educating students with financial aid needs to take place.

The second goal, fiscal responsibility, stewardship and resiliency and vitality, was led by Carolyn Kasdorf, vice chancellor of administration and finance, and Stephen Salisbury, business operations manager of the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences.

They are seeking to increase the revenue of IU South Bend in more diverse areas. The goal also seeks to create a baseline budget to align with the strategic plan. They want to employ measures to be in place so expenses do not go over annual budget targets. Lastly, the goal is to increase full-time faculty and staff salary.

After their breakout, Kasdorf and Salisbury reported that reaching out to more nontraditional students could help increase annual revenue. Among other things, having more masters programs available and providing certificate and training programs could help diversify revenue.

The third goal, strengthening and continuing to build high-quality educational opportunities, was led by Terri Hebert, associate professor, science education chair and department of professional education services.

Developing a new Academic Master plan by December 2022, increasing participating and professional development opportunities for faculty, increasing engaged undergraduate students, and re-establishing a theme year for the campus.

During the breakout room, faculty asked who was going to establish this Master Plan. There also needed to be documentation on community engagement, student engagement and a census of where recent graduates are working.

The fourth goal, promoting equity, diversity and inclusivity, was led by Monica Porter, vice chancellor for student affairs and diversity.

By 2023, the goal is to have all of IU South Bend to go through a process to deconstruct oppression, engage with all faculty and staff in a meaningful way, increase inclusive recruitment and retention and provide safe space that enhances belonging at IU South Bend.

Porter highlighted the need that we should be naming things as they are with education and also making sure everyone feels safe and valued after the breakout room.

The fifth goal, enhancing community, regional and national partnerships, was led by Tom Stevick, vice chancellor for student affairs and diversity, and Gail McGuire, professor in sociology.

The goal includes performing annual assessment with community engagements, reviewing existing needs between the university and the community and having infrastructure to help promote and coordinate campus community engagement.

During the breakout session, software being a component needed to help track community engagement, partnering with K-12 and working towards the Carnegie Engaged Campus recognition were all brought up to be taken into consideration. In addition, there was consideration on why students might not be engaged on campus.
To view the latest on IU South Bend’s strategic planning, visit

Leave a Reply