Indiana State University Newsroom

University, Terre Haute communities assess strategic plan

April 27, 2010

Indiana State University is making significant progress toward implementing its new strategic plan - especially when it comes to the top goal of increasing enrollment and student success, university leaders say.

Just six months ago, the university launched "The Pathway to Success," an ambitious five-year plan to re-shape the university to meet the changing needs of students and the state. On Tuesday, nearly 200 Indiana State faculty, staff and students joined several community members at a day-long conference to hear specific ideas for achieving the plan's goals and discuss ways to improve the initiatives.

Various enrollment and student success initiatives are already in the works. They include developing more cooperative programs with Ivy Tech Community College; creating "Sycamore Express," a one-stop center to handle financial aid, registration and bill payment; and launching a parents and families program. Several efforts are aimed at reaching out to students earlier in high school, including an expanded College Challenge program that provides college credit for selected classes.

Indiana State's plan for a first-year student residential village will create a distinctive environment for new students that bridges the classroom and students' residences. The plan calls for the creation of a new position to coordinate themed housing and develop programming.

Other initiatives include a unified student success program that would improve academic advising and expand services for commuter students; more programs in campus residence halls; expanded graduate programs and services and the gathering and use of more data, including statistics on co-curricular activities, to advance the university's strategic priorities.

"Although it has only been a matter of months since we launched "The Pathway to Success," much work has been done," said ISU President Dan Bradley. "This is an important time for our university, perhaps one of the most significant periods in our history. With all of the external factors Indiana State is facing, one thing is abundantly clear -- focused planning and implementation of strategies that will move us toward our six goals are essential. If we do not control our own destiny, others will determine it for us."

Chris Murphy, a member and former chair of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, said while many institutions develop such plans, Indiana State stands out because it has taken the added steps of periodically reviewing and amending its plan.

"You are ahead of the pack in many ways. You have made more changes and offer more value than many other institutions," Murphy said. The plan is also "in absolute alignment" with the commission's "Reaching Higher" initiative aimed at ensuring more Hoosier complete college degrees and that higher education remains affordable, he said.

In addition to enrollment and student success, other goals in Indiana State's strategic plan, and initiatives developed to implement them include:

• Advance experiential learning by including it as a core component in all academic programs, challenging students in general education courses to use scientific methods to address public issues and coordinating and elevating leadership studies;

• Enhance community engagement via a coordinated program, expanding distance education offerings, supporting economic development and enhancing Indiana State's visibility in Indianapolis;

• Strengthen and leverage programs of strength and promise and create a Center for Rural Life;

• Diversify revenue via philanthropy, contracts and grants and greater engagement of alumni;

• Recruit and retain great faculty and staff by enhancing the quality of life for university employees, improving faculty and staff development and expanding diversity.

A seventh area, labeled "Partnering for Success," looks beyond the five-year time frame of the overall plan and calls for the development of community partnerships by:

• Energizing downtown Terre Haute to create a great college town;

• Realizing the full potential of the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative;

• Creating a gateway to ISU and a connection to Riverscape;

• Improving student housing to meet the expectations and needs of today's students, including the potential for the development of off-campus housing.

Longer-term initiatives include developing the neighborhoods around ISU and developing a professional development and conference center and alumni center.

"I would like to thank the now more than 200 people who have helped shape and implement this university strategic plan," Bradley said. "This is just phase one of the five-year plan, and I hope that if you are involved, you will stay on task. If you are not yet involved, please offer your assistance. We are off to a great start, but much of the journey remains ahead."

More info: Details of Indiana State University's strategic plan, "The Pathway Success," and its implementation initiatives are online at

Contact: Karl Burgher, special assistant to the president for strategic planning, Indiana State University, 812-237-4000 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or