Indiana State University Newsroom

Bradley celebrates success; announces timeline for new strategic plan

September 17, 2015


Indiana State University President Dan Bradley celebrated recent success and predicted more good things during his annual fall address to campus Wednesday. He also outlined plans to develop a new strategic plan to replace one implemented in 2009 and said the university still faces challenges.

Bradley noted Indiana State's record fall enrollment of 13,584, a 30 percent increase since 2008 while statewide college and university enrollment has fallen by 10 percent during the same period. He noted that 89 percent of all Indiana State students are Indiana residents, the number of African-American students has nearly doubled in the past seven years and enrollment in online classes has grown by 69 percent.

"You all have done great things," he told faculty and staff. "I am absolutely convinced that we can make the 14,000 mark in 2017."

Bradley noted Indiana State's No. 1 ranking for service and No. 20 overall ranking by Washington Monthly magazine. He said the university is in the top 20 percent of 279 national institutions when it comes to the value of a college degree compared to its cost. He predicted such rankings will continue or even improve because the rankings use data that is two years old and recent data has improved in the categories the magazine tracks.

"This is a big deal and you should be incredibly proud that this is where we end up," he said. He noted that former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich has said Washington Monthly is the only ranking of colleges that anyone should be looking at because it measures value to the institution and its students.Improvements continue to student housing and other facilities, Bradley said, with renovation of Mills Hall, the first of four units at Sycamore Towers to be upgraded, the opening of a residential/retail facility at 500 Wabash Ave., a renovated Normal Hall to house University College and the Center for Student Success, the new Gibson Track and Field and state approval to renovate and expand the Health and Human Services Building and Hulman Center - the two largest projects in university history.

Despite enrollment successes and progress in meeting most goals set by the university's 2009 strategic plan, including a nearly 15 percent increase in the number of degrees awarded, challenges remain, Bradley said, noting that the retention of freshmen, for example, has held flat at about 64 percent.

"This is a number we have to continue to move forward," Bradley said. While a four-year graduation rate of 23.4 percent is the highest since measurements started and "a great improvement, but we need to continue to move forward," he said, calling a goal of 30 percent by 2017 achievable.

Indiana State's six-year graduation rate inched up from 39.5 percent in 2014 to a preliminary rate of 40.8 percent this year while a goal set by the university's 2009 strategic plan is 50 percent.

"If we can get it up to 50 percent, we will become superheroes," he said. "There are not many institutions with the tuition level we have, the diversity of programs we have (and) the percentage of Pell grant recipients we have that have a 50 percent graduation rate. We can get to 50 percent. I know we can. We just have to get our eyes on the ball."

Bradley announced a series of new student success initiatives, including a new focus on juniors and seniors and reducing the load of some freshman advisors while "getting out of the way" of students who don't need a high level of advisement. The university is also looking at a new need-based aid program targeting juniors and seniors at risk of dropping out of college for financial reasons.

The success of the university's 2009 strategic plan suggests it is time for a new one and 40 percent of faculty and staff and 56 percent of senior administrators are new since the plan was developed, Bradley said.

"Another thing we need to be cognizant of is that times have changed," he said. "The imperatives that we're getting from our public, from our legislators and from Washington, D.C. are different than they were in 2008 and our plan needs to recognize that."

Bradley outlined a time frame for developing a new strategic plans by a 20-member steering committee that includes not only representation from across the university but local not for profit and government representatives and an employer that hires Indiana State graduates. The committee conducted its first meeting today with campus town hall meetings on the plan set for January and February and implementation of a new strategic plan targeted for fall 2016.

"Just like the success of our enrollment targets over the last seven years is phenomenal relative to what goes on nationally, the success of our strategic plan is phenomenal as well, Bradley said., "Most strategic plans are the butt of jokes; ours is something to fear if you're somebody else because you all have grabbed ahold of it and made sure we are successful."

Even in areas of the plan where goals have not been met, "we're not hitting our heads against the wall," he said. "We're moving and trying to go under the wall, over the wall, around the wall or find some weak spot in the wall. We are not standing still for failure."

Also during his fall address, Bradley presented the university's first Collaboration Awards. The internal award went to David Robinson on behalf of Scott College of Business Sycamore Business Advisors students and Bev Bitzegaio on behalf of College of Technology Students for the Tech Express Café/Executive Express Café. The external award was presented to Tim Demchak of the department of applied medicine and rehabilitation, Tricia Pierce of the department of kinesiology, recreation and sport and Charlie Walker of the Wabash Valley Health Center for a program in which students and faculty provide services at the community health center.

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





Story Highlights

Indiana State University President Dan Bradley celebrated recent success and predicted more good things during his annual fall address Wednesday. He also outlined plans to develop a new strategic plan to guide the university into the next decade.

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