President McRobbie welcomes DEMA Vice President and Graduate School Dean James Wimbush

Monday, August 26, 2013

In his message to the campus, Indiana University President McRobbie welcomed University Graduate School Dean Wimbush to his cabinet:

"Likewise, I take great pleasure in adding James Wimbush to my cabinet as vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs (DEMA). Many of you know James through his outstanding work as dean of the University Graduate School, a role that he will keep. James succeeds Ed Marshall, who retired at the end of July after more than 40 years of service to IU that included leading DEMA for the last six years."

Read President McRobbie's entire message:

Dear Colleagues:

Let me be among the first to welcome you to a new academic year at Indiana University. As you know, classes began last week in Indianapolis and Kokomo and with the start of classes today at Bloomington, South Bend, IU East, IU Southeast, and IU Northwest the academic year is now underway for more than 100,000 IU students.

Final figures on the size of our incoming freshman class will be ready in a few days, though I can already tell you that the academic profile of this group is one of the strongest we have ever seen at IU. The number of IUPUI freshman scoring 1,100 or above on the SAT is up 25 percent from last year and nearly 30 percent from two years ago, while at IU Kokomo the number of Indiana 21st Century Scholars in the incoming class is up 35 percent from last year and an astounding 90 percent from two years ago.

Similar stories can be told across all our campuses, which is a testament to IU’s reputation as a world-class academic institution and the hard work of all of you to attract and retain outstanding students.

As you know well, providing our students with a first-rate education at an affordable cost is a year-round endeavor. As such, I take great satisfaction in knowing that tuition and fee increases for our students this year were at their lowest levels in at least 40 years, thanks both to increased state appropriation by the Indiana legislature and our ongoing efforts to operate more efficiently. Additionally, approximately 11,000 juniors and seniors across the seven IU-managed campuses will see no tuition increase under our “Finish in Four” program, which freezes costs for those juniors and seniors on pace to graduate in four years.

I also am extremely pleased that the state legislature provided more than $20 million to help fund much-needed facilities improvements at IU and another $100 million for four new building projects across our campuses. These types of investments are critically important to the educational mission of the university, and everyone at IU is appreciative of the state’s recognition of their importance.

Likewise, signs of intellectual growth and infrastructure improvements abound as we begin the new year. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • IUPUI students will make use of the former University Place hotel like never before starting this year, as the facility has been converted into a residence hall and academic building. Hine Hall, named for IUPUI’s first chancellor, Dr. Maynard K. Hine, will provide a much-needed additional 30,000 square feet of classroom and administrative space on the campus. Much of the rest of the building will become home to University Towers, a state-of-the-art residence hall that will provide accommodations for our residential students.
  • Kokomo students, faculty and staff will now have a place to exercise on campus when the Milt and Jean Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center opens this semester. The 22,000-square-foot facility is fully stocked with fitness equipment and includes a walking track and health sciences classrooms. The campus also is expanding its academic offerings with a new Bachelor of Science program in hospitality and tourism.
  • In response to a need in the community, IU South Bend is now offering a bachelor’s degree in social work in addition to its existing master’s degree program. Students will also benefit from renovations to the Education and Arts building, which bring the latest technology and other updates to the classroom and lab spaces.
  • IU East’s enrollment growth streak continues for an impressive 16 straight semesters (including summers) this fall. Additionally, the campus is nearing completion of a successful capital campaign that eventually will result in a new student events center on the campus.
  • At IU Southeast, in just another example of the campus’ strong ties to the region, the School of Education recently launched the New Neighbors Education Center (NNEC), a comprehensive endeavor designed to foster the academic success of all students, promote intercultural awareness and encourage inclusive schools and communities through support of school districts, P-12 teachers, community organizations, and state entities.
  • IU Northwest will be a bigger player in intercollegiate athletics going forward as the campus has committed to adding three new sports over the next two years. To meet the increased needs, the campus is renovating its gymnasium and adding a strength and conditioning room to its existing athletics facilities.
  • At IU Bloomington, the recent renaissance in on-campus student housing continues with the opening of the Rose Avenue Residence Hall, which will provide living, meeting and classroom space for 440 students. And just down the street is the new Jacobs School of Music East Studio building, opening this fall. In addition to providing the latest in music practice and teaching facilities, the gorgeous new building will serve as the entrance to IU Bloomington’s fine arts and performing arts district.

I also want to welcome three new permanent members to IU’s administrative leadership team. Dr. Jay Hess will join the IU School of Medicine on Sept. 3 as its new dean, and also will serve as a member of my cabinet as vice president for clinical affairs. Jay comes to us most recently from the University of Michigan Medical School, where he was the Carl V. Weller Professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and professor of internal medicine. Jay succeeds Dr. Craig Brater, who is retiring after an outstanding career at IU that includes 13 years as dean of the medical school and nearly 30 years at IU.

I am pleased to also welcome MaryFrances McCourt to her permanent role a vice president and chief financial officer. MaryFrances had been serving as interim CFO since January and prior to that had been IU’s treasurer since 2005, a position she will continue to hold.

Likewise, I take great pleasure in adding James Wimbush to my cabinet as vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs (DEMA). Many of you know James through his outstanding work as dean of the University Graduate School, a role that he will keep. James succeeds Ed Marshall, who retired at the end of July after more than 40 years of service to IU that included leading DEMA for the last six years.

Please join me in welcoming Jay to IU and congratulating MaryFrances and James on their appointments. Likewise, I want to extend warm welcomes to our two new regional campus chancellors, Terry Allison at IU South Bend and Kathryn Cruz-Uribe at IU East, and as well as to Barbara Bichelmeyer who will serve as interim chancellor at IU Southeast for this academic year, in addition to her continued leadership role with IU Online.

As I enter my seventh year as president, I am more optimistic than ever about the future of Indiana University, despite the challenging environment in which we continue to operate. Over the past six years, we have consistently proven that IU is up to the task of preparing our students to succeed in a highly competitive global society, while also remaining true to our mission as a leading research institution and a pillar of Indiana’s economy. We have created new and exciting schools and rethought the way we do business to become more efficient. We have worked hard to keep IU affordable while upholding the highest standards of quality. We have been steadfast in our stewardship of IU’s resources and have met the challenges of today with one eye squarely focused on the future.

Because of your continued commitment and substantial talents, the IU story remains compelling and the future in extremely bright. Thanks to each and every one of you for your daily contributions to IU and my very best wishes for a great 2013-14 academic year.

Yours sincerely,

Michael A. McRobbie