CHANCELLOR ELROD REMARKS – Rotary Lunch
IU SOUTH BEND SLIDE
Thank you, Dean Curtis. I am glad to be here with all of you today to tell you a little bit about myself as the new Chancellor at IU South Bend, but I would also like to share more about the University and all that is going on.
Since I am new, let me start by telling you a little about myself.
I am a native Californian who found my way to the Midwest and I am loving it. Yes, even the snow. I spent three years in Wisconsin before this, so I am ready. I am a scientist, a geneticist by training, and have worked in the biotechnology industry. spent my higher education career as a faculty member and leader at public regional comprehensive universities much like IU South Bend, but have also worked in Washington, DC for the Association of American Colleges & Universities on national initiatives focused on improving undergraduate STEM programs. I am an active scholar with colleagues from around the country in the field of higher education leadership and organizational change as well. I am passionate about the role that public higher education plays in the lives of people, organizations and our society. That is just one reason why I am excited to be here.
One of the main reasons I was so interested in the position of chancellor here was because of the mission and opportunities I see in front of us as a university and a community. I look forward to working with everyone on campus and all of you in the community to amplify our work in strategic ways that will reify this university’s place as a more visible, more impactful difference-maker for our region. Engagement, inclusion and equity sit at the center of these ideals and these values are important guideposts for me as a leader. IU South Bend is already serving as an important hub of intellectual, creative, social, educational, environmental, and entrepreneurial activity in South Bend, but I think we can do and be more to achieve greater collective impact with our partners.
Now that you know a little about me, let me tell you a little about IU South Bend. Some of these facts may surprise you. I my short time here I have found that people know about the University but many do not know some of the important facts regarding the size, scope and impact of the university.
FAST FACTS SLIDES
Nearly 100 degree programs offered – We are a comprehensive regional-serving university, serving primarily undergraduates but with master’s degree programs as well.
More than 20 graduate programs, and growing.
And my favorite fact – annual tuition for in-state students is about $7,100.
In this day of college being criticized for not being affordable, IU South Bend most certainly is.
264 full-time faculty
Student housing for 400
12 varsity sports (Chicagoland Conference of the NAIA)
4,551 undergraduate students
541 graduate students
162 international students
79% students are full-time
21% are part-time
65% are female
35% are male
28% are minorities
- Hispanic (673) / 13.4% (7.3% St. Joe Co; 14% SB; 23% Elkhart)
- African American (403) / 8.2% (12.7% St. Joe Co; 26% SB; 15% Elkhart)
- Two-races (226) / 4.6% (2.9% St Joe Co; 4.25% SB)
- Asian (92) / 1.9% (1.9% St. Joe Co; 1.4% SB)
72% are traditional-age (24 and under)
28% non-traditional-age (25 and older)
52% from St. Joseph County
22% from Elkhart County
34,400 alumni in all 50 states and 47 foreign counties
More than 65% stay and are employed by businesses and organizations – many of whom are led by people in this room.
Rough estimate (Chancellor math) – 22,000 alumni (65%), which is 8% of the population of St. Joe County. Someone probably needs to check my math, but even if it is just 5%, that is an impressive percentage.
In so many ways, WE ARE SOUTH BEND ________
One reason that is clear is that everyone I meet has a connection to the university, whether it be through their own experience, their children, relatives, friends or neighbors. Stand up as you are able if you have a connection to IU South Bend.
And, it is a foundational driver of the local economy with students who are from here and stay here when they graduate to become alumni who, with the faculty, staff and others in the community, are committed to the success of South Bend, Elkhart and the broader Michiana region. How many IU South Bend alumni are in the room? How many IU alumni?
As the only public comprehensive university in the region, in essentially a 60-90 mile-radius, or more depending on which direction you go, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to provide access to educational programs to members of our community with the ultimate goal of improving their lives, the lives of those around them, and the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our community. We are the place with the people and programs than catalyzes progress and, as part of Indiana University, fulfills the promise we have made to the people of the state of Indiana.
A study in 2012 estimated that the overall economic impact of the operations of IU South Bend on the state of Indiana is more than $142 million annually ($68 M direct/$74 M indirect) creating over 1700 jobs (800 direct/900 indirect).
And, we are part of the statewide economic engine of IU with an estimated impact of $11.3 Billion and 98,000 jobs statewide. While these numbers are a bit dated – we need to do a new study – it demonstrates our impact in the region and the state.
- We also generate more than $7 Million in state and local tax revenue.
- $9 Million in community benefits
- Donate $2 Million annually to local charitable organizations
- Provide $7.3 Million in volunteer service to our area communities.
And these are just the ways that are easy, if you will, to measure. I know that if we looked at other measures, the results for our community and this region would be even more impressive.
READER’S CHOICE AWARD SLIDE
I’m happy to report that IU South Bend won the Best Local College or University Award in the South Bend Tribune’s Reader’s Choice survey.
CHANCELLOR PRIORITIES SLIDE
As chancellor I am focused on three main priorities.
- Enrollment / Retention
- Campus / Community Engagement / Visibility of IUSB
- Bicentennial Celebration / Fundraising Campaign
We will be embarking on a strategic plan development exercise this year and, as part of that, I am asking the campus to consider the following three questions:
- how can we help more students and families achieve their dreams
- how can we elevate the educational attainment of the region
- how can we deepen our engagement in the community?
I would certainly be interested in your responses to these questions as well.
ENROLLMENT / RETENTION SLIDE
Fall 2018 to Fall 2019 first-time freshmen re-enrolled at 67.7% (up from 63.3%), which is a record-breaking high for the campus.
Hispanic Enrollment in our beginning class is up 7% for a new high of 23% (191); overall we are at 13% LatinX and we will soon be at 25%, which is the benchmark for becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution.
Graduate student population is also growing – this year up by nearly 8% (164).
This is a growing focus for us – providing cutting edge new and professionally-focused master’s degrees.
CAMPUS / COMMUNITY OUTREACH SLIDE
In the community, we participate in a variety of organizations, from the Chamber and Rotary, to Kiwanis and others; the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and have several partnerships with K-12 Public Schools. In fact, on Monday the South Bend Community School Corporation board approved a new $5.5 million federal grant partnership that will create an accelerated master’s residency program for newly minted teacher candidates to increase the number of highly qualified teachers who are committed to our South Bend schools.
On campus, we have a vibrant community engagement center with dozens of partnerships in the community focused on improving social, health and well-being of our community. Many of these efforts are led by the American Democracy Project (hosts all of the local political campaign debates, among other activities), the Center for Sustainable Future, and the Civil Rights Heritage Center at the Engman Natatorium on West Washington Street.
These centers and other programs are important as we continue to position the university as the regional hub of higher educational programs that people in South Bend rely on to catalyze progress and, as part of Indiana University, fulfills the promise we have made to the people of the state of Indiana.
BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION / CAMPAIGN SLIDE
Exhibit at History Museum opens on November 23 that I hope you will stop by to see.
Time Capsule buried in the spring.
Historical Markers placed on campus.
Bicentennial Medals to leaders in our community.
For All Campaign in final year and we are well on our way to meet our fundraising goal, although you can always chip in with your donation!
Stay tuned for other celebratory events!
I want to conclude with something I have been thinking a lot about lately as I have been reflecting on my new role as Chancellor here.
I may now have the title of Chancellor, but I am a scientist at heart. I was drawn to study biology and, in particular, genetics because I enjoy understanding the interactions of components within complex systems, sometimes hidden but always ready to be discovered by an inquiring mind. Living systems are complex and complicated, with many interacting parts, like the genes in your genome that work together to make you who you are. And, universities and communities are complex systems of equally interesting and discoverable interactions. This is one aspect that I enjoy about my role now as a chancellor – understanding the complexities and revealing how they can work better together.
My love of biology started in high school, with a smart and engaging biology teacher, Mr. Babb, but also through the writings of authors such as Emerson and Thoreau. As a college student, I enjoyed all of the courses I took but I was especially drawn to the ones that took me outside. I am particularly enamored by forests and one of my favorite past times is to go hiking in the woods. It is humbling to walk amongst the giant trees knowing that they are the living scaffold for a multitude of beings from the microscopic fungi that live in the soil to the mammals and birds that use them as food and shelter.
In so many ways, trees are the backbone of their communities. They are certainly the most visible! It is easy to focus on the trees that you see before you when you are walking in the woods, but it takes a bit more effort to step back and see the bigger forest, the bigger picture, and all of the interactions that makes up these magnificent communities. A book that changed the way I think about forests is The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllenben, a German forester. In it, he describes the complex interactions amongst trees in forests that I never knew existed, perhaps because I was so focused on the trees themselves.
I would like to share with you a passage from his book that describes why trees live in interdependent communities because it is how I see the community I am joining and it also serves as a reminder of why communities are so important.
“But why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping round for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way around, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance.”
Next time you go for a walk in the woods or see a tree or two (and this is a beautiful time of year to be looking at trees!), think about the community you are entering and, perhaps, reflect upon the communities of which you are a member. Think about the interdependencies and the roles that each of you play to ensure the community survives and even thrives.
I have now had the rare opportunity to join a new community in my role as chancellor. This community is a special one, comprised not of trees, microbes, birds and mammals but of scholars, artists, scientists, craftspeople, innovators, professionals, care-givers, movers, shakers, and leaders. And that includes all of you. As we move forward together, I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about everyone and everything, but most of all to ensuring that the community is thriving. Together, we will go far!
Thank you for your invitation to speak today and the time you have given me. In our remaining time, I’d like to open the program to discussion or questions.