June 29, 2020
I write to provide an update about the status of the proposals that were submitted for consideration to our Strategic Imperative Fund initiative.
In December, as you may recall, our Board of Trustees approved the creation of this fund, which allowed our University to award up to $5 million in support of proposals that would expedite the implementation of our strategic plan. In February, I announced that we had received more than 70 pre-proposals. I then invited 28 of our colleagues to submit full proposals as part of the submission process. I planned to announce my final funding decisions in late April, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this timeline.
Now, given the current budget environment, and our need to be more fiscally prudent, I have decided not to award the full amount of funding originally designated for the Strategic Imperative Fund initiative. But, because of higher-than-expected earnings on our cash and investments related to the investment policy the Board put in place several years ago, we do have some one-time financial resources that the Board has authorized us to use to continue the important work of investing in our strategic plan. These one-time resources allow us to fund what I believe are the most timely and compelling proposals—the proposals that best advance the mission of our University and our 2040 Goals.
With these considerations in mind, I am pleased to announce that the following proposals will receive funding from the Strategic Imperative Fund, based on the recommendations of our Strategic Planning Committee:
- Center for Faculty Excellence
Champion: Kecia McBride, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
The Center for Faculty Excellence will provide essential support to faculty throughout the arc of their careers, from recruitment to retirement. The initiative will harness a complement of resources designed to advance faculty goals in teaching, research, and service, and to build capacity for academic leadership.
- Employee Professional Development
Champion: Rose Costello, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
In alignment with Strategic Plan Goal 5, this initiative will empower faculty and staff through professional, career, and development opportunities that are designed to enhance employee wellbeing and success.
- Inclusive Excellence Taking Flight
Champion: Marsha McGriff, Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence
This initiative will expedite implementation of our Inclusive Excellence Plan through the creation of an Inclusive Excellence Champions Program, an Inclusive Excellence Diversity Symposium, and educational and workshop opportunities that will strategically enhance our inclusive excellence work.
- Skills Infusion Program
Champion: Jim McAtee, Assistant Vice President
and Executive Director for Career and Professional Development
The Skills Infusion Program will continue our strategic work of bringing industry and higher education together in meaningful collaborations that engage high-wage, high-demand employers in Indiana with our faculty and curriculum.
- Student Learner Record
Champions: Jim McAtee, Assistant Vice President and Executive Director for Career and Professional Development; Melody Bernot, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education; Abby Haworth, Interim Director of Student Life
In alignment with Strategic Imperative 1F, this initiative will enable students to create an experience record that translates their courses, degree programs, co-curricular experiences, and intercollegiate athletic experiences into a clear description of learning outcomes, competencies, and transferrable skills.
- University Pilot for Creation of Transdisciplinary Alternative Credentials
Champion: Jennifer Palilonis, Director, Center for Emerging Media Design & Development
Multiple departments in CCIM will collaborate to develop a suite of micro-credentials, learning modules, workshops, and certificates that span six graduate programs. This initiative aligns with Strategic Imperative 2C, targets adult learners who wish to learn new skills, and serves as a model for other colleges to develop similar stackable, cross-departmental, cross-college initiatives.
- Flight Path for Undergraduate Researchers
Champion: Susan McDowell, Vice Provost for Research
This initiative will fund a Faculty Fellow for Undergraduate Research to advance multiple strategic imperatives in our strategic plan. This initiative will also foster and support increased opportunities for undergraduate students and faculty to engage in the high-impact practice of undergraduate research.
- Ball State Esports Venue, Varsity Team, Curriculum
Champions: Paaige Turner, CCIM Dean; Alex Kartman, Lecturer of Telecommunications and Director of Digital Sports Production; Andy Beane, Interim Director of the School of Art and Associate Professor of Art
This initiative will prepare our students for careers in the fast-growing industry of esports. The University will develop curriculum that advances the skills and knowledge needed for this new industry, including animation, computer science, game design, marketing, sports administration, and digital production.
- Basic Student Needs and Homeless Services Initiative
Champion: Tiffany Peters, Assistant Dean of Students
This student-centered initiative strengthens our efforts to identify and serve students with basic needs. This proposal was broadened in scope to reflect the increase in need that students will face due to COVID-19. The initiative is also designed to improve retention rates for high-risk populations.
- Process Improvement and Administrative Efficiencies for Faculty and Staff Recruitment, On-boarding, and Retention
Champion: Rose Costello, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
This initiative will enhance our ability to recruit and retain talented staff and faculty, in alignment with Strategic Imperative 5C of our strategic plan. The initiative will also improve critical processes within Human Resources to increase efficiency and leverage best practices in recruitment and retention.
- Regional Talent Development and Economic Growth
Champion: Delaina Boyd, Associate Vice President for Community Engagement
This initiative will advance Goals 2 and 3 of our Strategic Plan and will strengthen our University’s commitment to support regional vitality, educational attainment, and economic development in East Central Indiana.
- Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) – A Centralized Experience Platform
Champion: Stuart Sipahigil, Senior Strategist for Enterprise User Engagement
The creation of an enterprise-wide CRM is critical to accomplish Goal 5 in our strategic plan, particularly 5H: Our people, processes, technology, policies, and infrastructure are strategically aligned to support academic excellence and enable operational efficiency and effectiveness. This grant supports Phase 1 of this initiative, which focuses on serving adult learners. Our new CRM will streamline communications and business processes, contain costs, and improve the overall University experience.
I received several proposals from academic departments that sought financial support for new, innovative academic programs. In consultation with the Strategic Planning Committee and the Provost, I have decided that additional market research and financial analysis are required before I can make a final decision to fund any of these programs. In the future, Academic Affairs will oversee this particular application and review process. Moreover, within the new incentive-based budget model, we will create a mechanism for colleges and departments to seek seed funding for potential new academic programs. For these reasons, I have decided to allocate $300,000 from the Strategic Imperative Fund to enable the Provost to facilitate these forthcoming changes.
I am grateful to everyone who invested time and effort in this important process, which has generated many new, creative ideas that I believe will continue our important work of defining what makes our University distinctive.
Thank you again for your investment in our bright future and in the ongoing implementation of our ambitious strategic plan.