Forty years ago this month, on August 28, 1968, Indiana University announced that groundbreaking ceremonies for the three new buildings for its downtown campus in Indianapolis would occur on September 4. Wielding the shovels were then Mayor Richard Lugar and Dean Joseph T. Taylor, for whom one of those buildings (University College, home to our entering students and the former campus library building) has just been renamed as Taylor Hall.
Acting IU President Herman B Wells announced at the groundbreaking that the event was “the rebirth” of the downtown campus that had served the community for 52 years as an extension of IU. In recognition of its growth, it would have its own chancellor, Maynard Hine, former dean of the IU School of Dentistry.
In August 2008, another kind of rebirth is taking place for IUPUI.
Five years ago, I became the first outsider in the history of the campus to be chancellor of IUPUI. Fourth in succession, I followed Jerry Bepko, former law school dean, Glenn Irwin, former medical school dean, and Maynard Hine.
During the past year, we have seen a remarkable transition of generations.
Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Robert Martin. Affirmative Action Officer Lillian Charleston, and Chancellor’s Professor Sharon Hamilton (English) were among the retirees who had been with the campus for decades.
The largest number of searches for new deans in the history of IUPUI kept us busy this year as we conducted national searches for new leadership in the Schools of Health and Rehabilitation Science, Liberal Arts, Optometry, Public and Environmental Affairs, and Science.
Result? A noteworthy influx of “outsiders,” reflecting both the maturity and growing reputation of the campus and its resultant attractiveness as a career destination for people looking to make a move toward new opportunities.
Let me introduce you to some of our new campus leaders.
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Dawn Rhodes was associate vice president for planning and analysis, then later vice president for administration, at the University of Toledo (Ohio).
Vice Chancellor for Research Kody Varahramyan brings 15 years of academic experience at Louisiana Tech and 10 years of industrial experience at IBM.
Assistant Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Kenneth Durgans was vice provost for diversity at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and brings the experience of a 25-year career in diversity-related positions.
Director of Equal Opportunity Kim Kirkland was formerly the Affirmative Action Officer at Bowling Green State University and a diversity program consultant.
Dean of Public and Environmental Affairs John Graham was a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health faculty member, top official with the White House Office of Management and Budget, and dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
Dean of Health and Rehabilitation Science Austin Agho was founding dean of the School of Health Professions and Studies at University of Michigan-Flint.
Executive Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Pratibha Varma-Nelson, former department chair at Northeastern Illinois University, is known nationally for enhancing learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Other transitions involve existing leaders taking on new roles.
The new Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Mary Fisher, on the nursing faculty since 1989, is a long-time promoter of undergraduate success at IUPUI, particularly through her involvement in the national Electronic Portfolio Project.
The new Associate Vice Chancellor for Lifelong Learning Khaula Murtadha was executive associate dean of education at IUPUI and will focus on improving distance learning, off-campus programs, and collaborations with Ivy Tech.
Dean of Liberal Arts William Blomquist joined the faculty in 1987 and was chair of the Department of Political Science from 1995 to 2002. He is well known locally as an observer and commentator on politics and government.
Acting Dean of the Purdue School of Science Dean Bart Ng previously served as the chair of the Mathematics Department and has played an active role with the IUPUI Faculty Council, including as its president.
I look forward to opportunities for you, our community partners and friends, to get to know these new and emerging campus leaders in the coming months.
Charles R. Bantz
P.S. For more info on executive searches at IUPUI, go to www.iupui.edu/administration/search/.