By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Acting Chancellor Dr. Kathryn Girten delivered the 2021 State of Campus address in the traditional ceremony that brought faculty and staff together in the Hoosier Room for the first time since the pandemic-related closure.
It was an emotional occasion brimming with gratitude for the dedication of colleagues and buoyed by a renewed sense of purpose after a storm weathered through determination and sacrifice.
In her address, Dr. Girten paid tribute to the accomplishments of the past year, while providing a candid assessment of current challenges lingering in the wake of the pandemic.
These include long-term demographic declines in the IU Southeast service region and our share of the enrollment headwinds buffeting all but elite institutions nationwide.
Drawing on responses to faculty and staff surveys she distributed soon after her arrival, as well as on conversations with numerous members of the campus community, Dr. Girten identified bedrock strengths that position IU Southeast well for recovery, including affordability, a vibrant culture of teaching and learning, a safe and attractive campus, outstanding faculty and staff, and a genuinely caring environment centered on student success.
Dr. Girten emphasized positive trends such as the completion of campus improvements–including the reconstruction and greening of parking lots, delivering a sustainability benefit–and the highest-ever percentage of students of color (almost 19%) to enroll at IU Southeast.
She also took time to explore potential areas of growth, including an administrative reorganization that will boost recruitment marketing, as well as the KEES Match scholarship, which enables Kentucky students who have qualified for state aid in their home state to receive a matching amount from IU Southeast, making it possible for them to pursue their dreams here if this is where their interest takes them.
“This is a great campus with a bright future,” Dr. Girten said.
Homepage photo by Hannah Heffley.