New ISU President Ponders Future

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(Image courtesy of Indiana State University.) (Image courtesy of Indiana State University.)

New Indiana State University President Deborah Curtis says the school is poised to begin "writing the next chapter." Curtis will be sworn-in Friday afternoon during inauguration ceremonies on the Terre Haute campus. "This is not a place that has a lot of divots to be repaired," she said, praising her predecessor Dan Bradley, who left in January. Curtis says leaders have begun evaluating the current strategic plan for potential "adjustments and tweaks" to continue progress on a campus that has undergone tens of millions of dollars in work in recent years and welcomed around 3,000 additional students over the last decade. Curtis received a Ph.D. from Indiana State in 1986 and is the first woman to take the helm of the 152-year-old institution.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Curtis said she sees challenges and opportunities. Despite a current nationwide decline in the pool of traditional college students, she says the university will continue to pursue that population while looking elsewhere. "What we really need to talk about -- who else out there needs some kind of educational preparation? It may not be a degree," she says, "they may be looking for a 12 or a 15-hour certificate at the graduate level. Those are the kind of concepts that we're focusing on right now to really have an eye on: Who is out there? What do they need? And then the key piece is: How are we nimble enough, how do we set ourselves up to serve those needs in Indiana?"

Curtis says ISU's wheelhouse is serving the state. "Indiana State University is the state of Indiana's university," she added, pointing to the school's estimated economic impact of nearly $400 million and that 85 percent of its graduates stay in Indiana after finishing their degree. "It's a different mission than some of our other colleagues in the state who really have a global mission. I'll take our neighbor right in town, Rose-Hulman. They do a tremendous job preparing engineers, but their mission is to disperse them all over the globe. Our mission is to serve the state of Indiana. We've been doing that every well, but we'll be doing it better."

Curtis's inauguration as the university's 12th president will start Friday at 1 p.m. at the Hulman Center on campus with events including a reception and private dinner to be held later in the day.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Indiana State University President Deborah Curtis said she sees challenges and opportunities.
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