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Last modified: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nelms will chair task force to review operations at IU East

Dec. 20, 2006

RICHMOND, Ind. -- Charlie Nelms, Indiana University's vice president for institutional development and student affairs, will chair a task force charged with reviewing operations at the IU East regional campus.

Nelms was asked to take on this duty by IU President Adam W. Herbert, who said the review will help him and other IU administrators make key decisions that will affect the future of the 2,459-student campus. Nelms, who served as chancellor of IU East for seven years until 1994, is very familiar with the campus and the surrounding communities it serves in east central Indiana.

IU East is facing several major challenges. It experienced a drop in enrollment of 8.7 percent this fall because of a downturn in freshman and sophomore applicants. That, in turn, resulted in a shortfall of revenue of more than $600,000.

In a Dec. 12 visit to the campus, Herbert met with various faculty and student groups to discuss the situation. He reassured them that IU remains strongly committed to serving the higher education needs of east central Indiana. However, the current financial situation requires a response from the university that is both fiscally and academically sound.

Herbert disclosed that he will appoint a task force of senior-level administrators to work with the faculty, staff and community to analyze five specific areas of the campus and make recommendations to him for more efficient and effective operations.

The task force will address enrollment patterns, business practices, administrative structure and services, academic programs, and community support. A nationally-known consulting firm, Noel-Levitz, will be engaged to study current and future enrollment patterns and marketing practices.

This analysis is to be completed and submitted by early in the spring semester to help the campus improve enrollment in the fall semester of 2007. Final recommendations from the task force are to be submitted to Herbert no later than May 1.

Also, Herbert announced that he has decided to suspend the search for a new IU East chancellor until the task force completes its work and he has a clearer picture of the future direction of the campus. Chancellor David Fulton had previously announced his intent to retire at the end of this academic year, and a search committee had been formed to seek a replacement.

Fulton said he welcomes the task force involvement and will work closely with its members to give them a complete picture of the situation.

"This initiative is one that I believe is not only appropriate, given the transition in the leadership of the campus, but essential because of the changing structure of higher education in Indiana," Fulton said. "Now is the time for Indiana University to raise the ante and confirm or change the direction of the campus. I am delighted that President Herbert is acting aggressively to that end, and I am encouraging all IU faculty and staff to give Charlie Nelms and the task force all the assistance and support they need to conduct this study."