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Last modified: Wednesday, June 6, 2007

IU's current, incoming presidents pledge continuing commitment to diversity

June 6, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's presidency will soon change hands, but there will be no weakening of the university's strong commitment to diversity.

That message was made clear in a statement released jointly today (June 6) by President Adam W. Herbert and President-elect Michael A. McRobbie.

The statement directs the provost of the Bloomington campus and the chancellors of IUPUI and all regional campuses to develop campus-specific plans for increasing diversity. Each plan will outline steps to be taken to increase the number of under-represented minorities among students, faculty and professional staff, as well as increase participation of minority- and women-owned vendors.

"To navigate successfully an increasingly diverse and global workplace and society, it is essential that our students be exposed to the broad range of perspectives that can only be achieved through a diverse student body," Herbert and McRobbie wrote. "Moreover, the value of diverse perspectives is not limited to one campus, nor to one side of the podium. Students must also be exposed to a diverse faculty and professional staff who act as teachers and role models."

The statement notes that the IU Board of Trustees has already established a goal of doubling the enrollment of under-represented minorities at Bloomington by the 2013-14 academic year. Chancellors at other campuses are directed to set similar goals, taking into account local demographics and the unique missions of their campuses.

"The time has come to extend the goal of increasing the enrollment of under-represented minorities at the Bloomington campus to all campuses of Indiana University, to faculty and professional staff recruitment, and to the enterprises with which IU does business," Herbert and McRobbie wrote.

McRobbie, currently interim provost and vice president of academic affairs at IU Bloomington, will assume the presidency of IU on July 1.

In developing their plans, chancellors were instructed to enlist the assistance of university resources, such as the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs, and the work of the Enhancing Minority Attainment Conference. The plans are to be submitted to the president by Dec. 1.

The letter can be read in its entirety at

"This assures everyone that there will be a smooth transition between our two presidents and that there is an enduring commitment to diversity, whoever is president of the university," said Charlie Nelms, IU vice president for institutional development and student affairs.

"It makes clear the expectation that all IU campuses, not just the Bloomington campus, will pursue diversity and equity to the fullest extent possible. My colleagues and I look forward to serving as resources for our campuses in the preparation of these plans," Nelms said.

In response to the Board of Trustees' directive to double under-represented minority students at the Bloomington campus, Herbert and McRobbie have already taken a number of steps, including creation of the IU Pell Promise Award and 21st Century Scholars programs, which will provide additional grants for students who are otherwise eligible for need-based scholarships.

Last month, the Bloomington and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis campuses announced a partnership with nine historically black colleges and universities to create a new HBCU-STEM Initiative to attract and support HBCU students in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This initiative includes programs of faculty collaboration, joint research institutes, a Summer Scholars Institute for undergraduate students and an endowed President's Graduate Fellowship Program in the STEM disciplines for HBCU and first-generation college students.