Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Mission Differentiation Project recommends new academic and admission standards

IU Bloomington should be designated as "Flagship Campus"

JULY 5, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- After a year and a half of work, Indiana University's Mission Differentiation Project team has delivered its final report to President Adam W. Herbert.

The wide-ranging report, titled "Eight Campus Identities, One Shared Destiny," calls for new admissions standards to be set by each campus, the setting of specific conditions under which campuses may build student housing, and formally naming Bloomington as IU's "Flagship Campus."

It also calls for a requirement that new graduate programs at regional campuses, particularly doctorates, be designed only in collaboration with either IU Bloomington or Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), which was designated as the state's only health science and metropolitan university campus.

In addition, the report recommended specific actions with regard to economic development, remedial education, development of new academic programs, eventual elimination of associate degrees, increased student transferability across campuses, enhanced diversity efforts and the review of guidelines for faculty workload.

President Herbert described the report as comprehensive, thoughtful and insightful.

"Not everyone will agree with everything it says, but it provides the university with exactly the kind of document it needs to move forward aggressively and progressively," Herbert said.

At Herbert's direction, academic leaders at all eight campuses are using the report's recommendations to revise their mission statements. The goal is to present the report -- and the revised mission statements -- to the IU Board of Trustees at its annual retreat in September.

The Mission Differentiation Project team was headed by Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs Charlie Nelms, along with Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Bloomington Chancellor Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis and IU Southeast Chancellor Emeritus F.C. Richardson, who is serving as project consultant.

"We found that the missions of all the campuses were out of date and needed to be sharpened to better reflect the vibrancy of Indiana University in the 21st century," Nelms said. He noted that the project team spent hundreds of hours sifting through data and reports submitted by the campuses and conducted interviews and conversations with campus and faculty leaders across the state.

"Though many of the campuses had recently developed strategic plans, and many had informally revised their mission statements, the last formal revision of IU's campus missions occurred in the 1980s," Richardson said. A later revision reached the Board of Trustees in 1993, but was never approved by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, which holds formal authority over institutional missions.

Therefore, Richardson noted, the missions of the IU regional campuses were all identical and did not differentiate by community, program or campus size.

"Now we will know that each campus has a unique niche, and its mission will be the kind that can be easily remembered and that can be a guiding star for its future directions," he said.

Throughout the project, Richardson and his colleagues held the campus missions to twin tests: (1) the mission succinctly defines the nature and purpose of the campus, and (2) the statement indicates how success can be identified.

"It was abundantly clear that in emphasizing Mission Differentiation as one of his early projects, the president had selected a much-needed priority," Gros Louis said. "Missions are far more than just words on a page. They represent the distilled essence of the institution and should convey to the students, faculty, staff and the state what the character and future of the campus will be like."

The formal mission process will include the campus revisions now under way, approval after the discussion with the Board of Trustees, and ultimate approval by the Commission on Higher Education.

"No campus can be all things to all people, no matter how hard it tries," Nelms said. "Those of us who had the privilege to do this work were struck by the remarkable reach of the campuses and the quality of programs that IU has in place, and we hope that this report will help the president and the trustees continue the effort to improve an already great university."

Summing up the significance of this endeavor, Herbert said, "as we move through the final phases of this project, it is important to keep in mind our ultimate goal: to assure that all of our campuses have clearly focused and achievable missions that enable them to reach their full potential. I firmly believe our Mission Differentiation efforts ultimately will make Indiana University a much stronger institution."

To read a summary of the report, go to the Web site of the Office of the President at To read the entire report, go to: