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Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2006

IU President Adam Herbert issues letter to trustees

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The following letter from IU President Adam W. Herbert to the Board of Trustees is posted on the IU Homepage ( Questions should be referred to Larry MacIntyre, 812-856-1172, or Vice President for University Relations Mike Sample, 812-855-0850. Dr. Herbert will not be available today (Friday) for questions, but will take questions tomorrow afternoon after the 3 p.m. Board of Trustees special meeting in Bloomington.


Adam Herbert

IU President Adam W. Herbert

Print-Quality Photo

The Trustees of Indiana University
Office of the Trustees
Indiana University
Indiana Memorial Union, Room 005
Bloomington, IN 47405

Members, IU Board of Trustees:

Over the last two months, I have given considerable thought to our accomplishments at Indiana University during my tenure as president. I am very proud of the fact that we have addressed successfully the major challenges initially presented to me by the Board of Trustees for action. In addition, we are: completing the mission differentiation project, enhancing the quality of many academic programs throughout the university, increasing annually the amount of externally funded grants and contracts, securing record levels of donor contributions in support of the institution, increasing significantly the funding available for student financial aid, establishing a new accountability framework to guide institutional activities, implementing a critically needed Office of University Planning, Institutional Research and Accountability, strengthening the university's government relations operations, dramatically enhancing relationships with the community colleges of the state, expanding partnerships with our state government, and balancing the IUB athletics budget after several years of deficit spending,

I also have talked with prior IU presidents about their experiences and given considerable thought to the current state and needs of the university and to recent events on the Bloomington campus. In addition, Karen and I have given extensive consideration to our family needs and plans for the future. These thought processes have been guided by our deep affection for Indiana University and a strong belief that the long term best interests of the institution always must be the primary focus of the president and trustees.

As a result of this extensive personal analysis, I feel an obligation to the University to give the Board of Trustees as much advance notice as possible that I do not wish to serve the university as president beyond the period of my current contract which ends July 2008.

Recognizing the length of time that presidential searches can take, this advanced notice gives the Board up to two years from this summer to prepare the institution for a transition of presidential leadership. During this period, the Board, administration and faculty have the opportunity to address a number of essential structural, policy and process issues and also to conduct a comprehensive national search.

Whether the Board decides to commence this transition and search process in 2006 or 2007, I am strongly committed to fulfilling my leadership responsibilities, to addressing the matters outlined herein and to assuring that the presidential transition is a very smooth one. In my mind this is a legacy issue. I would like to assure that we have in place a stronger, more effective institutional leadership structure and administrative processes that have been implemented in a consultative fashion with faculty that will enhance the probability for a very high level of future presidential success.

In this regard, I have discussed our structure and operations with prior IU presidents, reviewed the organization structure and had discussions with other Big Ten Presidents, reflected upon my own experiences as a former system head and university president, and considered observations of my administrative advisory team. With this information as background, and in response to your request, I am providing the attached report for your consideration.

It is my view that several issues must be addressed to enhance institutional operations and better position IU to achieve its high quality aspirations. They are presented in the attached document. I would urge the Board to consider and address them before a new president is recruited and assumes office. This is a particularly significant priority because unlike our Big Ten peers, each of the last four IU presidents has encountered a set of leadership challenges and for a variety of reasons, been subjected to faculty criticisms on the Bloomington campus.

Finally, in advising the Board of my intentions this early, I am accepting the obvious risk that such advanced notice can create a "lame duck" situation for any leader. Yet there is so much collaborative work to do that any other approach would be inconsistent with my sense of institutional obligations. I am determined to lead these efforts in a thoughtful but expedited manner. Simultaneously, it must be clear to all our colleagues that my motives are truly focused on the best interests of this institution about which I care deeply and the state we serve. We have a unique opportunity to reshape and position Indiana University for many more years of greater distinction and it is to that end that I am fully committed.

Sincerely yours,

Adam W. Herbert