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Amanda Ciccarelli
Office of the Provost

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009

IU Bloomington task force makes recommendations on undergraduate education

Oct. 1, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University Bloomington campus Task Force on Undergraduate Education has completed its work, and its report has been released by Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. The task force was appointed by Hanson in December 2008 and was chaired by Professor of History Michael McGerr.

"I am deeply grateful to the members of the task force for their important work," said Hanson. "The committee's efforts will serve to enhance all aspects of this critical component of Indiana University's mission. We invite wider discussion of the report's recommendations, and we want to use that discussion to help guide the work of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. The task force report will be invaluable as the campus works to provide the optimal experience for the students of IU Bloomington."

"The members of the task force appreciate this unique opportunity to contribute to the work of the campus," said McGerr. "The teaching of undergraduates is the core activity of Indiana University Bloomington. Our hope is that this report will help to change the culture of undergraduate education on campus and make it easier for undergraduates to take full advantage of academic opportunities."

The task force made recommendations in 13 areas. Among the recommendations are:

  • A major restructuring of academic advising to improve the quality and availability of academic advising for all undergraduates
  • A move to improve large classes and make IU Bloomington a national leader in innovative approaches to this common form of undergraduate learning
  • The creation of an Undergraduate Education Information Clearinghouse. This centralized online resource would make it easier for students to make academic choices and for instructors to share ideas and innovate.
  • Strengthening the formal peer review of teaching in all academic units
  • Integrating research and undergraduate education by putting more active faculty researchers in the classroom
  • The initiation of a campus dialogue about "the major" with the goal of ensuring that all majors are both easy to declare and challenging to complete

All of the committee's recommendations are under serious consideration and work is already under way to implement a number of the recommendations, Hanson said.

In addition to McGerr, the committee's membership included Tim Bartley, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology; Dennis Groth, associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Informatics; Matthew Guterl, associate professor in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department and director of the American Studies program; Colleen Ryan-Scheutz, associate professor and director of Italian language instruction in the Department of French and Italian; and Olaf Sporns, professor and associate department chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Also serving on the committee were Jocelyn Bowie, director of communications and marketing for the College of Arts and Sciences; Cheryl Haium, administrative assistant for the 21st Century Scholars Program; and Jane Rogan, associate director and academic specialist in the Liberal Arts and Management Program. Three students served on the committee: Matthew Burkhart, an undergraduate student in the Kelley School of Business; Jillian Deluna, an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Joshua Rosenberger, a graduate student in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

To see a complete copy of the task force report, visit