From the Dean

From Dean John D. Graham

As you’ll see from the photograph accompanying this note, I don’t have 20/20 eyesight. SPEA does, or is as close to it as we can get.

As an institution, we have a clear vision of our future extending to the year 2020 and beyond. That vision is the result of our focus on leadership: in research, in scholarship, and in the preparation we give our students to be the leaders of tomorrow.

In this edition of SPEA Magazine, you’ll find a range of articles that demonstrate how SPEA is preparing to respond to future challenges—both within the School and in the wider world. You’ll get a sense of how, as a society, we can work to address pressing challenges such as drug abuse, transportation, and juvenile justice.

I’m proud to say you’ll also see how SPEA Bloomington will be physically transformed over the next few years. By 2017, the Paul H. O’Neill Graduate Center, with its striking wall of glass and limestone (of course), should be one of the most admired buildings on campus.

Here are other steps we’re taking to position SPEA for the future:

  • Hiring new faculty across a range of disciplines: ten more in Bloomington; five more in Indianapolis. This will bring new diversity to our already impressive interdisciplinary research portfolio and it will serve our growing student population.
  • Enhancing our Executive Education Program. We have brought on board two new leaders—Sara Johnson (IU alum) is the Director of Program Development and Jody Sundt is the Associate Dean of Graduate and Executive Education.
  • Establishing more global dual-degree programs, international partnerships, and overseas education locations. We are responding to global challenges with a global view. We’re even converting what in Bloomington is known as the “Orange Lounge” into an international café complete with TV monitors showing coffeehouse and street scenes from around the world.
  • Placing our students in careers and internships where they have the opportunity to grow quickly into leaders. For example, we’re establishing a pilot program for clustered internships in Seattle, with more cities to come.

There are many challenges ahead. But our SPEA community of scholars in Bloomington and Indianapolis is up to the task. I can see that, with or without my glasses.

—John D. Graham

SPEA 2020

To set SPEA’s course, our faculty and staff are concluding an intensive planning process we call SPEA 2020. It is a follow-up to our SPEA 2015 previous strategic plan.  We’re seeing results from that report’s emphasis on scholarly productivity and global engagement:

  • Our faculty are producing more books and articles, and they appear more often in the nation’s most influential media outlets.
  • Our Overseas Education Program is growing, with locations from London, Hanoi and Brussels to Rwanda and Cuba. We’re one of the Peace Corps’ top higher education partners and we’re collaborating with several prominent international universities. For example, we now offer a dual degree with the University of Hong Kong.
  • Three committees have been hard at work on the 2020 report. The Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses are each represented by a committee of faculty and staff. We also have a Core Campus Committee with delegates from both campuses. The committees are focusing on two primary issues:
  • How do we define the relationship between the core campuses to ensure they maintain their own identities while still encouraging ample opportunities for productive exchanges of research, academic offerings, and faculty expertise?
  • How do we ensure that our students are successful, our programs are robust, and our research is visible and makes an impact?
  • The committees welcomed input and discussions and we have seen plenty of both. More than 11,000 of our alumni were surveyed for their views. This process should be effective, thanks to active involvement from every part of SPEA.  A synopsis of the final report will be available on our website.