In his five years as chancellor at Indiana University South Bend Terry Allison leaves an impressive list of accomplishments. He was a champion for student success and focused attention and resources on retention and graduation rates. He was active and visible in the community and was not hesitant to share his views on the issues of our times on campus and off. He did the quiet, hard work of budgeting during the post-Great Recession decline in enrollment and revenue. And he kept an eye on improving the facilities, grounds, and even the neighborhoods around campus.
One of his most recent and popular actions was the purchase of the Wooden Indian Motel (see story on page 19). But perhaps more fundamentally important is the expansion of the health sciences programs and facilities under his leadership. The newly named Vera Z. Dwyer Hall and the reconfiguration of the IU South Bend Elkhart Center into the home of graduate programs in the health sciences will benefit students, faculty, staff, and the community for generations to come. The Elkhart Center will offer a master’s program in speech language pathology this fall, and doctoral occupational therapy and physical therapy programs will soon follow.
He led the expansion of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) programs from three to 12 during his tenure. And one of his last decisions was to approve women’s soccer to start in the spring of 2019. The growth of sports was not only for fun, but strategic. Each sport added allowed IU South Bend to attract bright and engaged students who would not have come to campus without the opportunity to compete in collegiate athletics. Many other regional campuses are now doing the same.
The first floor of the Administration Building was renovated into the hub of student services. Offices were brought together so students could easily navigate their way through the complicated processes of admissions,financial aid, scholarships, registration, advising, tutoring, and more. This summer the visitor’s parking lot next to the Administration Building will be redesigned to be more convenient and make the campus more accessible.
Chancellor Allison appointed a student housing task force shortly after he arrived and charged them with coming up with a plan to help River Crossing student housing reach full occupancy.The following year the goal was reached and housing has been full each year since with a growing waiting list.
Also among his early decisions as chancellor was to appoint committees to develop a strategic plan for the campus that would run through 2020 and an Academic Master Plan that would guide the development of new degree programs to meet the needs of the region. These two plans are in place and will serve as the guideposts for the next several years. Early in his tenure Chancellor Allison also made a major investment in marketing for IU South Bend. He provided funding for an image survey that led to a series of television commercials focusing on the success of IU South Bend graduates finding jobs and having successful careers. The strategy and messaging have been well-received and have improved visibility and program awareness.
Perhaps the most unique use of his chancellor’s powers was to declare 2016–17 a Jubilee Year at IU South Bend. He appointed a task force to celebrate the convergence of three important anniversaries—100 years of Indiana University holding classes in South Bend, 50 years of IU South Bend conferring degrees, and 25 years of a unified School of the Arts. His pronouncement allowed IU South Bend to share the story of its history and celebrate the amazing growth and impact of the university. The celebration included the Party of the Century which will be long-remembered.
In addition to his major accomplishments, Chancellor Allison will be known for his interactions with students, faculty, staff, community leaders, donors, and others. He was open, honest, friendly, and caring in his role as chancellor. Due to his leadership, IU South Bend is stronger and poised for more success in the future.