Acting as a bridge between the campus and the community, the IU South Bend Advisory Board provides advice as IU South Bend seeks to meet its mission to serve the region. “The Advisory Board acts as a sounding board for me as we implement new plans and initiatives,” said Chancellor Susan Elrod. “As our region’s public university, their input on emerging needs in the community and opportunities for partnerships is essential.”
Regional campus advisory boards were formally established in 1972 by the IU Board of Trustees. IU South Bend’s 21-member advisory board is comprised of leaders from local government, business, education, and community organizations. Advisory Board Chair Gary Fox, managing partner at Crowe, is serving his second term on the board. “IU South Bend is a great partner in our community,” he commented. “It’s difficult to find and recruit talent to northern Indiana. I wanted to work with IU South Bend to help build out talent through internships and new hires and be part of the process that brings future leaders into our community.”
In addition to serving as chair of the board, Fox also enjoyed providing input on the developing campus strategic plan. Board members and other community members were asked to provide feedback in a meeting and survey. “It was very fulfilling to be part of the process and provide a community perspective,” he added.
In their quarterly advisory board meetings with Chancellor Elrod, board members learn more about the university, through presentations and facilities tours, and also discuss the role the university can play in the community. “Board members are helpful leaders in the community who advise the Chancellor on vision and strategy, as well as offer input on what the community wants and needs from the university,” explained Fox.
Business leaders serving on the board also provide internships and jobs to IU South Bend students and alumni. “Crowe finds IU South Bend students to be flexible, diverse, and a good fit,” said Fox. “In turn, internship opportunities in the community help IU South Bend recruit students, offering part-time jobs and experience. It’s a win-win for both the local business and the university from a recruiting perspective.”
Furthermore, board members from non-profits with similar missions and priorities help the campus connect for community-based learning and volunteering opportunities but also the formation of partnerships that enhance IU South Bend’s impact on the community as a whole. Following a board member’s suggestion, the campus began exploring opportunities to partner with a non-profit focused on advancing STEM education in local schools and expanded opportunities are being explored with local youth and entrepreneurial organizations. Likewise, superintendents from regional school corporations who serve on the board provide critical insights about the pipeline from K–12 to higher education.
“As advisors, the board offers diverse perspectives, shares opportunities for collaboration, and advocates for our campus in the community,” said Chancellor Elrod. “The advisory board plays a critical role in our mission to develop local talent and accelerate regional economic and community development.”