Indiana State University Newsroom

Trustees elevate 'Honors Program' to 'Honors College'

December 15, 2017

The Indiana State University Board of Trustees voted Friday to transition the existing University Honors Program to an Honors College, effective immediately.

In the past 10 years, State's Honors Program has grown and evolved into be a large, robust student body and curriculum, with active student participation and a strong recruitment tool for high-achieving students.

"I am very happy about the establishment of the Honors College at Indiana State University," said Mike Licari, provost and vice president for academic affairs at State. "The current program, under the excellent leadership of Dr. Greg Bierly, has grown in student participation and has increased the academic resources available to honors students."

The structure and institutional commitment signified by a college-level unit in Honors should further increase the university's profile for recruitment of high-achieving students.

"I am excited for our students, who have spurred the growth of Honors at Indiana State with their interest, effort and campus leadership," said Bierly, whose title will be dean of the Honors College. He was previously executive director of the program. "The number of Honors students and their engagement has increased dramatically in the past decade, and this move to a college will enable the university to better recognize them and help them reach their academic and professional goals."

The Faculty Senate recently voted in support of the proposal for an Honors College. "I'm appreciative of the faculty from all academic colleges who have collectively shaped the Honors curriculum and experience for our students, paving the way for this transition," Bierly said. "The establishment of the Honors College raises the visibility of our students and curriculum into alignment with the national standards for honors that we have reached."

With this change, students successfully completing the Honors College curriculum will graduate jointly from the academic college(s) of their major and the Honors College. This achievement will be reflected with an Honors diploma signed by the dean.

During the transition to Honors College, the curriculum will not require modification, as the current Honors Program curriculum meets the National Collegiate Honors Council guidelines.

"The program truly has long met the benchmarks established by the NCHC for honors colleges, and so this transition is a reflection of the fact that the ISU Honors Program is an important component of the high-quality education we have to offer," Licari said. "The Honors College will also help ensure that ISU remains a destination for high-performing students who are looking for a vibrant and rigorous set of academic experiences. I am excited to work with Dr. Bierly and the ISU faculty as we move forward with the Honors College."

Honors has inhabited a residential living space for much of its existence as a program. For future housing, administrative staff and programming spaces, it is proposed that Pickerl Hall remain a designated residence hall for the Honors College. Two floors in Burford Hall would be designated as additional residential space for underclassmen, and the top two floors of 500 Wabash would be made available to juniors and seniors in Honors.

In order to administer the Honors College, it is proposed one existing staff position be reconfigured and two new positions be created.

In other business:

• The trustees approved a three-and-a-half-year contract for incoming President Deborah Curtis. Under the terms of the agreement, Curtis will earn an annual salary of $340,000 plus $25,000 deferred compensation. It is effective until June 30, 2021.

Curtis, who is the provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri, will assume her duties Jan. 3. She succeeds current President Dan Bradley, who is retiring the same day after more than nine years at Indiana State.

With her presidency, Curtis is granted tenure as a full professor in the department of teaching and learning in the Bayh College of Education. She and her husband, Lynn, will live on campus in Condit House.

She will be the first woman to serve as president of Indiana State and the second Indiana State graduate, after William Wood Parsons, who was a member of the first graduating class in 1872 and later served as the university's third president. She earned her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from State after completing a master's degree in music education from the University of Illinois and a bachelor's in music education from MacMurray College.

• The board approved a resolution recognizing Bradley and his wife, Cheri, for their service to the university as its 11th president and first lady. They were also awarded emeriti statuses, and the President's Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service, which is bestowed annually to an outstanding senior, was renamed the Daniel J. Bradley Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service.

The resolution recaps the accomplishments during Bradleys' nearly 10 years of leadership, including the following:

-- Developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic plan that has resulted in the highest enrollment in the university's history;

-- Increased retention, graduation rates and degree production;

-- More than 1.3 million hours of community service performed annually by Sycamores;

-- Strengthened the relationship with members of the Indiana General Assembly, who have supported the largest capital projects in the university's history;

-- Active engagement on campus and leadership roles in local, state and national capacities.

• The board of trustees approved an amendment to a 2011 services agreement with Sodexo to provide $1 million in funding to renovate and enhance the north-end retail space of the Hulman Memorial Student Union.

"We're appreciative of Sodexo's longtime partnership and continued support of Indiana State University," said Diann McKee, senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer of Indiana State. "This renovation will further support the university's ability to improve service to our students and community."

As part of the amended contract, exclusive food service areas will now include the Normal Hall rotunda, Federal Hall Magna Carta room and concessions at Memorial Stadium and Baseball Stadium (except for Terre Haute Rex home games).

• The board approved candidates for degrees to be awarded Saturday at winter commencement services and awarded honorary degrees to William "Bill" Wolfe (Master of Fine Arts) and Sen. Luke Kenley (Doctor of Humane Letters).

Wolfe, an Indiana sculptor and painter in West Terre Haute, is an accomplished artist of both two- and three-dimensional mediums and has works on display throughout the United States. Locally, he is known for his 17-foot statue of Indiana State basketball legend Larry Bird, the V12 Sailor statue at Indiana State, the murals in the Vigo County Courthouse depicting 53 local people influential in politics, military, education, arts, entertainment and sports, the sculpture of the late Terre Haute poet Max Ehrmann and the recently completed presidential portrait of President Dan Bradley and First Lady Cheri Bradley. He also restored the Gilbert Wilson murals in University Hall.

Wolfe's marketing background also led him to serve as producer of the Indiana State men's basketball shows during the eras of Coaches Tates Locke and Sherman Dillard. Wolfe also won the contest to create Indiana State's mascot, dubbing it Sycamore Sam.

The Honorable Luke Kenley retired from the Indiana General Assembly in September, ending a quarter-century of distinguished service as a state senator. The Noblesville Republican was first elected to the state Senate in 1992 and has directly influenced major public policy issues relating to transportation and infrastructure, economic development and K-12 education.

Prior to the Senate, he served as a Noblesville city court judge for 15 years. He also worked as a lawyer and led a family business, expanding it from 20 to more than 200 employees.

An officer in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era, Kenley is a graduate of Noblesville High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from the Miami University and a juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School.

• The board accepted the 2016-17 audited financial statements from the Indiana State Board of Accounts. The fiscal year 2017 financial statements were presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The financial report is available online.

• The board approved a modification to university handbook policy 245 Faculty Constitution regarding Faculty Senate vacancies during a term. The new language, which is supported by the Faculty Senate and administration, will allow for a more expedient replacement process and avoids a special election for the vacancy.

• The board approved a modification to handbook policies involving use of university-owned technology, protection and security of university data and web-related resources. The changes streamline the policy information and ensure updated policies contain clear expectations of university employees and students, while allowing for flexibility to adapt to changing technology. Staff Council and Faculty Senate approved the proposed changes.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is set for Feb. 22-23, 2018.


Photo: -- Indiana State University Board of Trustees Chairman David Campbell, right, presents a resolution recognizing President Dan Bradley and his wife, Cheri, for their service to the university as its 11th president and first lady.

Media contact: Libby Roerig, director of communications and media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or