By Lacy Scarmana
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie joined WFIU’s Noon Edition to discuss various university issues, from the construction of new education facilities to efforts to decrease student debt. Here is an overview of some of his main points from the conversation.
Global Studies School
The School of Global and International Studies is set to be completed next summer.
International awareness and study are important to McRobbie, who has traveled to many different countries during his presidency. He leaves Sunday for a weeklong visit to Turkey.
“I would say that there is probably nothing more important as part of the education of students at Indiana University than the international engagement aspect of their education,” McRobbie says. “I think there have been a number of international problems and issues that the United States has gotten itself into that maybe wouldn’t have happened if there had been people with a deeper understanding of the countries that were involved.”
McRobbie says the pre-existing quality of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications and Communications and Culture programs combined under the new academic structure will make the Media School a competitive program.
“I think this is an opportunity to become a major presence in this area in the Midwest,” McRobbie says.
Bloomington Certified Technology Park and Proton Therapy Center
The university’s short term goals for the 65-acre Certified Technology Park currently under development along Tenth Street near the bypass include renovating and repurposing old buildings.
“We certainly hope that as the park matures in various ways, that we can see an expansion of the activities there,” McRobbie says.
After nearly ten years, the IU Health Proton Therapy Center on the north side of Bloomington will close its doors after several years of financial loss and the increase of similar facilities across the country. The building, however, will still remain part of the technology park, as it will house the Center for the Exploration of Energy and Matter from the Physics Department.
A number of programs have been introduced to reduce student debt, including courses in financial literacy and management.
“In this day in age, especially as we’ve gone through a period of difficulty in the economy, which frankly is not completely over, I think that’s really focused the need to ensure that we can provide an education that is affordable by the people of Indiana,” McRobbie says.
McRobbie says tenure is an “absolutely critical part of higher education.”
He says the university plans to take a look at post-tenure review, as several other universities throughout the state and country have done.
If a student is in good academic standing after their first two years of school, the Finish in Four program will freeze that student’s tuition for the remainder of their education if they complete their degree in four years.