IU Presidential Search
November 4, 2020
Dear Members of the Presidential Search Committee and Presidential Search Advisory Committee,
We write as faculty members of Indiana University Bloomington to weigh in on the search for President McRobbie’s successor. We are strongly committed to selecting a new president with the experience and training needed to advance the University’s mission and preserve Indiana University’s standing as a research one university. As the University mission statement notes, “Indiana University is a major multicampus public research institution, grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, and a world leader in professional, medical, and technological education.” IU aspires “to be one of the great research universities of the 21st century and to be the preeminent institution of higher education in Indiana.” The university has a stated commitment to “providing an excellent, relevant, and responsive education across a wide range of disciplines,” “pursuing excellent world-class research, scholarship, and creative activity,” and “engaging in the economic, social, civic, and cultural development of Indiana, the nation, and the world by building on the base of excellence in research and education” (https://www.iu.edu/about/mission-vision.html). In sum, IU’s mission advocates excellence in research, teaching, and service to our communities and world.
We strongly support these values. In order to maintain the preeminent status of Indiana University as a research-one institution with a serious pedagogical mission, we believe it is imperative that the next president be qualified to fulfill the complex responsibilities of this position. We urge the Presidential Search Committee and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee to identify qualified candidates who hold a doctoral degree, have extensive experience in higher education, and understand the broad contributions of different disciplines, as well as the synergy among the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professional schools. Indiana University needs a leader who has a commitment to higher education, and who has the advanced training and expertise to understand the enormous complexity of our institution and all that our students, staff, and faculty have to offer the state, country, and world.
The next president of Indiana University will have to guide the institution at a time when expertise is often dismissed by pundits and members of the public as irrelevant in formulating public policy. The president will need to preserve the academic integrity of Indiana University, in part by enabling faculty and students to pursue the creation of knowledge independent of pressure from donors and government officials. And the president must have a strong commitment to the humanistic values that have historically undergirded higher education and a proven record of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
We expect the Presidential Search Committee and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee to support Indiana University’s mission by identifying qualified candidates through consulting with IU faculty across fields and areas of expertise. We offer this letter as a sign of our shared commitment to IU’s continued excellence as a research one university and in support of its academic mission.
Sara Friedman, Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies
Purnima Bose, Professor of English and International Studies; Chair, International Studies
Patricia Clare Ingham, Martha Biggerstaff Jones Professor of British Literature; Director, Institute of Advanced Studies
Alex Lichtenstein, Professor of History; Editor, American Historical Review
Radhika Parameswaran, Herman B. Wells Professor of Journalism (Class of 1950)
Brenda Weber, Provost Professor and Jean C. Robinson Scholar of Gender Studies
Sabine Lammers, Associate Professor of Physics
Benjamin Robinson, Associate Professor of Germanic Studies; Chair, Germanic Studies
David Fisher, Ruth N. Halls Professor of Mathematics
Bradley Levinson, Professor of Education
Jeffrey C. Isaac, James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science
Ilana Gershon, Ruth N. Halls Professor of Anthropology
Dina Okamoto, Herman B. Wells Professor of Sociology (Class of 1948); Director, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Jeffrey L. Gould, Distinguished Professor of History
Rebecca Lave, Professor of Geography; Chair of Geography