Interim chancellor gears up for 2013-2014 school year

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Crystal Gunther, chair of the IU Southeast Board of Advisors, Jerry Wayne, interim vice chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement and Jason Meriwether, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs listened as interim chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer delivered the 2013-14 State of the Campus Address Tuesday, August 20 in Stem Concert Hall.

Aprile Rickert

Interim Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer’s track record of successfully tackling important projects head-on indicates she is well-suited to lead IU Southeast through a period of transition.

Bichelmeyer, currently the associate vice president for university academic policy and planning, as well as the director of Indiana University’s Office of Online Education, will serve as chancellor for IU Southeast for the 2013-2014 academic year. She succeeds Sandra Patterson-Randles, who held the office for 11 years.

John Applegate, IU executive vice president for University Regional Affairs, Planning and Policy, hired Bichelmeyer in 2008 into the vice-presidential position.

“She is very smart and very knowledgeable about the issues facing higher education, and she has just a wonderful, welcoming personality that makes her a pleasure to work with,” Applegate said.

Crystal Gunther, chair of the IU Southeast Board of Advisors, Jerry Wayne, interim vice chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement and Jason Meriwether, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs listened as interim chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer delivered the 2013-14 State of the Campus Address Tuesday, August 20 in Stem Concert Hall.
Crystal Gunther, chair of the IU Southeast Board of Advisors, Jerry Wayne, interim vice chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement and Jason Meriwether, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs listened as interim chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer delivered the 2013-14 State of the Campus Address Tuesday, August 20 in Stem Concert Hall.

She said it is important to understand the strengths of each campus and opportunities for working together.

“I can help bridge the gap between knowing what needs there are to be met and knowing what resources are available to do that — that’s what I appreciate about this position,” Bichelmeyer said. “I’m still working toward the same goals I’ve been working on for the last five years; I’m just working on those from a different position and from a different focal point.”

Bichelmeyer holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English, a master’s degree in educational policy and administration, and a Ph.D. in educational communications and technology, all from the University of Kansas.

While she was moving from her master’s to doctorate degree, Bichelmeyer said she got the opportunity to help evaluate professional development programs for the early PC’s made by a young company called Apple. After that, Bichelmeyer said she was sought out by Sprint to do instructional design work.

She returned to academia first as a visiting professor at the University of Kansas and then made the move to IU Bloomington, when she was asked to work on a research project the school was undertaking.

Her experience in researching and evaluating instructional programs led to her transition from faculty to administration. She advanced to the university level as a result of her focus on inter-campus academic affairs, as well as her work to establish partnership agreements with Ivy Tech.

As director of Office of Online Education, Bichelmeyer coordinates a growing number of online programs across all seven IU campuses. She said she believes taking advantage of new technology can enhance learning experiences and offer convenience to students without sacrificing the key components of an IU education.

“People value educational experiences that are engaging and interactive and not just information dissemination,” Bichelmeyer said. “We want to be very careful that we’re providing highly interactive, highly engaging instructional experience whether it’s on campus or online. As long as we’re being student-centered as we think about technology, we’ll come up with some really good solutions, but I think we’re in a period of transition in that regard.”

Bichelmeyer has also been working on partnership agreements with Ivy Tech to make transferring to an IU campus as smooth as possible for students.

“I just think that there is much more that we have in common than is different about the work we do,” she said, “so we should be in partnership.”

She said she believes with the current economic and technological landscape, educating the citizens of Indiana will strengthen communities throughout the state and beyond.

“There’s no aspect of life that can’t be benefited from at least some college experience,” Bichelmeyer said.

A committee comprised of representatives from both faculty and students at IU Southeast, chaired by Edwin Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, has begun the search for a permanent chancellor who will start in July 2014. Although Bichelmeyer’s term is temporary, she said she already feels a strong connection to the campus.

“I’m sure I will continue to love working with the people here— it is a wonderful place, and it’s going to be a little heartbreaking when the end of the year comes. However, I think it’s really important for a transitionary period that somebody comes in and helps look at the organization and says, ‘where have you been, where do you need to be and how do we get you ready?’”

She said she believes faculty involvement in the search committee will be key in selecting a permanent chancellor that will suit the needs of the IUS campus.

“I think it’s really important that the faculty and staff know their decisions are going to be fully their own,” Bichelmeyer said.

Applegate said he has full faith in Bichelmeyer as she leads IU Southeast into a new year.

“I think she feels a strong sense of responsibility to the next chancellor to leave the campus in really strong shape, and I just think she’s going to enjoy the year, and I firmly believe that the campus is going to enjoy spending the year with her.”