As part of the Red Balloon Blog we are highlighting campuses which are starting to launch their own Red Balloon initiative. We are hoping that these ideas will help you as you begin the initiative on your campus. We will follow the progress of these campuses throughout the year.
Today we are highlighting Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne. The Red Balloon Campus Leader is William McKinney, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
How did you introduce the Red Balloon Project to your campus?
I used a two-fold approach to launching IPFW’s Red Balloon Project. The first was to begin discussing the project goals publicly. I used my remarks at the tenth anniversary celebration of our Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching in Spring 2010 as a kick-off. Since then, all of my public remarks highlight Red Balloon themes in one way or another. Shortly thereafter, I began circulating the Red Balloon white paper electronically among our University Senate, department, and college leadership. This allowed the conversation to continue on an informal basis over the summer. This gradual build-up led to the launch of our campus-wide “Re-imagining IPFW’s Academic Future,” which launched in late September.
What strategies are you using or do you plan to use for implementation?
We are using a combination of open academic forums, blog, podcasts and Twitter. Our project website can be found here: http://reimagineblog.ipfw.edu/
The first two open forums have sparked lively campus-wide conversations. While the first was broadly introductory, the second began to focus on Red Balloon details specific to IPFW. We are using the six broad Red Balloon themes as subject areas for six campus working groups, to be led by one faculty member and one academic administrator. In addition, I am especially pleased that our faculty leadership has shown interest in the project, and we are working together to frame co-sponsored panel discussions for the remaining two open forums of the fall semester, with one to be focused closely on questions surrounding the scholarship of engagement. Furthermore, since much the Red Balloon concept demands of future-oriented perspective, we will be using it to frame, at least part, of our on-going strategic planning discussions.
Finally, our campus dialogue is also being used to frame our work statewide and nationally. There is considerable interest in Indiana’s public comprehensive universities being more actively involved in the AAC&U LEAP initiative, and conversations have begun within both the Purdue and Indiana University systems on how Red Balloon and LEAP principles can further the state’s higher education goals. The release of the Indiana Commission on Higher Education’s (ICHE) revised policy document on regional campuses Policy on Regional Campus Roles and Missions has brought increased attention to public comprehensives statewide. This coincidence of ICHE policy and national higher education initiatives has provided a genuine opportunity for discussion of our institutions’ most fundamental assumptions and values.
So far…the discussions have been positive, collegial, and energizing.