Issues and Priorities

In the spring of 1967, when I was a pre-med chemistry major on the Bloomington campus, as I walked from Jordan Avenue to Ballantine Hall, it occurred to me what an extraordinary opportunity it was to be educated on this magnificent campus by such a remarkable faculty; and I determined that I would someday give back to the university which was giving me so much. Fifty years later that realization and emotion are unchanged, and now I am seeking election to the Board of Trustees to fully fulfill that promise.

The university is now educating 114,000 students annually, 72% of which are Indiana Residents, truly The Indiana University. These individuals access their IU education through one of nine “Front Doors,” the main campuses of IU Bloomington and IUPUI, as well as the seven regional campuses, that address the needs and varying qualifications of students seeking I.U. degrees. It is for this vast system that the Trustees are responsible.

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The costs of a university education continue to grow throughout the nation and Indiana University trustees must be committed to controlling tuition demands and continue to promote scholarships, grants, and work-study programs to avoid the burden of post -graduation indebtedness. Currently, 77% of our undergraduates receive financial aid, and the IU Bicentennial Campaign to raise 2.5 billion dollars is specifically focused on scholarship funding to increase this assistance. The Money Smarts financial literacy program, available to students since 2011, has helped them reduce their borrowing by 17%, and the IU Graduation Progress System specifically addresses concerns about reducing time to graduation by utilizing degree audits and degree mapping.

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It is imperative that Indiana University assure all students, faculty, and staff that they will experience an environment that is safe and free of hazing or harassment, are not subjected to intolerance or segregation, and are not apprehensive about their physical safety. A comprehensive policy regarding sexual misconduct has been developed, is in place, and is vigorously enforced. In addition, the ideals of free speech, academic independence, and free association are central to the history and culture of Indiana University and must be promoted and defended.

The vision of IU is to be one of the great research universities of the 21st century pursuing world class research, scholarship, and creativity by providing an excellent, relevant and responsive education across a wide range of disciplines. The stature of Indiana University both nationally and internationally must continue to be enhanced with superlative faculty, beautiful and highly functional campuses, and extremely well-prepared graduates who carry the reputation of the school into their futures.

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In its pursuit of excellence, IU is committed to the Grand Challenges Program whose purpose is to bring the collaborative research expertise of the university to bear on the major pressing problems facing the state, the nation and the world including global environmental changes, infectious diseases and the opioid epidemic. Numerous I.U. schools continue to be ranked highly by various national surveys throughout the country, and new schools have been developed including School of Public Health, Bloomington, the School of Informatics Computing and Engineering, the School of Global and International Studies, The Media School, and of particular interest is the School of Art, Architecture and Design which has an important presence in my hometown of Columbus, Indiana.

The role of a trustee is to provide sound guidance and leadership to the administration and staff for managing the wide-ranging programs of the university, to communicate effectively with all parties who are involved with the school, and to set the tone for the high ethical and moral culture of the institution. Ultimately the trustees are charged with the school’s fiscal management which has been typified by excellent financial planning, solid financial profiles and strong state support.

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My participation in Indiana University and IUAA has continued since graduation from IUSM in my local Club, the IUAA Executive Council, Board of Managers, and I was national President of the IUAA in 2002-03. I have been a part of the School of Medicine Alumni Council since 1982, and served as President three separate terms. I have been active in the IUSM Dean’s Council since 1989, and President in 1997. In addition, I have served on the IUPUI Alumni Council and was President in 2013. I received the Otis R. Bowen Award for Leadership of The Class of 1971 Gift to IUSM, and the Maynard K. Hine Award for service to IUPUI in 2004. I am a Life Member of the IUAA, the President’s Circle, and the Hoosier Hundred.

I bring to the position of trustee fifty years of experience, active participation, philanthropic contribution, and an astute awareness of the hopes and aspirations of our alumni for our beloved university. Indiana University gave me my future, and now I wish to contribute to hers.

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About Rob Forste