KOKOMO, Ind. — In the first 100 days of Indiana University Kokomo Chancellor Mark Canada’s tenure, faculty and staff generated more than 100 ways to improve the campus experience for all.
Referring to the “first 100 days” of an American presidency or university leadership, Canada described the period as “a window commonly considered as a time when a leader establishes credibility and inspires others with confidence.”
He invited faculty and staff to submit their ideas through a “100 Ways in 100 Days” website, with a brief explanation, names of those involved, and resources needed.
“For me, the success of an organization such as a university should be a collaborative effort,” Canada said. “I believe leadership amounts to more than singlehanded actions, though. After all, it’s not about what I can do, but about what we can do.”
Cabinet members reviewed requests weekly, alerting those who submitted ideas if they were approved, denied, or needed additional information. A large graph chart in the Kelley Student Center tracked progress, along with digital signs and a web page that sorted ideas into categories based on how they would affect different parts of campus operations or experiences.
Ideas came in within hours of convocation, Canada said, including recommendations impacting admissions, budget and finance, business, facilities, education, financial aid, student affairs, and more.
“It was a campus-wide effort,” he said.
Submissions to the chancellor’s initiative were as diverse as the departments that suggested them.
Approved ideas include “Spirit Fridays,” allowing faculty and staff to wear work-appropriate jeans and IU gear every Friday, as well as the “Cougar Connection” staff mentoring program, connecting new staff members with more experienced employees. The signing wall for newly admitted students will be reinstalled, existing scholarships will be highlighted, and new scholarships will be offered for students.
A Veterans Day breakfast was held on campus, honoring students, faculty, and staff who served, and motivational and encouraging notes were sent to all Dual Credit students in the Credits to College program. The use of disposable and single-use plastics will be limited at Kelley House and indoor campus events, and an e-waste collection drive was held during the fall semester.
Members of the campus facilities staff, led by Jeremy Dobson, delivered 20 complete Thanksgiving meal bags to the Cougar Cupboard to be distributed to families in need; members of the Lewis Cass High School volleyball team were invited to attend the September 27 volleyball game, increasing awareness of the team for prospective students, and the campus and community gathered together to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
“The IU Kokomo team is both creative and collaborative,” Canada said. “Improving the campus in 100 Ways in 100 Days was not much to handle.”
Though the chancellor’s first 100 days in office have ended, ideas are always welcome and continue to be submitted.
“I appreciate the ways we are improving the campus now, but the even more important outcome here is the message about continuous improvement. By achieving this ambitious goal, we have shown ourselves and the community what we can do when we work together as a team,” Canada said. “Now we have even more confidence, and we are ready to make even more and greater improvements. The sky’s the limit for IU Kokomo.”