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The Joint BSU-MCS Academic Innovation Council (AIC) is a team of more than 30 representatives from Ball State and Muncie Community Schools (MCS) working together to support the nation’s first partnership between a public university and public school system.

This blend of educational thought-leaders, teachers, administrators, and passionate Muncie residents are driven to:

  • Engage and embrace the ideas of all stakeholders throughout the development of the Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan.
  • Develop strategies and wrap-around services to strengthen academic performance. Those goals and tactics will appear in the academic innovation plan.
  • Embolden Muncie Community Schools educators and staff to pursue innovative teaching and partnerships.
  • Create a user-friendly process for educators and community partners to propose collaborations that benefit students and align with MCS goals and objectives.
  • Celebrate and share the transformative work happening in our schools.
  • Build community around and support for Muncie’s school system and its one-of-a-kind partnership with Ball State.

The Executive Leadership Team guides the overall charge of the AIC.


This team explores strategies for academic innovation and financial viability within the district.


Ball State Teachers College Representatives
  • Roy Weaver, Ball State Teachers College Dean (ex officio)
  • Jerrell Cassady, Department Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology
  • David McIntosh, Department Chair of the Department of Special Education
  • Sheryl Stump, Interim Associate Dean of Teachers College and Professor of Mathematical Sciences
  • Eva Zygmunt, Professor of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies
MCS Representatives

Ball State faculty, staff, and students are invited to connect with their college’s AIC representative to brainstorm ideas, learn more, or discuss questions about the partnership and project proposal process.


  • College of Communication, Information and Media – Kate Elliott, Lecturer of Journalism
  • College of Health – Shannon Powers, Associate Teaching Professor of Kinesiology
  • College of Fine Arts – Kevin Gerrity, Associate Professor of Music Education 
  • College of Sciences and Humanities – Bryan Byers, Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology; and Lynne Stallings, Associate Professor of English
  • Miller College of Business – Kelsey Brasel, Assistant Professor of Accounting
  • R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning – Jennifer Warrner, Associate Teaching Professor of Construction 
  • Teachers College – Ruth Jefferson, Associate Professor of Special Education
  • University Libraries – Lisa Jarrell, Head of Educational Technology and Resources Collection

Teachers College faculty who collaborate with schools on field experiences, provide site-specific professional development, and lead school-based research tied to school improvement documents.

Ball State’s Office of Teacher Education Services and Clinical Practice (OTES) manages these valuable partnerships.

Council Accomplishments

The council has secured millions in grant funds to support community listening sessions, professional development, external audits, and innovative programs.

  • January 2018: Ball State and MCS established the Joint BSU-MCS Academic Innovation Council, a team of 30 educational thought-leaders, administrators, parents, and community members to guide the partnership and develop the Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan, which is due to the Indiana General Assembly by June 30, 2020.
  • February 2019: Established a National Panel of Experts to offer guidance and feedback throughout the process of developing a plan for the future of MCS.
  • May 2019: Hosted a well-attended “Dreams for Our Schools” open forum. The event kicked off a three-month effort that, in partnership with the United Way of Delaware County, collected input from hundreds of educators and Muncie residents.
  • August 2019: Launched a streamline process for Ball State faculty and staff to propose academic projects, programs, and research within Muncie Community Schools.
  • September 2019: Held a two-day Academic Innovation Summit to imagine the possibilities for Muncie Community Schools. The event brought together more than 500 Muncie educators, community stakeholders, Ball State professionals and nationally-recognized educators and innovators, including George Couros, Jennifer Blatz, and Robert Jackson. Professional development sessions, table conversations, and school debriefs offered teachers the space to collaborate with each other about ways to implement innovative practices in their classrooms and buildings.

Propose a Project

MCS welcomes project proposals from Ball State faculty, professional staff, or graduate students that span the entire district, multiple schools, or a single school, class, or program.

Propose Project