Topics: Administrative, Board of Trustees

September 23, 2015

Emens Auditorium rendering
Emens Auditorium plans a 12,000-foot expansion, including a larger lobby, new restrooms, relocated box office and more.

The Ball State Board of Trustees today approved the concept and structure of a new College of Health, including the vision, mission, design and founding departments.

As part of Ball State’s formal academic planning, two task forces recommended to Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Terry King that the university create a more cohesive unit that would take advantage of Ball State’s current health-related assets. A separate market analysis noted that Indiana health occupations are expected to grow by 24.4 percent between 2012 and 2022. This growth is greater than the projected overall job growth in the state (13.7 percent) and in the nation (13.2 percent). Ball State also has existing programs in other occupations with high projected growth rates, including nurse practitioners (31.6 percent), athletic trainers (30.3 percent), speech-language pathologists (29.1 percent) and psychologists (counseling and clinical, 34.5 percent). These, too, will be within the new college.

Mitch Whaley, dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Technology, told the board that the creation of a College of Health and the co-location of many of the university’s health-related assets would establish an academic unit focused on the following:

  • Vision: "Our students will embrace critical thinking, creative problem solving, and lifelong learning. Graduates will become engaged citizens in a diverse world, and be attentive to the health and social justice of a diverse population. Premier educational programs, cutting-edge scholarship, and clinical professional preparation will emphasize health and well-being across the lifespan."
  • Mission: "Our college embraces an innovative, collaborative, and interprofessional environment for learning, discovery, and engagement. The learning environment is shaped by core content that enhances understanding of health and well-being throughout the life span. Discovery occurs across the health-related disciplines that comprise the college and readily engages students and faculty in a collaborative manner. Our commitment to interprofessional development and community engagement unites our faculty and students while strengthening our educational programs and serving the needs of the region, state, and nation."

Whaley noted that the University Senate reviewed the proposal on Sept. 3 and unanimously passed the recommendation for the creation of a College of Health.

"This clearly creates a more contemporary and cohesive college for health-related programs, bringing them together administratively," Whaley said.

Also Wednesday, the board approved the expansion and renovation of Emens Auditorium — a reaffirmation of the university’s commitment to community partnership. The addition, which follows Emens’ 50th anniversary, will add about 12,000 square feet to this popular venue for a broad spectrum of entertainment and educational events.

The John R. Emens College-Community Auditorium was built in the early 1960s for $3 million, more than $23 million in today’s dollars, half of which was given by the community. Area residents rallied to contribute a portion of the required funds for the performance venue.

The proposed improvements include expansion of the existing lobby area to provide additional gathering area for pre-event, intermission and post-event crowds. Restrooms will be added to the lobby space for the convenience of patrons, who now must choose between facilities on the basement or balcony levels. The box office will be moved to an interior location to eliminate queueing and egress issues caused by the box office’s current vestibule location. Additional hospitality space, a conference room, and office and support space are included in the project.

The renovation, scheduled to begin next summer for completion in 2017, will cost about $5 million; $1.5 million will come from a successful community campaign spearheaded by Charles Sursa, and $3.5 million will come from strategic use of university reserves.

"We are grateful for the considerable efforts put forth by Charlie Sursa to raise funds to make a wonderful civic building even better," said Cherí O’Neill, president and CEO of the Ball State University Foundation. "Emens truly is a community asset that benefits us all."

In other business, the board approved an expression of interest in the FCC’s voluntary spectrum auction, which might enable Ball State’s public broadcasting station, WIPB, to sell some of its broadcast capabilities to mobile providers.

WIPB is in the 500MHz spectrum and might be under consideration for the auctions, which will occur through 2016. Participation in the auction is entirely voluntary, said Phil Repp, Ball State’s vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer.

"The only way for broadcasters to explore any selling opportunities is to declare their interest and determine if it is worthwhile to participate further as the auction bids come forward," Repp said. "Full participation in the auction is only on the condition that it is in the best interest of the university."

The board’s action authorizes the university to participate in the preliminary FCC auction process to determine whether Ball State can fulfill its commitment to quality participation in Indiana public broadcasting and whether the university can fully achieve its academic mission, should the auction be completed.