Inside IU: A look back at 2016

Dec. 14, 2016

As we review articles that made headlines in Inside IU over the past year, it’s tough to choose top stories. IU’s campuses saw big changes, whether it was construction projects or new initiatives. Students inspired, faculty were innovative, and staff across the campuses had extraordinary stories to tell. While the undertaking wasn’t easy, Inside IU compiled 12 stories of 2016 that we hope will take you back in time and make you hopeful for the next year ahead.

grand challenges mark

The $300 million research program is the most ambitious in university history.

Grand Challenges: IU awarded a first round of funding through the university’s new $300 million research program, the most ambitious in university history. The first recipient of funding was the Precision Health Initiative, a university-wide partnership dedicated to optimizing the prevention and treatment of human diseases through a more precise understanding of the genetic, developmental, behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health. A request for proposals has been issued for a second round of funding, and IU anticipates funding three to five initiatives by the conclusion of its bicentennial in 2020.

IU goes to the Olympics: Representatives from several of IU's campuses made appearances at the Olympics in Rio this summer. The Bloomington campus had more than a dozen athletes who competed for medals, including representatives of IU’s storied swimming and diving program. In addition, several other campuses were represented. IU East had five athletes compete in tennis. Sports journalism students from IUPUI and a photography student from IU Bloomington got to travel to Brazil. Plus, an athletic trainer from IU South Bend worked as a sports therapist at the summer games.

Body-worn cameras: IU Police Department adopted the use of body-worn cameras. The decision followed a thorough evaluation by IU Public Safety staff; feedback from faculty, students, staff and community groups; and recommendations from a committee of faculty researchers and privacy, safety and other experts.

New degrees and programs: The IU Board of Trustees approved a new intelligent systems engineering program for the Bloomington campus, an integral part of the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan. IU Bloomington also launched its new School of Art and Design, which merged several programs. Other campuses debuted new degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in international studies at IU East, a Bachelor of Science in clinical laboratory science at IU South Bend and a new health data science degree at IUPUI, the first of its kind of in the nation.

north hall courtyard

A view of the North Hall courtyard. | PHOTO BY LIZ KAYE, IU COMMUNICATIONS

Under construction: The landscapes of several campuses were altered in 2016 with construction and renovation projects. On the Bloomington campus, major renovations of Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall and Franklin Hall were completed this year. IUPUI dedicated its first traditional residence hall called North Hall, and IU Kokomo’s Main Building saw a transformation after a $14 million construction project finished up. IU East celebrated its new Student Events and Activities Center, and IPFW’s Helmke Library, which will reopen in January 2017, has been under construction since December 2015.

'The Bachelor' at Little 500: Ben Higgins, IU alumnus and star of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor,’ came home to IU Bloomington for the Little 500 to serve as the grand marshal for the annual bicycle race. It was a chance for Higgins to return to his alma mater, and it was an opportunity for him to take part in the event’s philanthropic goal of raising money for scholarships for working IU students.

Celebrating Indiana’s bicentennial: Hoosiers throughout the state took part in Indiana’s 200th birthday, and the party was hopping on many of IU’s campuses. Chancellors, alums, faculty and staff members carried the torch on its journey throughout the state, and at IU South Bend, archivist and librarian Alison Stankrauff helped organize bicentennial events.

corpse flower

Meet the "corpse flower," an extra-stinky plant that drew plenty of attention this year. | PHOTO BY INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Corpse flower: News about an extremely rare plant being grown on the IU Bloomington campus went viral when the so-called “corpse flower” bloomed for the first time in nine years -- and at the same time as several other specimens of the extra-stinky plants across the nation.

IU Day: The university launched its inaugural 24-hour event promoting participation, university pride and giving in April. It was declared a success, reaching 9.4 million people on social media and attracting nearly 17,000 unique visitors to the IU Day website. The celebration will take place again in April 2017.

Parking changes: Over the summer, four regional campuses joined the university's unified parking management system, and the parking permit naming convention changed for multiple campuses. The shift, called for in the university’s Strategic Parking Plan, was made to decrease confusion by streamlining parking operations across all campuses and create cost savings.

Great Eight: Eight black women who earned or are completing their doctoral degrees from the IU School of Education drew media attention from all corners of the globe. The women, who said their close relationship was vital to their success, were recently honored as Ebony Power 100 honorees by the magazine.

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