2025 Strategic Plan

2025 Strategic Plan

The contemporary university is expected to contribute substantially to an entrepreneurial culture of “building and making” that benefits students, the university, and the state. This culture is not intended to replace the traditions of reflection, analysis, and creativity inherent to the intellectual life of the university, but rather to “extend and deepen those traditions”. In this milieu and at leading universities in the twenty-first century, liberal education and professional training, theory and practice, complement and reinforce each other.

 –From the original proposal for the School of Art + Design


Indiana University’s Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, launched in fall 2016 as the School of Art + Design, has developed substantially over the course of the last three years. This has included new faculty/staff hires, innovative curriculum, growing enrollment, program additions, and increased fundraising.

During our third year we devoted time and attention to the development of our inaugural strategic plan for the next five+ years. This plan will assist us in building, planning, and implementing a sustainable and vibrant future for our faculty, staff, and students—one that honors the long legacy of art, design, and merchandising on the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

We seek to position the Eskenazi School as a leader on the national and international stage, committed to transformational ideas built upon a liberal arts approach to art, architecture, design, and merchandising research and education.

Central Questions

  • What is the most compelling case for an art/architecture/design/merchandising education in 2025?
  • How does the Eskenazi School make that case in a powerful way among all our competitors at similar institutions?
  • How can the Eskenazi School best facilitate and support our continuing commitment to excellence in research/creative activity, teaching, and service as part of a residential, research-extensive campus within a liberal arts context?

Process and Structure

Our goal was to strengthen our school community and to clearly consider how the parts work to create an even stronger whole. We worked to design an inclusive and holistic process that would allow participates from diverse areas to deepen understanding, cooperation, and commitment as well as to benefit our research and creative activity and our teaching and learning.

In September 2018, we formed the Strategic Planning Executive Committee (SPEC) to create draft mission, vision, and values statements and to oversee of the Guiding Groups that would be formed in the spring semester. The SPEC consisted of elected and appointed members and represented the various stakeholders of the school.

The next step was building these Guiding Groups while encouraging wide faculty and staff representation, participation, and input. The Guiding Groups focused attention on six specific topics (undergraduate education, graduate education, research and creative activity, diversity and inclusion, international partnerships, and interdisciplinary and community collaborations) and objectives/recommendations were made by each. The groups were led by co-chairs who also served on the SPEC. In order to maintain consistency between groups, templates were developed for each task and they used these formats for sharing their thoughts and ideas.

This plan will serve as a working guide as the Eskenazi School moves through its next half decade. We will review and revise the document annually to measure our progress as well as make any needed adjustments.


We are the nexus for art, architecture, design, and merchandising at Indiana’s flagship university — advancing research, creative activity, and education in our state and beyond. As a transdisciplinary community of ethical leaders, we embrace the liberal arts, encourage risk-taking, inspire innovation, and fuel creativity in a complex world.


The Eskenazi School shapes the future of creativity through transformational and interdisciplinary teaching, research, and engagement built upon an inclusive and liberal arts approach to art, architecture, design, and merchandising.          



+ Heritage and Innovation
+ Creative Risk-Taking
+ Disciplinary Excellence
+ Interdisciplinary Collaboration
+ Inclusion and Advocacy
+ Ethical Practice and Sustainability

Core Goals | Prioritized Objectives

Once the landscape was well understood, the Guiding Groups brainstormed an initial list of objectives (concrete accomplishments the group articulated for the School to achieve by 2025) for their particular focus areas. They created long lists of ideas and then worked through collaborative discussions to reach shared priorities. In many instances, the groups expressed overlapping thoughts. These naturally became the most important and priorities were organized around those shared ideas.

The core of this plan is in the following goals and objectives that we have collectively set forward for ourselves. This plan aims to translate our mission, vision, and values into this series of specific and sustainable recommendations for enhancing and growing our school over the next 5+ years. We have organized these recommendations into four main goals.

Goal One: Foster Excellence in Research and Creative Activity

Goal Two: Make the Eskenazi School a Great Place to Work and Learn

Goal Three: Enrich our Student Learning and Preparation

Goal Four: Connect and Engage with the Community

Goal One: Foster Excellence in Research and Creative Activity

Research and creative activity are central to the life and impact of the Eskenazi School. We will work to support, encourage, and retain the most vibrant, passionate, and acclaimed faculty who are exhibiting in museums and galleries throughout the world, publishing articles in the highest caliber journals, and/or presenting and sharing their ideas in the best conferences in their disciplines.

In alignment with the College’s Values with Intent, we recognize the need to support this research and academic excellence. As the research faculty’s most important resource is time, we recognize that it is an extremely valuable and limited/finite resource, and we will empower the faculty to use their time to the best benefit of their research and teaching. For instance, within university policy, we will work with faculty to develop processes and procedures that remove bureaucratic barriers and simplify other house-keeping tasks. We will develop a balance between scheduled and unscheduled time and sanction Friday afternoons for research. In addition, we will systematize equitable distribution of committee work so that the load is shared by all. We will seek greater support for our faculty through strategic use of school funding by establishing competitive monies to provide course release(s) to pursue strategic projects. We will also work on the staff structure and policies to ensure we have the correct supports in place within the Eskenazi School, the College shared services, and the IUB campus. We will continue our hiring strategies to sustain tenure-line faculty. All this support seeks to deepen and enhance a sense of excellence in the Eskenazi School community.

As stated in the College’s Strategic Plan, “Research and creative activity drive the College’s mission…the College remains an extremely collaborative enterprise, with a vigorous exchange of discourse and inquiry that nurtures many interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research projects, cross-listed courses, and jointly mentored undergraduate and graduate students. These strengths are a direct result of the centuries of effort to appoint, nurture, and retain an internationally acclaimed faculty…Fostering excellence in research and creative activity requires considerable resources…(and) is critical for IUB’s continued success and recognition…IUB’s longtime strengths in scholarly activity and graduate education must be maintained.”

Goal Two: Make the Eskenazi School a Great Place to Work and Learn

Demonstrate our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

We desire and strive to be a diverse community. We will work to develop and articulate a specific diversity, equity, and inclusion values and mission statement that is germane to the Eskenazi School. Our values around DEI should be clear, visible, and accessible on the web and in print. The mission statement should focus on the importance of DEI within the fields of art, architecture, design, and merchandising. Furthermore, it should emphasize creative culture as a central apparatus within society for freely expressing diverse viewpoints and critically engaging with issues of equity and inclusion. This mission should be clearly tied to targeted action plans and accountability metrics for diversity of programming, faculty, staff, and students, with a specific team charged with guiding and representing this commitment to DEI principles.

Our disciplines represent a safe harbor for members of society typically seen as outcasts. Historically, many artists and designers have found their voice in large part through questioning or being excluded themselves by societal norms and prejudices. The Eskenazi School is, therefore, IU’s hub for fields that have consistently been at the forefront of counter culture and share a unique history for critical engagement with racism, gender and LBGTQ+ issues, economic disparities, equal rights, etc. Our DEI mission statement should honor this tradition and pledge to instill social and cultural consciousness in our students’ creative education.

In order to deepen our diversity, we will also promote international research and teaching. We will seek funding for support of international research and projects, develop strategic partnerships with the IU Global Gateway Network to support research and teaching initiatives, establish a targeted list of formal partnerships with overseas institutions, and recruit faculty with international experience.

Realize the Culture of Building through our Facilities

Over the last three years, we have seen great change in our facilities. Kirkwood Hall has been renovated and become home to merchandising and design disciplines, and the Dean’s Office suite. We have added a building in Columbus to our inventory – the historic Republic Building which now houses the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program. A collective home for MFA/BFA students and faculty in five studio areas has been constructed on the corner of Woodlawn and 13th Avenue, extending for the entire block. In the short term, we need to complete these projects and make sure they are all the best they can be. Kirkwood is close to complete, and refinements are still actively occurring at the Studio Arts Annex (Art+X) and the Republic Building. For the next two years we will continue our work on the enhancement of the spaces in the Fine Arts Building, including renovation of various rooms and repurposing of appropriate functions.

We will also focus our efforts on creating spaces within each building for collaboration and exchange of ideas. Such “community spaces” are key for developing a strong sense of connection between our disciplines for both teaching and research.

The new “Mies van der Rohe inspired” building on the corner of 7th and Jordan Ave., to be built during 2021, will serve as a “neutral hub” that doesn’t “belong” to any particular discipline or degree program – a space that is truly “for all”–resulting in the most inclusive conversations. It will also serve as a connector to Columbus with space for Miller M.Arch students who are taking classes at IUB.

With an eye on the longer term, we will clearly state the value of a single, collective, equitable and visionary space shared by all Bloomington-based Eskenazi School areas with the goal of establishing such a space. We will use this information and fundraise to meet this goal of a collective space.

Goal Three: Enrich our Student Learning and Preparation

Enhance our Undergraduate Curricula

We see the Eskenazi School’s undergraduate programs in studio art, design, and merchandising to be places where important 21st century issues are debated and addressed to help students consider their world view. Over the next five years, we will work to increase our attention on how environmental issues, identity politics, and globalization impact these fields. We will focus on ethics, sustainability, self-determination, and political freedom in our teaching, learning, and our civic engagement, while still having our students strive to master a core discipline.

At the undergraduate level, we will prioritize and maintain excellence in all programs and hone specific undergraduate research goals. We will also seek greater opportunities for interdisciplinarity and, using Creative Core as an excellent model, we will consider upper-level collaborative capstones. We will enhance our engaged learning opportunities through the integration of internships programs, service learning, and increased utilization of our alumni networks. Integration of Overseas Study programs/goals will add a “global cultural competency” to the curricula (see Promote International Engagement). Because the culture of building and making is a foundation of our school, we will further incorporate technology integration in the Creative Core and then reinforce those skills throughout the upper-level curricula.

We will assess where it is most appropriate to add new concentrations (or degrees, minors, certificates, programs) and as some of these options are best served through online curriculum, we will determine best practices and decide where and when to implement online and hybrid pedagogical practices.

Deepen our Graduate Opportunities

At the graduate level, we will increase and diversify the number of graduate offerings while strengthening existing graduate degrees (MFA, MS, M.Arch.). This will build a stronger research profile, help to retain faculty, and enhance research goals and opportunities. We also seek to improve the visibility of graduate research through a stronger web presence and selected print materials for national/international distribution, physical events/forums, and spaces/galleries. In addition, by increasing the resources available for graduate students, we seek to attract the best and most diverse applicants.

A focused recommendation for the next five years is to investigate the viability of and develop a proposal for an interdisciplinary Master of Design and PhD in Design. Such degrees could be supported by many different areas with a broad and interdisciplinary foundation, and tracks within areas of specialty. Because the school has faculty with PhDs in many different areas (interior design, merchandising, fashion, sculpture, metals, and eventually architecture), we have a good infrastructure for such an addition to our curricular offerings. We will also look to develop +1 graduate degree paths that will include the start of graduate study in undergraduate programs.

Promote International Engagement

We seek to strengthen the Eskenazi School’s overseas study opportunities by increasing student participation throughout our disciplines and perhaps even requiring an international experience. This would require us to make overseas study more affordable overall, and to develop unique and diverse programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Encouraging domestic students studying abroad is one way to increase global competency, but another is to recruit, retain, and integrate a strong group of international students into our programs. We will seek to increase and equalize that number of international students to study in our areas. In addition, we will investigate the incorporation of “global cultural competencies” as one of our curricular priorities and develop strategies to improve the understanding of international perspectives within the Eskenazi School community.

The Eskenazi School already has a strong foundation in international programs, research, and partnerships. Building on these existing strengths will make us a global school for students and faculty, and will effectively contribute to IU’s international strategic plan.

Goal Four: Connect and Engage with the Community

Build and Grow the School’s Brand

As a fairly new school whose name has changed three times within three years, we are still developing, building, and spreading awareness of our brand. As the nexus for art, architecture, design, and merchandising at IUB, we will clarify who we are and what we bring to the collective table through specific revisions to the website and selected print materials, along with enhanced school communications. As we enhance our brand on campus, we simultaneously need to spread awareness externally through such vehicles as promotions, forums/symposia, and summer research/teaching program opportunities for prospective students.

Engage with Interdisciplinary and Community Partners

Interdisciplinarity has been a focus of the Eskenazi School since its launching, and a fundamental tenet of the departments that existed many years before that. As we have developed, our school has naturally moved into interdisciplinarity projects and community partnerships in research and teaching.

We are at a point where this more “ad hoc/opportunistic” approach needs to be formalized into a stronger, prioritized plan for intentional implementation. In addition, through community outreach we seek to connect to underrepresented groups through initiatives such as summer camps, and by incorporating DEI events into First Thursdays and other events in the school. Community partnerships are a key opportunity for broadening our engagement.

We will also seek opportunities to continue the development of interdisciplinary curricula where opportunities arise and to formalize communication and advising around these programs.


The Eskenazi School’s Strategic Planning process brought together a diverse and representative group of faculty, staff, and students to create a common and shared vision. We thank everyone for participating in a process that was collegial, collaborative, and informative. Our strategic vision calls for intentional and visible support for research and creative activity, enrichment of our place of working and learning, recognition for and investment in our teaching and learning, and enhancement of our connections to other disciplines and the community. To achieve these goals, we commit to the concept of shared governance focused on our elected Faculty Advisory Board and Promotion and Tenure Committee, along with our school’s leadership team and area coordinators. The vision put forward in this document will take the creative problem solving and entrepreneurial spirit of not just the administrative team, but the empowerment of the entire school community. We look forward to working together to successfully achieve our shared 2025 goals for the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi School.