By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY —
An Indiana University vice president on Friday was named as IU Southeast’s interim chancellor.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer — an education professor and vice president for academic policy and planning at IU Bloomington — will lead the campus for the next year starting July 1.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity to work more closely with colleagues I’ve been working with for the last five years,” Bichelmeyer said. “I appreciate this opportunity.”
Bichelmeyer said her current position at IU Bloomington requires her to work with regional campuses regularly, so she’s familiar with some of the faculty and staff at IU Southeast. According to a news release, Bichelmeyer joined the education faculty at Bloomington in 1996, became an associate dean of faculties in 2007 and accepted her role as a vice president in 2009.
Mark Land, associate vice president for IU communications in Bloomington, said putting Bichelmeyer in charge of one of the regional campuses makes sense, given her previous work.
“Her set of experiences really makes her well-suited for this,” Land said. “Her academic credentials are first-rate, she’s a well-respected professor, so she understand the needs of faculty. She understands how to work with them.
“A lot of her administrative experience here has been dealing with issues regarding the regional campuses, so she has a strong understanding of what the university is trying to do in terms of improving the regional campuses.”
IU Southeast is still on the search for someone to take the position permanently, though. Jenny Johnson Wolf, director of university communications at IU Southeast, said Bloomington’s campus will work with Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates LP for the search on a new chancellor. She said no official timeline is established to finalize the members of the search committee.
Bichelmeyer said she doesn’t plan on running for position permanently, but hopes to make the transition for the next chancellor as smooth as possible. But Land said she’ll take on important campus initiatives in her one-year term while making sure no projects are left half-finished for the permanent chancellor.
“We’re not looking for someone just to fill the seat and keep the office lights on,” Land said. “I know there are things we’ll want to accomplish and she’ll work with the leadership team there. The plan will be to move forward down there.”
Bichelmeyer said she’ll also retain some of her duties for IU Bloomington in online education initiatives, which will reach out other regional campuses as well, but work to draw interest in IU Southeast locally and statewide.
“One of the ways I hope to add value over the coming year is to have conversations with the members of the community about the value of an IU Southeast degree in terms of quality programs, including their business degree that has been recognized nationally,” Bichelmeyer said. “As I’ve been doing in my work at IU administration over the last four years, there’s so much we can do for people to help them recognize the benefits of the campus.”
In her current role at IU, Bichelmeyer earns $192,000 annually. She said she thinks her salary will be higher once she becomes IU Southeast’s interim chancellor, but those details are still in discussion.
Though Sandra Patterson-Randles, the current chancellor, won’t lead the campus after June 30, she’ll still appear on the payroll. She’ll take a yearlong sabbatical while drawing her full salary of $206,403.
Dana Wavle, vice chancellor for administrative affairs at IU Southeast, said in an email that managing both expenses won’t cause any problems for the campus. Wolf said it’s not known at this time which campus will pay Bichelmeyer’s salary.
“We will continue to honor our commitments to our students and our community by being good stewards of our resources and by directing those resources to fulfill our mission,” Wavle said. “We will not allow this or any other expenditure get in the way of us doing our job. Yes, we are always mindful of our budget at IU Southeast, but running a campus as diverse and complex as this is a big job, and we need a strong leader. We are fortunate to have an internal officer as qualified as Barbara Bichelmeyer.”
He said he looks forward to working with Bichelmeyer through the next year.
“We’re extremely excited that Dr. Bichelmeyer will be our interim chancellor,” Wavle said. “She’s already familiar with our campus and will provide a smooth transition to a permanent chancellor. In addition, Dr. Bichelmeyer will build upon our efforts to strengthen partnerships between the campus, university and surrounding communities. Her academic and professional background is a perfect fit for our campus, especially at this point in time. We look forward to working with her.”