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Engaging Communities around Indiana

From transportation technology solutions at the Indianapolis International Airport to homegrown, biorenewable efforts at BioTown to historic preservation in nooks and crannies around the state, Ball State shares its expertise and knowledge to help make Indiana a better place to live and work. Our efforts strengthen the state’s economy while providing our students opportunities for transformative learning experiences.

Here are some examples that highlight our outcome measures from the Strategic Plan 2007-2012.

A New-Media Powerhouse

Ball State’s goal to be one of the most technologically advanced digital educational environments in the nation arises from a singular, immutable trait: a culture of collaboration.

Our close-knit tradition of cross-departmental teamwork is the perfect platform for the spread of digital media from an extraordinary set of grant-funded pilot projects to university-wide pervasiveness. Ball State’s culture makes it easy for the integration of new media into every discipline and every curriculum, on and off campus, ramping up collaboration to a new high.

Goal 3, Objective iii: Maintain best-practice use and innovative use of information technology in support of strategic direction. 

Incubator Connects Entrepreneurs

A partnership of Ball State, Cardinal Health System, and the city of Muncie, the Innovation Connector is a high-tech business incubator that assists entrepreneurs and new businesses with expertise in business development, training, and marketing with shared services and high broadband. The incubator provides networking, advisory boards, and mentoring opportunities, as well as direction for financing capital, and works closely with Ball State in the commercialization of technology transfer. Currently, nine business clients are located in the incubator, and additional growth is expected throughout the year.

Six of these businesses have a Ball State connection, either originating from the ideas of students, alumni, or faculty members or employing Ball State graduates. For example, Afterimage GIS is a Ball State spin-off that helps wireless communications providers map potential areas of service with definitive demographics. Educational Informatics, which develops products and services for educators such as rGrade and CapturedMatter, was founded by an education professor and is a Ball State technology-transfer company. And, Digital Bridge Communications, which has hired more than 15 Ball State graduates, is testing WiMAX broadband services.

Goal 3, Objective A: By 2012, 10 commercial ventures will be created from university-owned intellectual property.

Dr. Otis R. BowenFocus on Government and Policy

The Bowen Center for Public Affairs, launched in March 2007, represents three institutes focused on increasing public collaboration while improving government performance. The new Bureau of Policy Research is already deeply involved, studying ideas that will impact governmental decisions. The new Institute for Public Service is tackling big ideas such as benchmarking how local governments deliver mandated services, and the Bowen Institute for Political Participation is continuing to teach civic leaders about politics and political involvement.

Goal 3, Objective B: By 2008, fully establish the Bowen Center for Public Affairs and support with $1.15 million in external funds.

Leading the Way in Digital Media

Indiana’s biggest player in digital media, Ball State is focusing its role in economic development on the new-media business sector. With more than $40 million already invested in structure and technology, Ball State is using digital concepts, products, and technology to stimulate the creation of whole industries and to energize current businesses. New media, like immersive learning, crosses vertical and horizontal platforms, markets, and products—a natural for Ball State’s integrated approach to learning and teaching.

As the initiator and champion of Indiana’s new media business cluster, Ball State is already doing research with major networks and others and is forging applications in teaching, business, and communications with partners such as Apple, Adobe, Cisco Systems, Google, and Microsoft.

Goal 3, Objective A: Create a plan to stimulate growth of emerging media business clusters in Indiana.

Working with Communities

Ball State students and faculty continued to put their expertise into action to benefit Indiana organizations and communities. Students and faculty members in the Business Fellows program assisted partner organizations in improving services, increasing business, developing new job opportunities, and improving competitiveness. Working with local leaders, the Building Better Communities initiative developed real, customized solutions for communities across Indiana. Over the last two years, student-faculty teams have worked on more than 130 projects in 60 counties.

Goal 3, Objective C: Grow Building Better Communities projects and programs by 10 percent annually.

Engaging Muncie and Delaware County

Ball State has a long history of partnering with the city of Muncie, and our faculty and students continually look for ways to contribute to the economic and cultural climate of the city. Recently, the Center for Media Design opened the Downtown Digital Exchange in Mitchell Place. In addition to housing three of our immersive learning digital institutes, the studio will offer digital media training, community outreach programs, and collaboration opportunities to help Delaware County businesses compete by using digital media technology.

Our students and faculty members have assisted the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency with disaster planning, provided design and construction assistance through the Muncie Urban Design Studio, and organized community programs for seniors through the Center for Vital Aging. In addition, student volunteers gave more than 58,000 hours of service in the 2006–07 academic year to community programs such as Motivate Our Minds, and Ball State’s arts and cultural venues bring an eclectic mix of shows to the community.

Goal 4, Objective F: By 2012, engage 20 percent more students over 2006-07 base in cocurricular and extracurricular activities. 

Ball State in IndianapolisBall State in Indianapolis

Since opening in November 2006, the Indianapolis Center has expanded its presence in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. At the center, working professionals can pursue graduate degrees in public relations, political science, and education among others and take courses in Ball State’s MBA program. Professional development programs and digital media training are also offered. Additionally, the center hosted approximately 40 events throughout the year.

Goal 3, Objective E: Provide working professionals in Indianapolis access to professional development through graduate programs, skill enhancements, and facility access.