Topics: College of Fine Arts, Administrative

September 5, 2008

A few hours before Ball State formally announced its largest capital campaign, the university adopted levels of giving that will create name recognition opportunities for individuals, groups and organizations investing in its future.

Meeting in a morning session scheduled ahead of the afternoon campaign kickoff, Ball State's Board of Trustees sanctioned a structure recognizing gifts at various monetary levels that create endowments to recruit high-achieving students, develop transformative experiences through immersive learning, develop nationally recognized programs and faculty, enrich a vibrant campus environment and create strong community partnerships.

In conjunction, the board also recognized a recent gift from a Ball State faculty member and his wife by authorizing the renaming of the Music Instruction Building lobby to the Barbara D. and Erwin C. Mueller Lobby. He recently celebrated 50 years at Ball State, having launched his career in 1958 teaching percussion.

"As we celebrate the start of the public phase of our latest and largest-ever capital campaign, I think it's wonderful that we begin by saluting a couple that has been part of the campus community for such a long time and already contributed so much to our success," said President Jo Ann M. Gora.  "It's passionate professors who bring learning to life each day, and Dr. Mueller has been doing that at Ball State for half a century now. How gratifying that his and Barbara's most recent expression of that passion and their continuing regard for the university should be this very generous gift."

The Muellers' care and concern for students is reflected in the gifts they have established over the years at Ball State, including the Barbara D. and Erwin C. Mueller Percussion Scholarship and the Percussion Emergency Fund, which creates graduate assistantships and mitigates student financial hardships.

The couple recently pledged $1 million to establish a permanent endowment providing freshmen merit scholarships for music education majors.

In 2003, the Board of Trustees adopted a policy outlining the requirements and procedures for naming university facilities, interior and exterior spaces, colleges, departments, centers, institutes, endowed chairs and professorships, and collections.

National Survey of Student Engagement

Marilyn Buck, associate provost and dean of University College, also reported to the board that there has been significant improvement in results from the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which regularly seeks to measure the quality of students' undergraduate education.

The survey determines how "engaged" students are in relation to specific issues and activities, including level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, supportive campus environments and enriching educational experiences.

In the majority of categories, Ball State scored higher than peer institutions and other members of the Mid-American Conference, Buck said. She added that NSSE found the university is doing a better job of providing students with improved educational opportunities — among them, innovative immersive learning experiences as well as student work portfolios, senior capstone projects and heightened collaboration with faculty on research projects.

"Our students have confirmed that they overwhelmingly endorse the Education Redefined initiative that has dramatically changed the face of education here at Ball State," summarized Buck. "The improvement in our numbers during the last year is phenomenal, confirming for us that Education Redefined is making Ball State a national leader in preparing students to meet real-world challenges in the coming years."

Additional business

In other business, the board approved:

  • Awarding an honorary doctorate to Tong Ki Woo, president of Yeungnam University, located in Gyeongsan, South Korea, at the December 2008 commencement. Woo is a strong supporter of higher education and Ball State. The two universities have had a relationship for about 40 years.
  • A voluntary employee benefits program that will include vision, supplemental life insurance for the employee, dependent life insurance for spouse and children, and long-term care insurance.
  • Raising the maximum student wage for the first time since 2002. The hourly wage immediately increases from $7.50 to $8.50 and then to $9, effective July 24, 2009, for student jobs that are based on merit/market conditions, job experience, special skills or other unique job requirements.