As a three-time graduate of Indiana University, one of the greatest joys of my life has been the opportunity to serve the University in numerous volunteer capacities through four decades, culminating in my role as a member of the Board of Trustees for the past three years. I have served as the past National Chair of the IUAA Board of Managers, Founding Member of the Women's Philanthropy Leadership Council and IU Athletics Women's Excellence, Co-Chair Colloquium for The Women of Indiana University, and two terms on the IU East Advisory Board among other activities.
I am a passionate advocate for academic excellence and equity, and it is through these dual lenses that I have sought to fulfill my fiduciary responsibility as a member of the Indiana University Board of Trustees. No matter which IU campus a student chooses to attend, academic excellence must be the centerpiece of every student's IU experience. Anything less is unacceptable and inexcusable!
While one's love for Indiana University is admirable, love alone is not enough to help the University address the current and future challenges it faces. By working collaboratively and collegially with my fellow Trustees and the executive leadership team of President Michael McRobbie over the past three years, I have acquired the knowledge and understanding needed to be an effective member of the Board of Trustees and to make informed policy decisions that best serve the needs of current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni and the citizens of the State of Indiana.
While the recently concluded celebration of the University's bicentennial highlighted many of the accomplishments of which we can all be justifiably proud, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the uncertainty of the challenges that lie ahead and the importance of the University being nimble, yet decisive, in navigating the uncertainty of the new normal in higher education.
As a Trustee for this venerable institution, I possess the highest level of personal integrity and commitment to transparency; a passion for academic excellence, gender, and ethnic equity; and a commitment to ensuring that an IU education is accessible and affordable no matter which campus a student attends. As an engaged alumna and Trustee, I have come to fervently believe that the strength of Indiana University is personified by the value added to the communities in which an IU campus is located, and the role that the University plays collectively in teaching, research and discovery, workforce preparation and economic development.
During my tenure as a member of the Board of Trustees, I have seized every opportunity to learn as much as possible about the higher education enterprise in general, and Indiana University in particular. As a result the votes I cast are based on best practices in higher education and consistent with the needs of the University. This is how I will continue to approach my duties as a member of the IU Board of Trustees.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as other national publications, are filled with articles now days predicting the uncertainty of the higher education as we have come to know it. While no one can be certain about what the future holds, three things are clear. First, Indiana University has a successful 200-year record of being one of America's most formidable forces in educating not only Hoosiers but citizens from around the world who work on the leading edge of knowledge discovery and application. Second, Indiana University is poised to serve the citizens of Indiana, across all of our campuses, in new and important ways through an array of collaborative and strategic academic and administrative initiatives, made by the President and our Board of Trustees.
Third, for Indiana University to remain relevant, competitive, affordable, accessible and responsive to our constituents, as your alumni Trustee, I will be fully engaged and prepared to ask tough questions, make difficult choices, and work collaboratively with the University's executive leadership team in fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities.
Having the opportunity to serve as a member of the IU Board of Trustees during the Bicentennial celebration, I witnessed the long term and inextricable link between good governance and effective university leadership. I am seeking a second term on the Board of Trustees to use my knowledge, commitment, and passion to insure the University's continued success in pursuit of academic excellence, equity and opportunity for all Hoosiers.
I ask for your VOTE.
Donna B. Spears