A collaboration among North Central College, Valparaiso University, the University of Evansville (UE), and Drake University has received a total of $10 million in grant funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. through the competitive Phase 3 of its initiative, Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities. The grant will support the establishment of a shared, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with a single set of standardized business practices.
Valparaiso University and UE are two of 16 Indiana colleges and universities that will be supported by funding in the final phase of Charting the Future, an initiative designed to help colleges and universities in Indiana assess and prioritize the most significant challenges and opportunities they face as higher education institutions and develop strategies to address them. Valparaiso and UE are each receiving $5 million grants from Lilly Endowment through the Charting the Future initiative to support the collaboration with North Central College and Drake University.
Through the collaboration, the four institutions will form an independent, non-profit organization called the College and University Sustainability Project (CUSP) to house the collaborative effort toward providing efficient and effective non-academic services. Once significant progress has been achieved, the intention is to enable additional institutions to join CUSP and achieve similar efficiency and effectiveness.
Concepts and initiatives for the grant were established by a steering committee of members from each of the four institutions. In addition to the four presidents, it was comprised of chief financial officers, chief information officers, and other key administrators.
“I am grateful to the Lilly Endowment for its philanthropic vision and for its support of this unique and collaborative initiative,” says Troy D. Hammond, President, North Central College. “This is a remarkable opportunity for North Central College and our partner institutions to incorporate technology innovations toward achieving long-term efficiencies and improved services to the benefit of our students.”
“Indiana’s colleges and universities face myriad challenges as they work to fulfill their educational missions while adapting to growing financial pressures, rapid demographic and technological changes, and evolving needs and demands of students,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased with the creative and collaborative approaches the colleges and universities are taking to address these challenges and seize opportunities to better serve their students, institutions, communities and the state of Indiana.”
Lilly Endowment launched the three-phased Charting the Future initiative in 2019 to help leaders of the state’s 38 colleges and universities engage in thoughtful discernment about the future of their institutions and to advance strategic planning and implementation efforts to address key challenges and opportunities. Collaboration was encouraged, especially in the third phase of Charting the Future, and several schools proposed collaborative programs and strategies. Through three phases of grantmaking, Lilly Endowment awarded more than $138 million to the schools.
Through earlier rounds of the initiative, all 38 schools received planning grants, which were approved in December 2019, and implementation grants approved in June and September 2020. The implementation grants funded strategies to improve efforts to prepare students for successful futures and strengthen the schools’ long-term institutional vitality.