The Indiana University Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development, or CREED, addresses regional economic concerns and identifies ways that IU can use its resources to advance economic development efforts in the state. Each IU campus has a CREED representative, appointed by the campus’s chancellor or provost.
Subir Bandyopadhyay has represented IU Northwest on CREED since its inception. He is a professor of marketing in the School of Business and Economics. He was kind enough to answer questions for Crimson Catalyst.
Crimson Catalyst: Why is community engagement important to IU Northwest?
Subir Bandyopadhyay: Community engagement is one of the central missions of IU Northwest. We believe that the quality of life in the northwest Indiana region can be significantly improved if we, as an IU campus, work with community partners including government officials, nonprofit organizations, local school boards and businesses.
CC: Why is regional economic development important to IU Northwest?
SB: The region served by IU Northwest faces many challenges, including lack of economic development, lack of employment opportunities for youngsters and population loss. IU Northwest is dedicated to improving the socio-economic conditions in the region.
CC: What vision or priorities does your chancellor have regarding regional engagement and economic development?
SB: Chancellor William J. Lowe’s priorities are reflected in the mission statement of IU Northwest, and economic development is featured prominently. Accordingly, many of our programs and efforts are geared toward facilitating economic development in the region.
CC: How has the region benefited from IU Northwest’s involvement and leadership?
SB: I believe northwest Indiana has benefited tremendously from the involvement and leadership of IU Northwest. CREED has played an important collaborative role in this effort. For example, thanks to a series of Regional Economic Development, or RED, Fund awards to the campus, we have been able to offer many training workshops for local entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Training was provided on important business functions and tools such as digital marketing, social media marketing, app development, marketing strategy, green business strategy, social entrepreneurship and integrated marketing communication.
IU Northwest impacts the region in several ways. The School of Business and Economics offers free tax-preparation services to local residents through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program. The new, state-of-the-art Arts and Sciences Building on campus is expected to provide a great impetus to the economic and social development in the city of Gary. And several faculty and staff members serve the region through their involvement in local organizations like Rotary International, Habitat for Humanity, Lions Club and others.
CC: What potential opportunities exist for IU Northwest and the region?
SB: The Arts and Sciences Building, which also houses the Ivy Tech Community College campus, offers a unique opportunity for collaboration between educational institutions: Students are now able to smoothly transition from a two-year diploma to a four-year degree. Thanks to a new RED Fund award, we are developing a new Northwest Indiana Business Confidence Index that, coupled with the existing Coincidence Economic Index, will capture the confidence in the economy. And many online programs offered by IU Northwest are expected to reach out to a new group of adult and nontraditional students who would not have the benefit of higher education delivered through traditional, in-person classes.