Indiana State welcomed its 12th president in January 2018. An ISU alumnus, Curtis earned her Ph.D. from Indiana State in curriculum and instruction in 1986. While not planning to leave her last appointment as provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri, the opportunity to return to ISU was too good to pass up.
“I was thrilled to see how much work has been done here,” said Curtis. “I thought, I would really be fortunate to return back there.” In her role as president, she is responsible for guiding the university. She is focused on keeping costs stable, gaining more state appropriation, fundraising, and realigning the work of the Foundation with the university. One of her goals is to grow funding for the university through increased alumni engagement.
“We’re not trying to fix things. We are trying to stay viable and grow as we move forward,” Curtis said. “ISU has a changing demographic of college students. … I want to keep widening the funnel.” She looks forward to recruiting more graduate students, online students and “just-in-time” learners.
Curtis said she is proud to work at a university that offers equal opportunities to all, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. She is the first female president of the university. While excited about this opportunity, she says she will truly be excited when more females are placed into these positions.
“Someone always has to be the first, and I think this really demonstrates that there is an even playing field at Indiana State,” said Curtis. “I’m happy to be the first woman, but I’ll be delighted when there is a second.” Throughout her career, she has had a handful of mentors. Curtis said that choosing a mentor, as a student or professional, is an excellent decision to ensure success.
“I have at this point in my career, taken the opportunity to thank my handful of mentors,” said Curtis. “These are the people who believed in you before you believed in yourself. … These people really provided me the opportunities that I hope to provide to others.”
In her free time, Curtis can be found watching HGTV or “Say Yes To The Dress,” reading books by Anita Shreve, watching sporting events or playing the piano. She enjoys spending time in the Condit House library and it is often the first place she goes when she returns home. She takes this time to catch up with her children and grandchildren, relax, read and reflect on her day.
“The Condit House has a little room on the front of the house. I call it the library,” Curtis said. “If I come in before my husband, he always knows where to find me.”