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The words of philosopher-scientist René Descartes, "all good things are difficult to achieve," often apply to our most worthy educational endeavors, and certainly to the establishment of the nation's land grant universities and their promise of bringing learning opportunities to rural America. Vermont congressman Justin Morrill's own education ended with secondary school, but he recognized the value of making higher education readily available. By the time the Morrill Land Grant Act reached President Abraham Lincoln's desk, the four-year-old proposal had already been vetoed once. The day President Lincoln signed the Act into law — July 2, 1862 — also saw the culmination of the Seven Days Battles, as the nation's civil war overshadowed most other concerns. Thanks to the persistence and vision of these leaders, and others, the federal government began to turn over public lands to any state that would agree to maintain a liberal and practical education, teaching agriculture and the "mechanic arts," fields that were largely neglected by the classical university education of the era.

"All good things are difficult to achieve"
-René Descartes

Indiana's General Assembly voted to participate in the plan and, in 1869, located the state's land grant college near Lafayette. With a $150,000 gift from local businessman John Purdue, $50,000 from Tippecanoe County, and 100 acres of land from local residents, the legislature established a new institution, Purdue University.* When the first official semester of classes began at Purdue, on September 16, 1874, there were 39 total members of the student body and six instructors constituted the faculty. The first women students were admitted and the first degree — a bachelor of science in chemistry — was conferred by the University the following year [1, 2].

Even the visionary Morrill might be astounded at what has transpired since that modest beginning. Purdue University has since evolved into one of the top 20 largest universities in the nation, and is now a coeducational institution of over 72,000 students, with a main campus enrollment of approximately 40,000, occupying over 2,300 acres and 160 major buildings, and four regional campuses, two of which are shared with Indiana University. This self-study document pertains only to the West Lafayette campus; each regional campus is accredited separately by the Higher Learning Commission.

The West Lafayette campus is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading research institutions, while maintaining standards of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education.  Established in 2001, Purdue's Discovery Park is an innovative, interdisciplinary research initiative that attracted more than $180 million in external funding in its first five years. Birck Nanotechnology Center, one of the original Discovery Park centers, is regarded as one of the best academic nanotech facilities in the world [3]. The award-winning Purdue Research Park was one of the first five university-sponsored research parks in the nation and has grown to house 155 companies, making the Research Park the largest incubator of technology-based businesses in the state [4].

Purdue is an international university, its reach spanning the world. One hundred twenty-six countries and all fifty U.S. states are represented in the student population, and the University sends students to more than 50 countries through study abroad programs. The number of international students enrolled on the West Lafayette campus consistently ranks among the top three of public institutions in the U.S. There are more than 400,000 living alumni from Purdue University.

Building upon historical strengths in engineering and agriculture, Purdue offers 7,400 courses in more than 500 undergraduate majors and specializations across its 10 colleges and schools. While undergraduate enrollment in engineering has traditionally been the largest on campus, enrollment in liberal arts has grown to rank first, as shown in Figure I-1, reflecting a significant change over time in the breadth of undergraduate academic program offerings and opportunities for students. Programs of graduate study leading to advanced degrees fall under the authority of the Graduate School.

Figure I-1. Enrollment by School/College by Level — Fall 2008

Figure I-1. Enrollment by School/College by Level — Fall 2008

Source: 2008-2009 Data Digest

The University has intentionally maintained a relatively steady undergraduate enrollment level since the last reaccreditation visit, in 1999, while deliberately attempting to increase its graduate student numbers. Under President Martin C. Jischke (2000–2007), Purdue underwent an intense strategic planning phase, which has been deemed extremely successful. This plan focused on building research infrastructure, the addition of hundreds of new faculty lines, and University engagement with the state. Now under the leadership of its eleventh president, Dr. France A. Córdova (2007–present), Purdue is embarking on a new strategic plan, New Synergies, aimed toward increasing the University's stature and prestige, and focusing on its people (students, faculty, and staff), programs, and partnerships with constituencies they serve. The foundation of each plan was purposefully built upon the three components of the University mission: learning, discovery, and engagement.

Dr. Córdova has offered her outlook on the future of the University: "Our highest priority at Purdue is excellence in education for our students. This includes world-class faculty members who are accessible to students … connecting the liberal arts, science, and technology in innovative ways … experiential learning opportunities such as internships and community service … entrepreneurial learning, undergraduate, and graduate research experiences … Purdue is the pole star that sets the compass for our state of Indiana. Purdue energizes Indiana's economy. Our faculty, students, and staff assist existing businesses and create new ones. Purdue agricultural extension is active in every county and community in our state. Our land grant mission goes beyond agriculture. It is a spirit of giving back to communities in which every college, school, and department at our university transfers its learning and discovery to improve the economy, quality of life, and culture for people. Purdue is tomorrow's university" [5].

Purdue is an institution that is continually moving forward, while maintaining an intense appreciation for its rich history. The following pages will depict the University's progress and change over time, with particular attention given to suggestions and concerns cited in the 1999 NCA report; our process for reflection and documentation for this self-study; where the University stands relative to each core component within each of the five current accreditation criteria; and the reasons for selecting our self-study special emphasis topic.

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2000–2009: A Decade of Innovation and Progress

In November 2001, the Purdue University Board of Trustees approved Purdue's landmark strategic plan with a defining banner — The Next Level: Preeminence — and, in 2005, extended its duration to 2007. As the first University-wide strategic plan at Purdue led by then-President Martin C. Jischke, it created an umbrella under which unit-level strategic plans were developed and aligned, and set the keynote for strategic actions. Thus, with this plan, a new era ensued for Purdue with a common vision and concerted effort of all units toward reaching the "next level." This strategic plan was remarkably successful, achieving very substantial progress toward the goals of learning, discovery, and engagement, a refreshed, progressive framework for the core purposes and commitments of a modern land grant research university. More importantly, and perhaps of the most long-lasting significance and impact, the plan, the planning process, and the broad participation of the University community created a change in institutional culture, ushering in a new, pervasive culture of strategic thinking, planning, actions, assessment, and accountability. This new culture is marked by innovation, visionary initiatives, aggressive resource development, and widespread connectivity with Purdue's constituencies.

Several hallmarks of progress characterize the success of this strategic plan, most significantly: adding 300 new faculty positions to advance learning and research capacity; nearly doubling annual extramural research awards and developing major facilities, including Discovery Park, to accelerate interdisciplinary research endeavors; and redefining engagement to champion economic development in Indiana with invigorated growth of the Research Park, which created 44 start-up companies (to a total, in 2009, of 155 companies in the park). Carrying out the strategic plan energized the University, instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment that has been reverberating throughout the University and among its internal and external constituencies. The West Lafayette campus was forever transformed by the plan, with over 40 new building projects resulting in an extraordinary expansion of campus facilities.

A new chapter commenced at Purdue with the presidency of Dr. France A. Córdova and the Board of Trustees' approval, in June 2008, of a new strategic plan, New Synergies. This strategic plan has reshaped Purdue's vision with newly stated goals: Launching Tomorrow's Leaders, Discovery with Delivery, and Meeting Global Challenges. Developing and implementing this plan to secure Purdue's lasting global reputation has renewed the University's excitement. With new leadership at various levels, reorganized infrastructure, and effective development and utilization of resources, Purdue is building on the success achieved under the previous strategic plan.

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Then and Now

Significant changes have taken place at Purdue University since the last accreditation visit, many of which are reflected in Table I-1, below. Undergraduate student enrollment has, by design, remained relatively constant, while graduate student enrollment, also by design, has increased by nearly 25 percent. The undergraduate out-of-state, domestic proportion of the student population grew by almost six percent. In fall 2009, underrepresented minority students comprised nearly seven percent of Purdue's student body, compared to six percent in 2000. The academic profile of entering freshmen improved substantially, with an increase of 32 points in average SAT scores, and 35 percent of incoming students ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes. Overall, the six-year graduation rate for undergraduate students improved by almost nine percentage points (to 70.5 percent), but the lower rate for minority students remains a concern the University must address. While the overall first-year retention rates remained steady, the decline in retention of underrepresented minority students is of great concern. Steps being taken to stem these declines are discussed in Chapter 3.

Driven by strategic plan initiatives, the number of total faculty increased by 461 (20 percent).  Administrative and professional staff numbers also grew, predominantly in response to supporting the advancement, information technology, and research infrastructure enhancement priorities.  The University's budget rose by nearly 76 percent, to $1.7 billion in FY09, with a 17 percent increase in state appropriations. Adjusting the state appropriations to inflation (using the HEPI — Higher Education Price Index), there was actually a 12.4 percent decrease during this time period.  Tuition and fees were raised to generate increased revenue to support the initiatives of the strategic plans and to provide outstanding educational programs in an increasingly competitive global environment. Revenue from student tuition and fees more than doubled from 2000-01, to $467.8 million in FY09. University-budgeted student financial aid for scholarships, grants, and fee remissions increased by 140 percent reflecting the University's commitment to an affordable education.

Other dramatic changes on campus during the past ten years that are not reflected in the data presented in Table I-1, but will be discussed further in this self-study, include the transformation of information technology resources and services, and the elevated and expanding role of engagement activities that serve the University's varied constituencies.

Table I-1. Selected Comparisons: A Statistical Summary of Then and Now

Table I-1. Selected Comparisons: A Statistical Summary of Then and Now

Source: Office of Institutional Research

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Figure I-2. West Lafayette Campus Map

West Lafayette Campus Map

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Response to 1999 HLC/NCA Evaluation

Suggestions for Institutional Improvements

After the November 1999 NCA visit, the team offered the following advice in its report to the University. This advice was extremely helpful to the University as it moved into an important new phase with the transition, in 2000, to a new president, Martin Jischke, and a new century. While these suggestions provided by the team were advisory only, the University carefully considered each item. Some of their guidance suggested new initiatives, while in several instances they simply encouraged vigorously continuing existing initiatives. Listed on the following pages are the team's suggestions from the 1999 report, followed by a brief description of the University's response. (Note: The team's suggestions are reproduced verbatim as they appeared in the 1999 report.)

  1. Suggestion: The team strongly encouraged the University to initiate a strategic planning process as the new president assumed the helm. The team had in mind a process that would bring important leaders within the University community together, perhaps initially in a well planned retreat, to discuss directions, needs, particular purposes, and priorities with the end in mind of ultimately developing a guide and plan that would have horsepower and would enjoy the broad commitment in the University's everyday life. Particular issues to be addressed, in addition to concerns expressed below, ranged from areas in which the University would excel and the appropriate balance between centralization and decentralization in the organization and authority within the institution to flexibility in faculty roles and rewards, funding priorities and requirements, communication among internal and with external constituencies, and the appropriate role and support of the Liberal Arts in an institution with uncommon strengths and investments in the areas of engineering, science, and technology.

    Response: The University initiated an aggressive strategic planning phase immediately after the hiring of its tenth president, Martin C. Jischke, in August 2000 [6]. This plan was developed with broad input reaching across its various constituencies. A new position, director of strategic planning and assessment, was also created and filled. The strategic plan and its impact on the University will be described in detail later in the self-study report. This process continued with President Córdova's new strategic plan.

  2. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to continue to endeavor to make the budgetary process increasingly transparent through sharing information about and seeking comment on sources of funds and funding priorities and allocations.

    Response: Immediately upon assuming his presidency, Dr. Jischke initiated the President's Forum, a series of informational sessions for the University vice presidents, deans, department heads, directors, and the leadership of the University Senate and staff councils, held on the third Thursday of each month. During the first portion of this forum, the president outlined a snapshot of the state of the University with regard to enrollment, budget, research, and fundraising. Funding priorities and allocations were highlighted at the beginning of each new budget cycle. The second half of the forum focused on a topic of current interest or an overview of one of the colleges/schools or other areas of campus. These forums continued throughout the president's seven-year term. Dr. Córdova continues to conduct forums to an expanded audience in a modified format.

  3. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to commence preparations for launching a major development campaign with a goal no less lofty than the most lofty of other major public institutions that would require the institution to stretch and with a process that should be driven by clearly formulated academic priorities and guided through a centrally coordinated effort.

    Response: A $1.5 billion campaign — the largest in Purdue's history — was launched in conjunction with the strategic plan. This campaign's goal was later raised to $1.7 billion, and was met by raising $1,709,625,999. The proceeds of the campaign were tied directly to strategic plan goals. The campaign was successfully completed on June 30, 2007.

    Figure I-3. The Campaign for Purdue: Cumulative Net Gift Activity, System-wide

    Figure I-3. The Campaign for Purdue: Cumulative Net Gift Activity, System-wide

    Source: University Development Office

  4. Suggestion: The team suggested that the University develop an institutionalized process, which, over time, would provide an enhanced reservoir of funds for selective investment in areas of high priority under the leadership of Academic Affairs. This would assist the University in achieving versatility and nimbleness in defining and aggressively pursuing new academic priorities as the world of learning changes over time.

    Response: President Jischke initiated an annual two percent budget reallocation process, which cut across all University academic and non-academic areas. The reallocation monies were then distributed over a list of prioritized strategic projects, including academic priorities, each budget year. President Córdova has continued this budget management practice. In addition, strategic plan allocations, focusing on broad strategic plan priorities, are being made to the provost, with the discretionary responsibility to target these resources to achieve the academic goals of the plan.

  5. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to continue its commitment to sustained investment in its research infrastructure.

    Response: The University made major investments in research infrastructure, including personnel, financial resources, and space. The creation of Discovery Park, now with 11 interdisciplinary centers and 114,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, is an example of a major accomplishment in this area. Chapter 4, which addresses Criterion 4, provides greater detail about research activity on campus and its impact on the University.

  6. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to continue to refine its plans for investment in faculty development.

    Response: Purdue University has made considerable investment in faculty development since the last review. While it would be impossible to describe every University effort designed to support and enrich the life of faculty members, the primary areas of focus fall into these categories: support for new faculty, educational opportunities for existing faculty, faculty recognition and rewards, teaching support, research support, and leadership development. Further details of these faculty development initiatives are outlined in Chapter 3 under Core Component 3b. Taken together, since 2000 the University has invested more than $5 million in these efforts, and this number does not include all of the typical routine support for travel to professional meetings that enhance faculty research, teaching, and service activities. Neither does it include funds made available to named and distinguished faculty members to enrich their teaching, research, and salary, nor start-up funds for new faculty.

  7. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to explore and develop joint ventures with other institutions, both non-profit and for-profit, in the commercialization of technology with a commitment to contributing to the public welfare, to student training and learning, and to generating revenue for investment in the University's priority areas.

    Response: Purdue has developed master research frameworks with many for-profit ventures to encourage dialogue between faculty and industry scientists, and to raise funding for joint collaborative projects of interest to industry that will result in accelerated technology transfer from academia to industry. Successful transfer transactions will also generate increased revenue for the University. As seen in Table I-2, disclosures and patent applications have more than doubled from 2000 to 2008.

    Based on enhanced licensing activity, Purdue technology commercialization revenue has increased from $1.6 million in 2001 to $3.4 million in 2008. A number of Purdue — industry partnerships have been initiated since 2000, including the Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy and Contract Manufacturing, a partnership with Eli Lilly and Company in the area of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Another unique partnership was unveiled in 2007 when the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering announced a $100 million endowment to support the Alfred Mann Institute at Purdue (AMIPurdue) [7]. This University-based institute will enable the commercialization of innovative biomedical technologies that improve human health.

    Table I-2. Technology Commercialization

    Table I-2. Technology Commercialization

    Source: Office of Technology Commercialization

  8. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to continue its commitment to enhancing the diversity of the university community in its various dimensions as well as levels of leadership, to include gender equity.

    Response: The University has introduced several initiatives to increase diversity among its faculty, staff, and student body, and to create an inclusive environment. Of the 946 cumulative new faculty hires from 2001–2008, 37 percent (350) were women and 32 percent (300) were minorities, a combined 58 percent (553) of new hires. The number of women serving at top academic levels has also increased dramatically. From 2000 to 2008, the number of women holding dean and associate/assistant dean positions went from seven to eighteen, an increase of 157 percent. Other recent and current appointments of women to top leadership positions have included France A. Córdova, Purdue's first woman president (2007); Sally K. Mason, the first woman to serve as provost (2001); Linda P. B. Katehi (2001) and Leah H. Jamieson (2006), the first and second women to serve as the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering; Teri L. Thompson (2008), vice president for marketing and media; Margaret M. Rowe (2002), and Christine M. Ladisch (2005), vice provost for academic affairs; Maryann Santos de Barona (2009), dean of education; Carolyn Curiel (2008), chief of staff; and G. Christine Taylor (2009), vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. The University's commitment to promoting leadership opportunities for women is also demonstrated by programs such as Campus Women Lead [8]. Many other gender equity initiatives are also yielding steady progress for women at Purdue. Recruitment of underrepresented minority faculty, staff, and students continues to be a challenge, but remains a high priority for the University. Figures I-4, I-5, and I-6 demonstrate the University's progress in these areas.

    Figure I-4. Faculty Diversity by Race/Ethnicity

    Figure I-4. Faculty Diversity by Race/Ethnicity

    Figure I-5. Staff Diversity by Race/Ethnicity

    Figure I-5. Staff Diversity by Race/Ethnicity

    Figure I-6. Student Diversity by Race/Ethnicity

    Figure I-6. Student Diversity by Race/Ethnicity

    Source: Data Digest

  9. Suggestion: The team suggested that the University consider incorporating provision for library acquisition funds in start-up packages, particularly in the Liberal Arts where library holdings in particular areas of faculty recruitment may be particularly deficient.

    Response: Funding of start-up packages for new faculty, including those in liberal arts, increased significantly from fiscal year 2002 to 2009 (Figure I-7). These funds are typically provided for discretionary use by the faculty member, thereby allowing for library acquisitions if so desired. Additionally, the Library Scholars Grant program provides funds to faculty to help defray the cost of library services associated with their research programs [9].

    Figure I-7. Faculty Start-Up Funds, 2001-2009

    Figure I-7. Faculty Start-Up Funds, 2001-2009

    Source: Office of the Provost

  10. Suggestion: The team suggested that the University move to greater centralization in the management of information technology and attendant facilities and requirements, including the recruitment of a world-class chief information officer.

    Response: In 2001, Purdue University merged separate administrative computing, academic computing, and telecommunications units into a single organization known as Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP). The goal was to seamlessly integrate information technology with learning, discovery, engagement, and the University's business enterprise. ITaP has a staff of 450 and an annual budget of more than $63 million. James R. Bottum became Purdue's first CIO and vice president for information technology in 2001 and was succeeded in 2007 by William G. McCartney, the Olga Oesterle England Professor of Information Technology.

    Among the many new IT initiatives ITaP has implemented since 1999 are:

    • central Exchange e-mail and calendaring services;
    • central security measures — port blocking at border routers, spam filtering, security awareness;
    • Purdue's first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project, incorporating SAP and Banner;
    • implementation of the Blackboard Vista online course environment for delivering course materials, communicating with students, and creating learning activities for on-campus and distance students;
    • distributed rendering in campus computer laboratories, delivering supercomputing capability to undergraduate students;
    • the Digital Learning Collaboratory, providing students with capability to integrate electronic media (text, video, and graphics) and to create electronic portfolios;
    • the Envision Center partnering with researchers to create new tools, technologies, and to support applications in perceptualization; and
    • formation of the IT Executive Steering Committee, an advisory group with representation from three regional campuses, all ten of the colleges/schools on the West Lafayette campus, libraries, administrative units, and the president's office, to provide ITaP with broad view of campus needs and expectations in the areas of IT policy, operations, and finance.
  11. Suggestion: The team suggested that the University give serious consideration to elevating the level of tuition and fees given the requirements for providing outstanding educational programs in an increasingly competitive national environment.

    Response: To help generate additional revenue required to accomplish 2001–2007 strategic plan initiatives, the University initiated a tuition increase of $1,000 for all new entering students, effective fall 2002. This one-time, 34 percent increase was the largest in recent times, in an attempt to bring our tuition more in line with our peer institutions, as illustrated in tables I-3 and I-4. (The tables do not reflect differential fees for high cost programs such as engineering, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.) This significant increase was instrumental in helping the University fund several of its strategic priorities. Since the last review, we have established a differential fee for undergraduates in the Krannert School of Management, effective fall 2003. Also, effective fall 2006, a special repair and renovations fee ($159/semester) was established for all students. In fall 2009, continuing undergraduate resident and nonresident student tuition and fees were increased by five percent and six percent, respectively. A new $500 fee per academic year for new-to-campus students was also implemented to generate funds for strategic plan initiatives. This fee was rebated for in-state students. Differential fees were also increased or added for engineering, management, and technology majors.

    Table I-3. Comparison of Resident Undergraduate Tuition and Fees at Peer Universities

    Table I-3. Comparison of Resident Undergraduate Tuition and Fees at Peer Universities

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    Table I-4. Comparison of Nonresident Undergraduate Tuition and Fees at Peer Universities

    Table  I-4. Comparison of Nonresident Undergraduate Tuition and Fees at Peer  Universities

    Source: 2007–2008 Data Digest

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  12. Suggestion: The team encouraged the University to maintain its many areas of strength and successfully attend the concerns as expressed in the next and last section of the report.

    Response: The University's 2001–2007 strategic plan had a foundation based on its historical strengths and current initiatives at the time of presidential transition (2000). The many successes and concerns will be addressed in the succeeding chapters as they relate to each of the current criteria and the special emphasis. The University's actions relative to the 1999 concerns listed in the NCA accreditation report are highlighted in the subsequent section.

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Areas of Concern

In reaching its recommendation for full reaccreditation of Purdue University, the evaluation team cited in its report the following areas of concern. The University took careful and deliberate action on each of these concerns, and the following summarizes Purdue's response to each of the team's comments, which are reported exactly as they appeared in the report.

  1. Concern: Securing the long-term funding base and the sources of funds necessary to enable Purdue University to effectively compete with its peer institutions and to contribute as fully as it can to the educational and economic welfare of the people of Indiana.

    Response: Since the 1999 review, Purdue has made significant changes in the depth, breadth, and length of its planning activities. Resource planning was previously confined to state biennial appropriation cycles. In developing the first comprehensive strategic plan, in November 2001, the University began laying out specific, attainable revenue streams for the period covered by the plan. The change in leadership that brought strategic planning to the University also fostered a major cultural change, to management by facts and data. Metrics based upon strategic plan objectives were established, monitored, and reported. One example of this change was the establishment of the Enrollment Management Planning Group — composed of representatives from the offices of Admissions, Housing, Budget, the President, the Provost, Space Management, University Senate, and the Graduate School, among others — which focuses on a ten-year planning window for enrollment management. This collaboration has contributed to managing and stabilizing the student fee revenue stream, which represents over 55 percent of the total general fund revenues.

    Also essential to its funding base, the University grew its endowment from $1.22 billion to $1.74 billion during the period from 1999 to June 30, 2008. The increase in market value was accomplished through strong investment returns and new endowed gifts to support the University. Purdue's endowment is the country's eleventh largest among public institutions and its endowment assets under management ranked thirty-seventh in the 2008 National Association of Colleges and Universities Business Officers Endowment Study. In 2008, 77 endowments in the study reported assets greater than $1 billion, with an average value of $3.9 billion among that group.

    The Purdue Board of Trustees established the endowment spending policy to support the organization, and is currently at 4.5 percent of the average of the ending market values of the endowment for the prior 12 quarters. This spending policy maintains intergenerational equity, balancing between today's needs and Purdue's future needs, by maintaining the endowment's purchasing power over time. The 2007–2008 fiscal year endowment distribution was approximately $72 million: fifty percent for instruction and research; twenty-eight percent for scholarships and fellowships; seven percent for construction; and fifteen percent for awards, prizes, and other expenditures.

  2. Concern: The research enterprise throughout the institution needs investment of funds, from various and appropriate sources, including review of those generated through indirect cost recovery for this purpose.

    Response: There has been significant investment in research infrastructure at Purdue since the last accreditation review. Purdue follows the common practice of placing the vast majority of indirect cost recovery (overhead) funds into the University general fund, so it is combined with University resources as the source of research investments.

    In 2001, Purdue launched Discovery Park (DP), the University's major infrastructure for interdisciplinary large-scale research, with $51 million in grants from the Lilly Endowment and nearly $100 million in private donations for construction of interdisciplinary research facilities. As of 2009, the park's campus includes five new buildings, which have added approximately 114,000 square feet in research laboratory space, 71,000 square feet of office and support space, and $27 million in new research equipment to the campus. Purdue's investment from gifts and other sources specifically for assignable DP research space totals approximately $53 million.

    From 2001 to 2005, Discovery Park was managed as a sponsored program, operating entirely on Lilly Endowment grant funds, until being officially internalized into the Office of the Vice President for Research, when DP began receiving general fund support from the University. As of 2009, DP has a sustainable operating budget of $5.8 million, which is part of the budget of the Office of the Vice President for Research. When the Lilly Endowment grants, donations, and sponsored programs are considered collectively, Discovery Park represents a $450 million investment in the University's research enterprise. The park facilitated approximately $74 million in new research awards in 2007–2008 and $65.9 million in new awards in 2008–2009.

    There has also been significant investment in new buildings elsewhere across the campus. Outside of Discovery Park, 122,765 assignable square feet of new research space have been added to the campus since 2000, representing the University's investment of approximately $54 million from gifts and other sources.

    The total recurring cost of operating all new buildings on campus (including those in Discovery Park) is approximately $5.9 million, of which Purdue pays approximately $5.6 million per year while the state provides approximately one-quarter of a million dollars. Repair and renovation of existing facilities is also a major University commitment. Since 2001 approximately $40 million has been invested in repair and renovation across campus, nearly $18 million (45 percent) of which has gone directly to laboratory renovation, not including building mechanical systems (HVAC systems, chillers, heating coils, etc.).

    Purdue has made many other significant investments in research infrastructure over the last decade. In 1999, the senior staff of the Office of the Vice President for Research included an associate vice president for research compliance, associate vice president for centers and institutes, and assistant vice president for corporate relations. When Discovery Park was internalized in 2005, the park's executive director was also named as senior associate vice president for research. Within the 2009–2010 year, the Office of the Vice President for Research will add a dedicated industry and corporate fundraiser and an additional assistant vice president to expand Purdue's focus on corporate relations. Although the University ranks sixth nationally in industry-funded research (in 2009), it seeks to enhance its activities in the life science corporate sector.

    Research support staff has been expanded significantly, including the addition of an assistant vice president and a research security administrator in the research compliance area. A research development group — including a director; an assistant director, who oversees limited submission and seed grant programs; a project manager, who assists faculty to identify new grant opportunities and organize new areas of potential research; and four proposal coordinators who, upon request, assist faculty in preparing large, collaborative proposals — has also been created. The Office of the Vice President for Research has also added a managing director position to assist faculty in launching large projects, such as NSF and NIH funded centers, once these projects have been awarded.

    In Discovery Park, the position of managing director was created to coordinate the preparation of large, complex proposals. A second innovation in Discovery Park has been the creation of a pre-proposal — pre-award team to handle all budget preparation and contract negotiations as large-scale research proposals are being developed. This team has been so successful in Discovery Park that the concept is being expanded to the academic units, beginning with the College of Engineering.

    There has also been significant investment in the Office of the Vice President for Research to support research cores, mandatory and voluntary cost share on grants, and the development of new research centers. In 2003–2004 the general fund budget for this office was $2.7 million; the office was provided with a $2 million increment in recurring general funds in 2007-2008; and the 2008–2009 general fund budget was $6.4 million. For 2009–2010, recurring funding for the Office of the Vice President for Research is $1 million to support research cores, $2.7 million for cost share, and $1.25 million for the development of new project centers.

  3. Concern: Assignment of high priority to continuous examination and support for the immediate and long-term library needs of the campus.

    Response: From 1999 through 2008, with few exceptions, Purdue Libraries secured funding to meet cost increases of eight to ten percent for information resources charged by publishers and database vendors. For the 2009 fiscal year, the Libraries received a two percent base budget increase (approximately $200,000) on the nearly $10.5 million information resources budget. The University administration also provided $500,000 in one-time funds, non-recurring in the base budget. This additional funding allowed the Libraries to pay the continuation bills for fiscal year 2009, conservatively estimated to be $735,000 (seven percent of $10.5 million). For fiscal year 2010, the University again allocated $500,000 recurring to the Libraries' base budget to offset projected inflationary costs.

    In 1999–2000, Purdue Libraries were ranked 77th by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). After a revision of the ARL ranking criteria — to reflect a movement away from size of collections to expenditures in support of information resources, collections, and services — Purdue Libraries moved to 42nd place for 2005–2006, the greatest upward move of any library in the ARL rankings. In 2007–2008, Libraries ranked 48th.

    Purdue has increased the number of librarians over the past several years to meet changing roles in the University, as Libraries faculty have been increasingly called to serve as collaborators, to teach information literacy, and, in research, to collaborate with disciplinary faculty by applying the principles of library science to the management of scientific and technical data. To meet these needs, the Libraries faculty lines were increased from 38 to 52 in 2008–2009.

    Several library facilities have been upgraded and added since 1999, including the 2002 renovation of the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Library and the 2009 completion of the new Archives and Special Collections Research Center. The Consumer and Family Sciences Library and the Psychological Science Library were closed in 2007, with those collections, services, and staff incorporated into other campus libraries. A phased renovation of the Management and Economics Library began in 2008; planned renovations will transform the John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library into a "learning commons"; and long-term plans include a new learning and research collaboration center that will bring together most science and engineering libraries.

  4. Concern: The relationship between the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the University and the recognition in both principle and practice by the former of the authorized autonomy of the University and the authority of its Board of Trustees for the administration of its programs and in its continuing and active fulfillment of its distinct role as the land grant university of the state.

    Response: This concern recognizes the inherent potential for different perspectives between an oversight body and the institutions under their purview. Purdue likewise acknowledges the authority granted to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) by Indiana's state legislature, and the need for the University and ICHE to reach consensus on collaborative solutions to the state's higher education issues [10].

    One of the more high profile issues Purdue and ICHE have faced in recent years is University tuition and fee rates. Statutes adopted over the last five years call for public hearings on proposed tuition and fee rate increases within specific timeframes after enactment of the state budget bill. State statute also requires ICHE to recommend nonbinding tuition and mandatory fee increase targets after budget enactment. This additional oversight comes as a result of growing concern over the rising cost of higher education, and can be beneficial to the institutions under ICHE's guidance.

    In 2008, ICHE developed a series of planning documents, Reaching Higher: Strategic Directions for Indiana, crafted with input from public and private higher education institutions, which calls for a postsecondary education system that is accessible, affordable, results-oriented, and responsive to the state's workforce and economic development needs [11]. Purdue University supports the vision and goals outlined in the Reaching Higher plan. The University will continue to work with ICHE and the state's leaders to develop strategies to be among the top public research universities in the country.

  5. Concern: The capacity to create a more unified computing and networking environment that supports collaboration and communication for instruction, research, and administration across the University.

    Response: Since its inception, ITaP has focused on partnerships between central IT and the University's distributed IT groups to develop the IT strategic plan and to launch numerous collaborative projects, including:

    • providing wireless network access in 95 percent of campus buildings with Purdue Air Link (PAL);
    • re-engineering the data network to provide redundancy and gigabit connectivity between campus buildings;
    • providing researchers large quantity computing cycles from nearly 20,000 computers at Purdue-West Lafayette, Purdue Calumet, and Notre Dame, linked together using the open-source application, Condor;
    • expansion of high performance computing through community computing clusters, such as the newest Steele cluster, that are comprised of nodes purchased in partnership with diverse research groups on campus;
    • purchase of a SiCortex supercomputer to generate computing cycles while using very little power and generating little heat;
    • Purdue's participation, with 10 other research institutions, in TeraGrid, the National Science Foundation's distributed cyberinfrastructure for open scientific research; and
    • participation in I-Light2 and the Northwest Indiana Computational Grid — collaborative efforts between Purdue University, Indiana University, and other Indiana state agencies — to expand the state's digital capability and bring high-speed connectivity to all parts of the state.
  6. Concern: The capacity to provide rapid retrieval of institutional data and information, such as student demographic and performance data to effectively inform decisions in the programs of continuous quality improvement.

    Response: The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) was created in 2001 to address the need for a central source for maintaining timely and accurate data. Reporting through the Office of the President, OIR provides information on a myriad of topics by working closely with key contacts across the University. Data are provided from the strategic plan metrics and a variety of publications such as the Data Digest, the Board of Trustees' governance reports, and the president's forums.

  7. Concern: The lack of policies and procedures to assure coordination of solicitations of potential major donors, and the lack of an adequate level of involvement of the Office of Development in decisions related to the hiring of new professional, private fund-raisers in the schools and other institutional units.

    Response: In July 2002, all University development was centralized under a new senior vice president for advancement, a position with responsibility for all hiring and termination of development officers. A new policy on the solicitation of gifts was adopted in September 2002 (and revised in 2008) that assures coordinated gift solicitation [12]. The University continues to make improvements in policies, procedures, and organizational structure. In 2009, it was determined that the vice president for development would report to a new position, senior vice president for external relations, which will provide coordinated leadership for development, marketing and media, public radio, and government relations. The organizational chart for University advancement and a collection of current policies will be included in the resource room for the site visit.

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Organization and Conduct of Self-Study

Formal preparations for the self-study process began early in fall 2007, with the provost's appointment of Christine Ladisch, vice provost for academic affairs, and Mark Pagano, dean of Continuing Education and Conferences, to coordinate the self-study process and co-chair the accreditation visit steering committee. The steering committee consisted of 13 individuals, including representatives from each of the appointed criterion committees, a University Senate representative, a student services representative, a communications specialist, administrative support, and the two co-chairs.

Five individual criterion committees of 10–12 faculty, staff, and student members were appointed by the provost to address the five criteria. A sixth group was assembled to focus specifically on the special emphasis topic and, with each of the individual criterion committees, to integrate the special emphasis work within the five criteria. An accreditation liaison was identified by each University college/school and major business unit to assist with data gathering and communication. A list of the committee members and liaisons is available on the reaccreditation Web site [13]. Finally, a self-study document committee was assembled and assigned with the actual production of the self-study documentation, both hard copy and electronic. These committees were approved by the president and formally appointed in December 2007.

At the January 2008 kick-off meeting, each of the committees was charged with completing their assignment for the self-study. The work effort was divided into two major tasks. In the first, retrospective task, the teams reviewed and reported on the University's progress relative to each of the five criteria since the 1999 NCA visit. This task was accomplished primarily during spring 2008. The second major task was to look ahead and report on how the University can continue to meet the criteria and accomplish the initiatives outlined in the special emphasis topic. This task was carried out primarily during the fall 2008 semester, with updates added throughout 2009. Others were recruited from across the campus, as needed, to assist with particular areas of the self-study.

While the working committees were engaged in the early part of the campus self-study, an awareness campaign informed the rest of the campus about the reaccreditation effort. The two project co-chairs prepared a detailed presentation of the overall accreditation process which they took "on the road" across campus to first inform and later update the campus community on what to expect in terms of the self-study process and approaching team visit. Presentations were made to the Board of Trustees, the President's Cabinet, the Provost's Council of Academic Officers, Business Services leadership, the Administrative and Professional Staff Advisory Committee, the Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee, the University Senate, and any college or department that requested a visit. The presentation was revised throughout the self-study process to be current with the activity going on at the time of the presentation. Many of the groups had multiple presentations given during the 28-month window encompassing the preparations and visit. The Steering Committee also charged a subcommittee on communications to schedule, prepare, and publish appropriate articles and announcements across all relevant University publication sources. These announcements were designed to keep the campus community updated with current self-study progress. A Web site, launched in early spring 2008, was initially used by the various self-study committees for posting minutes, sharing drafts, and linking to the NCA/HLC site and other University accreditation sites [14]. Later in the process, the accreditation site was used to share the developing draft self-study report with the larger campus audience. Various individuals and constituency groups were directed to the site and invited to comment on the self-study report, and these comments were incorporated when appropriate.

Near the end of the process, the accreditation Web site was transformed into a virtual resource room, where visiting team members and NCA/HLC staff members can find the completed self-study report in its entirety, along with all of the electronic documents referenced in the text. Additional hard copy resources were collected during the self-study project and will be available to the visiting team in the resource room.

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Special Emphasis: Synergies across the Disciplines

Identifying Purdue University's Special Emphasis

Soon after the 2007 arrival of Dr. France Córdova as Purdue's eleventh president, planning began for the development of a new strategic plan. Dr. Córdova first completed a "listening and learning phase," which included extensive conversations with faculty, staff, students, and alumni; community members and leaders; residents throughout the state of Indiana; legislators; and the Purdue Board of Trustees. Topics that surfaced in these conversations became the starting point for developing an integrated strategic planning project, engaging a wide-ranging cross-section of constituencies.

"Tiger teams" of faculty, staff, and students were formed and assigned to the eight major themes identified by the president's listening and learning tour, which included: quality of life in the workplace, the student experience, synergies across the disciplines, and economic development. As the teams worked on strategies to address these themes, they continually sought participation from stakeholders by such means as open forums, one of which was dedicated exclusively to student feedback, and a strategic planning Web site and blog for input and conversation.

In late February 2008, the tiger teams produced "white paper" reports. The strategic planning steering committee drafted a strategic plan based upon the findings and recommendations in these white papers, and in accordance with the mission and values of the University. As the final version of the campus strategic plan came together, the synergies white paper and other synergistic threads throughout the other seven areas of the plan evolved as the overarching theme.

The draft plan was again shared broadly for feedback and the final version, entitled Purdue University Strategic Plan 2008–2014: New Synergies, was approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2008.

One of the individual themes within the strategic plan — "Synergies Across the Disciplines" — was simultaneously selected to serve as the special emphasis area for the HLC/NCA accreditation self-study. Like many institutions of Purdue's size and stature, fields of study often exist as "silos" in isolation from each other and from other areas of strength in the University. The synergies theme will explore the potential for shared programs and curricula across the campus, particularly interdisciplinary opportunities between science and engineering and the social sciences and liberal arts.

Just as work groups were formed to focus on each of the five basic criteria for accreditation, a group of students, faculty, and staff was identified to document synergistic activities, and plans for future synergies, occurring across the campus, and to draft the synergies special emphasis chapter for this self-study. In hindsight, the selection of the "Synergies across the Disciplines" special emphasis for the 2010 accreditation self-study theme proved to be an excellent choice, as this topic now pervades the entire campus focus over the next period of its history.

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Issues to be Addressed in the Self-Study: Challenges and Opportunities

From its survey of work on campus, the synergies team concluded that considerable interdisciplinary activity is already occurring at the University. The challenge for the future is to remove institutional barriers to collaboration, and enable scholars and researchers whose work may be complementary to identify each other and collaborate. Moreover, a key mission of the University is to prepare the next generation of informed citizens for an increasingly interdisciplinary world. Only by doing so can Purdue hope to maintain preeminence. Given this background, the following issues are being addressed and progress is being reported in this special emphasis self-study:

  • What can Purdue do to foster wider interactions across the disciplines? The University strategic plan suggests the establishment of a "synergies council" to oversee this effort. Is such a council or a similar group, the best approach and, if so, how can it be implemented effectively?
  • Much of the synergistic work mentioned above involves research. How can these efforts be used to enhance the undergraduate experience?
  • Currently, Purdue has neither a unified core curriculum nor a common curricular experience. Should the University explore the development of a common core experience involving synergistic work or studies for all undergraduates? Would the development of a common core experience for undergraduates necessitate or be aided by the formation of a University-level curriculum committee?
  • How can we build upon our strengths in scientific research and expertise in public policy? Would the creation of an organization — for example, a global public policy institute — offer the potential of productive interaction among our scientists and policy analysts?
  • Collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarly endeavors do not clearly fit the traditional mold of discipline-based and department-centered standards for promotion and tenure. Are changes in the current promotion and tenure system needed, and if so, how might they be identified and achieved?

The general idea of synergies across the disciplines touches on many of the core accreditation criteria of the Higher Learning Commission. Progress on the synergies special emphasis will be reported when appropriate in the chapters on student learning; the acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge; engagement and service; and on preparing the University for the future. In addition, a separate chapter is included at the end of the self-study to report specifically on progress on the issues identified above, and outline future directions and possible concerns with continued progress.

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Request for Continued Accreditation

Accreditation ensures that academic institutions and programs meet established standards of educational quality. Purdue University has been accredited continually since 1913. As part of the accreditation process, each 10 years Purdue has the opportunity to assess its programs and operations prior to review by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

This self-study report has been compiled in preparation for the Commission's consultant-evaluator team visit to Purdue's West Lafayette campus, March 22–24, 2010. The report represents two years of study, analysis, and reporting by more than 80 accreditation committee members, with the involvement and contributions of administrators, faculty, students, and staff throughout the University.

As evidenced by this report, Purdue has benefitted from addressing concerns raised and recommendations advanced by the Commission's comprehensive evaluation, in November, 1999, part of the University's most recent institutional accreditation review. The University has, since the last accreditation review, adopted a strategic planning process that has likewise provided invaluable direction and impetus in its pursuit of excellence. Through an overview of the University and examples of its activities over the self-study period, this report indicates Purdue's successful fulfillment of the criteria for accreditation.

With the submission of this institutional self-study report, Purdue University formally requests continued accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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References

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[11]Reaching Higher—Strategic Initiatives for Higher Education in Indiana.
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[12]University Policies, Advancement, Solicitation of Gifts (IX.5.1). Purdue University.
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[13]Purdue Accreditation, Committees. Purdue University.
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