President Daniels

With a Promise to deliver higher education at the highest proven value, Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. has put in motion an action plan designed to broaden Purdue’s global impact and enhance students’ educational opportunities.

After setting the stage for an era of change during his first semester as president, Daniels — with the Board of Trustees’ blessing and a Purdue community eager for game-changing progress — began the fall semester with the launch of “Purdue Moves,” a new agenda for Purdue priorities.

The Purdue plan for turning ideas into action comes at a pivotal time.

When Shakespeare wrote “Strong reasons make strong actions,” he wasn’t referring to higher education, of course. But a similar sense of need, urgency and extraordinary opportunity to set the University apart as counterexample to much of the criticism lodged against higher education in general was among the strong reasons that put the Purdue Moves initiatives in motion.

First, with a presentation before the University Senate on Sept. 9 and then later the same week in the first of three Presidential Forums on Sept. 12, Daniels began to introduce the initiatives to the University community and public with an array of panelists who are leading and activating the new priorities in their respective areas.

Taken together, Purdue Moves represents an aspirational manifesto for how Purdue, as the president says, “will fundamentally redefine the way higher education serves our students, state and nation.”

Purdue Moves is built around three broad categories and underscored with an ironclad commitment to affordability and accessibility for students and their families, a hallmark of the Daniels administration from its outset.

We are determined to increase our investment in areas that have the greatest potential for impact … higher education needs action.”

Mitch Daniels / President, Purdue University

Purdue’s action-oriented agenda for change will start by focusing on:

  • Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leadership
  • World-changing research
  • Transformative education

“We’ve spent a considerable amount of time deciding how to leverage Purdue’s historic strengths as we move forward,” Daniels said in unveiling the new priorities.

“This is no ordinary time for higher education, and we are determined to seize the opportunity to increase our investment in areas that have the greatest potential for impact,” the president said. “Higher education has to provide credible, compelling answers to legitimate concerns about the cost of college, the value of a bachelor’s degree and whether we are meeting the requirements of global and national competitiveness. That’s what Purdue Moves is all about.”

Student in the classroom

Underscoring all of Purdue’s initiatives is a commitment to fiscal responsibility and affordability while ensuring student growth and success, on campus and beyond. Photo by Paul Omara.

The initial blueprint for the Purdue Moves initiatives took shape after several months of campus-wide meetings that included deans, faculty, trustees and others at the University and input from the University’s core constituencies and stakeholders.

Beata Strubel

Scholarships, both merit- and need-based, are a top priority. Beata Strubel, a chemical engineering major and a Beering Scholarship recipient, thanks donors at the President’s Council Annual Dinner for investing in scholarships to help students fulfill their dreams. Photo by Dave Mason.

Thomas Spurgeon, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, said the trustees are supportive of the new initiatives. “When combined with the ongoing excellence across our campus, these new initiatives will place Purdue among the world’s greatest academic institutions and serve as a source of pride for our alumni, students and supporters.”

By the time of President’s Council Annual Weekend in October, with dean’s advisory council meetings, back-toclass sessions and meetings of alumni throughout the campus, there was a palpable buzz of excitement about the initiatives.

Daniels delivered a clear call-toaction in his President’s Council Annual Dinner remarks and in other presentations introducing Purdue Moves. The president made it clear that great ambitions require great investment and buy-in from all of Purdue’s many supporters.

“These are not my initiatives,” he said at the President’s Council dinner. “These actions must be all our initiatives, or there will be no steps forward at all.” And he added, “Your support, your confidence in what we can achieve, and your help in spreading the word about what we are doing at Purdue, will all be keys to our success.”

The president’s remarks echoed his earlier and ongoing calls for gathering and prudently managing resources for investments in Purdue’s top priorities. Purdue, he said, is challenging long-held assumptions about higher education, and by investing in disciplines with the greatest potential to change the world, Purdue will further its institutional leadership.

“Our collective efforts will ensure that our students grow, not just academically, but in ways that truly prepare them to effectively work and live in today’s world,” Daniels said. “Our research will deliver still greater benefits to our state and to all corners of the globe. And we will achieve this in a way that is fiscally responsible.”

Earlier this year, Purdue drew attention and acclaim when the Board of Trustees approved freezing West Lafayette tuition and most fees during the next two academic years along with a 5 percent cut in meal plans and a freeze in co-op fees for students in work study programs.

And so, an era of change and transformation is well underway. With a platform for progress in place, the first priorities encapsulated in Purdue Moves are rolling into action.