Purdue challenges traditional teaching by changing the way classes are taught based on our research that identifies how today’s students learn best. Purdue has already redesigned 62 courses, focusing on fewer lectures, more group projects and incorporating online and in-class components to optimize faculty-student interaction. For instance, with access to personal electronics and shared information in the redesigned general chemistry course, students performed significantly better on the American Chemical Society national standardized exams. Other results indicate that students have higher perceived levels of engagement, confidence and competence in the redesigned courses which may correlate to higher grade point averages. Purdue aims to double the rate of class transformation within the next three years, and lead the nation’s universities in creating a new world of learning.
Although Purdue has one of the nation’s largest populations of international students, we have a very low percentage of students who study abroad. Given the cultural, professional and academic gains our students realize when they broaden their worldview with study abroad, we will dramatically increase the number of students engaging in an international study experience during their Purdue careers. In an increasingly global society this goal isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity if our students are to graduate with the cultural competencies needed to make the greatest possible difference in their communities, their countries and the world. We believe that it is only through immersive study abroad experiences that our students can fully understand issues from a world perspective, master a foreign language, and define their place in the international community.
Students who live on campus achieve greater academic success and graduation rates than do their off-campus peers. While many of our peer universities are pushing for more online learning, Purdue is paying close attention to the link between on-campus living and student achievement. We will increase our housing options so at least half of our students can live on campus. The new residence halls will bridge the gap between living and learning with classes taught within residence halls, faculty and advisor offices just steps away from students’ rooms, and study areas providing havens from the hustle of daily life. We will give every student the greatest possible chance to grow, graduate and launch himself or herself on a path to a fully productive life.
At one time, higher education was driven by the agrarian calendar. Today, students’ greatest need is to move quickly, flexibly and affordably in their academic careers. Purdue is focusing on year-round education, which provides students with greater flexibility to incorporate internships, study abroad and undergraduate research into their Purdue experience. Purdue increased 2013 summer enrollment by 11 percent, helping students to accelerate their time to degree completion and increase graduation rates. Not only will students benefit from focused and consistent learning, the campus and local economies will thrive with a year-round university.