January 22, 2010

Dear Purdue colleagues,

These are tough economic times and we have a huge challenge in front of us, but I know we will emerge as a more resilient and productive university.

Even though Purdue is faced with a serious budget shortfall, we will continue to increase the quality of our academic programs, expand our culture of research and discovery, and improve the value of a Purdue degree. This is the foundation of our strategic plan, and our Trustees have empowered us to do this.

As we continue to look for efficiencies and increase productivity, we will try to mitigate the impact on our campus community, but we must be realistic. Sacrifices will need to be made by all of us.

As you know, we anticipated a downturn in State appropriations and began making adjustments as early as last year. These efforts have led to the development of solutions that will help us meet economic challenges while continuing to achieve the goals of our strategic plan.

We presented these solutions at an open forum yesterday (Jan. 21). The forum presentation is available at http://www.purdue.edu/sustaining/.

In the short term, we are asking all departments and units to assess their hiring plans. We have deferred all but critical renovation and rehabilitation projects. And we are asking for your support to help us reduce our energy consumption.

The Provost's Office will be conducting an academic review focusing on productivity in research and teaching. This will include new models for allocation of resources to ensure we're maintaining high levels of performance consistent with our strategic plan.

For the long term, Purdue is considering adjustments to compensation packages, operations improvements, and energy efficiencies. We also are assessing our information technology governance structure, energy conservation, and strategic sourcing.

These initiatives, once developed, will form the operating plan, which will be submitted to the Board of Trustees in April.

We will also seek alternative sources of revenue. For example, our sponsored-research funding has more than doubled in the past decade. Under the leadership of Richard Buckius, vice president for research, we have a plan to double our sponsored-research dollars again to $600 million by 2014. (Historically, $1 million of sponsored research represented the equivalent of six to ten jobs.) Purdue can become better and more efficient without having to dramatically downsize, but only if we increase our productivity. That’s everyone’s responsibility.

A broad cross-section of the Purdue community is providing input for these initiatives. One option included bringing in an outside consulting firm to assist with the budget assessment process.

With the help of your input and the talented team of people dedicated to this project, we have decided that we will not contract with an external consultant to assist with a comprehensive review at this time. Instead, we have assembled a task force of Purdue employees with specialized expertise to identify, assess, and implement initiatives with input from key people on campus.

The task force reports to my co-chairs for the Sustaining New Synergies effort, Al Diaz, executive vice president for business and finance, treasurer, and Randy Woodson, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. The steering committee, which was formed in November and includes faculty, staff and students, will continue serving as their advisory board.

You have my commitment that we will not make compromises that will affect the value of a Purdue degree or impede the successful completion of our strategic plan.

Thank you for your dedication, creativity, and support. Your work will help us achieve the goals of our great university.



France A. Córdova