A meeting of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees convened at 9:22 a.m. on Friday, December 4, 2020, on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. The meeting was held in Stewart Center, Room 214, to allow for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions were placed on the number of observers in the room, and other members of the media and the public who wished to observe the meeting virtually were provided such instructions. Everyone in the room was wearing a mask.
All committee members were present in person or, where specifically noted, by means of electronic communication pursuant to the Electronic Meeting Policy: JoAnn Brouillette, chair; Vanessa Castagna; Malcolm DeKryger; Noah Scott (virtually); and Professor Deborah Nichols (ex-officio). All other trustees were present: Sonny Beck; Michael Berghoff; Theresa Carter (virtually); Michael Klipsch; Gary Lehman; and Don Thompson (virtually).
Officers and administrators in attendance were: Mitch Daniels, president; Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity; Chris Ruhl, chief financial officer and treasurer; Jim Almond, senior vice president, assistant treasurer, and assistant secretary; Steve Schultz, general counsel; Trent Klingerman, deputy general counsel (virtually); Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board (virtually); Ron Elsenbaumer, chancellor of Purdue University Fort Wayne (virtually); and Tom Keon, chancellor of Purdue University Northwest (virtually).
I. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted unanimously to approve the minutes of its last meeting convened on October 2, 2020.
II. APPROVAL TO AWARD POSTHUMOUS DEGREE
Provost Akridge respectfully recommended approval to award a posthumous Bachelor of Arts in Biology to Abigail Sue Wood, who was a student in the Purdue School of Science on the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. He informed the Committee that Abigail had met the criteria for a posthumous degree by having completed 94% of her credit hour requirements at the time of her death on August 20, 2020. Provost Akridge shared that Abigail had hoped to do cell research, specifically in immunology, due to her own and her family’s history of autoimmune disease.
Trustee Brouillette said that, after reviewing Abigail’s transcript, letter of recommendation, and obituary, she believed Abigail to be a wonderful young woman with a beautiful soul. Trustee DeKryger offered his full support of the recommendation and said the only way to honor students like Abigail was to finish what they had almost finished themselves.
Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend full Board approval to award the posthumous degree to Ms. Wood. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.
III. APPROVAL TO APPOINT THE JACK. W. SCHREY PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY
Provost Akridge respectfully requested approval to appoint Dr. Michelle A. Drouin as the Jack W. Schrey Professor of Psychology at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He informed the Committee that Dr. Drouin was an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of intimate partner relationships and forensic psychology. He discussed her research, mentorship of undergraduate students, and professional service, including serving as a consultant and expert witness for state trials and military court martials, and he cited one of five letters received in support of Dr. Drouin’s appointment, the writer of which stated that Dr. Drouin was a gifted teacher and researcher.
Trustee Brouillette observed that Dr. Drouin had a clear passion for, and commitment to, student success. Trustee Carter remarked that, having served as a court martial convening authority in the Air Force, Dr. Drouin’s service as an expert witness spoke very highly of her reputation and expertise. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend full Board approval of Dr. Drouin’s appointment. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.
Dr. Drouin remarked that the named professorship was a great honor and said she was pleased that the Committee had recognized her passion for student success.
IV. APPROVAL TO APPOINT THE AVRUM AND JOYCE GRAY DIRECTOR OF THE BURTON D. MORGAN CENTER FOR ENTNREPRENUERSHIP
Provost Akridge respectfully requested approval to appoint Dr. Matthew D. Lynall as the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. He informed the Committee that Dr. Lynall worked with faculty and graduate researchers to translate their research into practice through commercialization, and he discussed how Dr. Lynall’s various roles at Purdue had prepared him for the directorship. Provost Akridge read a statement from Mr. Wade Lange, vice president and chief entrepreneurial officer for the Purdue Research Foundation, one of several key members of the Purdue community who supported Dr. Lynall’s appointment.
Trustee Brouillette said, given the administration’s emphasis on entrepreneurship and commercialization of all the great Purdue research underway, Dr. Lynall’s background and experience made him an ideal choice for the directorship. Dr. Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research and partnerships, said she was thrilled about Dr. Lynall’s appointment because his experience would serve the Center’s mission well. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend full Board approval of Dr. Lynall’s appointment. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.
Dr. Lynall expressed his appreciation for the honor.
V. APPROVAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY M.S. DEGREE IN SECONDARY STEM EDUCATION WITH INITIAL LICENSURE
Provost Akridge respectfully recommended approval of an online, interdisciplinary M.S. major in secondary STEM education with initial licensure, which would be housed under the broader M.S. in Graduate Studies degree program. He informed the Committee that the program would be funded for five years by an Indianapolis STEM Teacher Residency Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education, with coursework to meet the requirements of three program components that would allow students to complete the program in 18 months.
Professor Lynn Bryan from the College of Education, who received the grant, thanked the Committee for considering the degree proposal and explained how the grant would provide a stipend to the first 60 participants and allow them to complete the degree with less debt in order to meet the state’s STEM education needs. In response to a question from Trustee Brouillette, she said the program would be sustained beyond the grant term by continuing to offer the program using the structure developed with grant funds. In response to questions from Chairman Berghoff, Professor Bryan discussed the profile of grant recipients and how the grant funding would be applied, and she said graduates of the program would commit to teaching in the Indianapolis Public Schools system for three years. Trustee Brouillette observed the need for STEM teachers and asked if there would be enough participants. Professor Bryan indicated that the grant funding would attract participants, and she informed the Committee that the first cohort of students would begin the program in January 2021.
Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend full Board approval of the degree proposal. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.
VI. REPORT OF THE UNIVERSITY SENATE
Professor Deborah Nichols, chair of the University Senate, discussed the results of the fourth in a series of surveys regarding the university’s operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. She provided data which indicated that feelings of burnout had broadened and faculty believed their research productivity and quality had suffered during the pandemic. She said survey results regarding employees with caregiving responsibilities were mixed. Professor Nichols informed the Committee that the Senate had passed a resolution to commit to increasing representation of women in the Senate and maintaining a safe work environment, as well as a resolution to address the impact of the pandemic on faculty. A copy of Professor Nichols’ report presentation was filed with the minutes.
Trustee Brouillette thanked Professor Nichols for her leadership. She stated she and the Board were not surprised by the survey results and recognized that the pandemic had been challenging for faculty and staff. Trustee Lehman asked Professor Nichols what else the university could do to assist faculty and staff during the pandemic, to which she requested that resources continue to be provided. She said faculty and staff were grateful for their jobs and starting to express hope that things would get better. Trustee Brouillette asked Professor Nichols to convey the Board’s gratitude to faculty and staff for their efforts in keeping the university open during the pandemic.
By consent, the meeting adjourned at 10:03 a.m.