A meeting of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees convened at 10:31 a.m. on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, in Room 326 of Stewart Center on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Everyone in the room was wearing a mask amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

All committee members were present: JoAnn Brouillette, chair; Vanessa Castagna (virtually); Malcolm DeKryger (virtually); Mark Gee; and Professor Steve Beaudoin (ex-officio).

Officers and administrators in attendance were: Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity; Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board; Gary Bertoline, senior vice president for Purdue Online and Learning Innovation; Cherise Hall, vice provost for finance and strategic initiatives; Beth McCuskey, vice provost for student life; Jenna Rickus, vice provost for teaching and learning; Marion Underwood, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences; and Kris Wong Davis, vice provost for enrollment management.


Trustee Brouillette reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on October 1, 2021, the Board approved a posthumous faculty promotion, which, she noted, was consistent with the Board’s practice to approve posthumous degrees for students. She said General Counsel Steve Schultz had since recommended that the Board formalize the practice of approving posthumous faculty promotions by adding them to the official list of positions ratified by the Board, which already included faculty promotions as a group. In response to a question from Professor Beaudoin, Provost Akridge explained that the process by which an out of cycle faculty member would be nominated would be much like the typical promotion and tenure process.

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend full Board approval to add posthumous faculty promotions to the list of positions ratified by the Board. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.


Trustee Brouillette welcomed Dr. Gary Bertoline and thanked him for assuming leadership of Purdue Online. She expressed her belief that he was the right person to lead the effort, and Provost Akridge reminded the Committee that Purdue Online had been moved under the Office of the Provost in order to better integrate online learning with the academic units. Dr. Bertoline then updated the Committee on the progress of the Purdue Online initiative. He began by illustrating how Purdue Online was organized and expressed his belief that Purdue Online was about empowering the colleges and faculty. He then discussed five areas of focus – operations and student experience, education initiatives and marketing, strategic initiatives, business partnerships and communication, and teaching and learning technologies. Dr. Bertoline informed the Committee that the growth in online learning had been strong, with 115 new courses created in the last year, which, he said, indicated that the faculty was beginning to embrace online instruction. In response to a question from Trustee Castagna, Dr. Bertoline discussed how Purdue compared to other Big Ten universities in this area and said Purdue’s brand made its program more recognizable.

Dr. Bertoline also discussed the difference between Purdue Online and Purdue Global, saying Online was more about selective offerings while Global was more about accessible offerings, and Online was a complement to West Lafayette face-to-face instruction (especially graduate programs) while Global only offered fully online programs of study. He provided examples of credit and non-credit course offerings currently in the Online launch pipeline.

Dr. Bertoline continued that, looking ahead, Purdue Online would need to build a long-term marketing plan because competition was growing. He reviewed the mission of Purdue Online and said being best in class meant reinventing the online learning experience. Trustee DeKryger asked how the faculty perceived Purdue Online, to which Professor Beaudoin responded that faculty members were concerned about what would happen to their course content, but, he said, if the university was sensitive to that, faculty members would be much more amenable to developing courses. He said faculty members were not resistant but they did want to understand the parameters. Dr. Bertoline concluded that Purdue Online had been well-received, in part because of the faculty’s experience with having to move courses online during the pandemic.

In response to questions from Trustee Brouillette, Provost Akridge discussed graduate offerings that might be offered on campus and Dr. Bertoline shared what he thought Purdue Online would look like in five years, which, he said, included a focus on workforce education. To conclude, Dr. Bertoline said the answer to lifelong education was Purdue Online. Trustee Castagna commented that Purdue will be educating students for jobs that have yet to be created, and she praised Dr. Bertoline for his “best in class” vision. A copy of Dr. Bertoline’s presentation was filed with the minutes.


Provost Akridge informed the Committee that the Transformative Education 2.0 initiative was a comprehensive effort that was touching literally everything related to undergraduate programs. He turned the discussion over to Ms. Hall, who shared that the Office of the Provost had made a number of presentations to deans, department heads, and college leadership teams to present the initiative, with the presentations having been well-received. She reviewed the goal of the initiative – to make Purdue University the most innovative residential learning program in the US among large research universities – and she illustrated five projects within the initiative and their timelines: Innovation Hub; Experiential Education; Degree Planning and Auditing; Student Data and Reporting; and Student Communication and Engagement. Ms. Hall said they were working to understand where the university was currently with each to better plan for outcomes. She discussed the student experience today with regard to student data technology and communication challenges with students, and she said related policies and processes would affect both.

Dr. Wong Davis then walked the Committee through an example of a student’s current experience with their degree plan and illustrated how it could be improved for the future. Provost Akridge stated that student degree plan data was important for anticipating classroom space and instructor needs. With regard to communication, Dr. Wong Davis also explained that, currently, students can receive up to 250 emails from the time they are admitted through the beginning of the semester. Therefore, she said, other avenues and best practices would be evaluated to determine how to communicate with students in a way that best serves them. She added it would need to be a campus-wide, coordinated effort for data-driven and purposeful communication.

Dr. Rickus then discussed the Innovation College, the concept for which, she said, came from the campus listening sessions that led to the roadmap for the Transformative Education initiative. She informed the Committee that the Innovation College was being funded by a $5 million Lilly Endowment grant. She shared the objectives that were written for securing the grant and said they had since been refined in order to implement them. Dr. Rickus pointed out that the Innovation College was not an academic college but rather a community of innovators, experts, and collaborators. She then discussed the objectives of the Innovation College. One objective was to include students, faculty, and staff in becoming the country’s most innovative residential program, with a big emphasis on the student learning experience and transdisciplinary programs. She outlined other objectives that would support the institutional goals of lowering barriers to effect fundamental change to make things easier and creating a mechanism to disseminate, scale, and adopt innovative teaching and learning models. Dr. Rickus further discussed four components of the Innovation College – the Innovation Council, Innovation Hub, Experiential Education, and Innovative Learning Team. She also highlighted the leadership for each component and reviewed next steps. A copy of the Transformative Education 2.0 presentation was filed with the minutes.

Trustee Castagna suggested that concrete examples of how the initiative had allowed the university to be different and innovative would help the Board better understand and support the initiative; Provost Akridge suggested a tour of the Envision Center as one example. Provost Akridge thanked the Board for making this major commitment to the undergraduate educational experience, for which, he said, there was much enthusiasm across campus. Trustee Brouillette recognized this initiative as one of Provost Akridge’s early goals.


Provost Akridge reminded the Committee that the administration had been looking for a way to make the academic calendar more flexible. He said that, after study of the previously proposed January Term, the idea was restructured into a new proposed Winter Flex term. Dr. Wong Davis then explained that feedback from students and faculty influenced the proposed Winter Flex term. She said it would be less of a shift in the academic calendar, only shifting the spring term back by one week to allow for four weeks between the fall and spring semesters. She continued that the Winter Flex term would be entirely optional for students and faculty and serve the needs of those who wanted to participate. She added that it would be non-residential, provide for student abroad opportunities or online coursework, and targeted to undergraduate students. Dean Underwood then informed the Committee that Purdue Student Government, Purdue Graduate Student Government, and the University Senate had collaborated on surveys and gathering feedback from students and faculty. She said moving from a 16-week semester to a 15-week semester would align with the university’s peers and make participation in the Winter Flex term much more possible. She concluded that the proposed Winter Flex term preserved everything that was exciting about the January Term proposal and said it was responsive to prior concerns. Dr. Wong Davis added that the Winter Flex term would initially launch during winter 2022-2023 with a robust study abroad approach, with the online offerings to launch during winter 2023-2024 to allow faculty time to prepare online courses. She noted that moving to a 15-week semester would not affect summer internships.

Trustee Castagna asked how many students and faculty were expected to participate in the Winter Flex term. Dr. Wong Davis said those numbers were not known at this time but surveys would provide that data. Provost Akridge responded that almost half of the group surveyed prior said they would be interested in the proposed January term. He expressed his belief that, with the right set of offerings, it would be well-received, especially by those who would be interested in study abroad. Dean Underwood agreed that the study abroad component would be attractive to many students, and she expressed her belief that, like summer term, it has a huge potential for growth.


By consent, the meeting adjourned at 11:42 a.m.


Following adjournment of the public meeting, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee met in executive session pursuant to the following notice electronically mailed to each member of the Committee by the Secretary on November 9, 2021:

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Purdue University Board of Trustees
will convene a public meeting on

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 | 10:30 a.m. EST
Stewart Center, Room 326

Upon adjournment, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee will reconvene in executive session in the same location for discussion of records classified as confidential by state or federal statute [IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(7)] and for discussion of the assessment of, or negotiation with, another entity concerning the establishment of a collaborative relationship or venture to advance the university’s research, engagement, or education mission [IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(15)].

Committee members may participate by means of electronic communication pursuant to Article III, Section 3 of the Bylaws and the Electronic Meeting Policy.

Executive sessions of the Board of Trustees and its committees are closed to the public.

Pursuant to IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(b), it is hereby certified that the Committee discussed no subject matter in the executive session other than the subjects set forth above and deferred formal action to the public session of the Board.