First and foremost, I hope that this letter finds you and your family safe and well. What a challenging and unpredictable year it has been for OFE, Purdue, the nation, and the world. My heart goes out to all of you who have had stress, struggles, and loss. I feel very fortunate to be part of the community here at Purdue. I’ve been extremely proud of the efforts made by faculty, staff, administration and especially students in protecting Purdue and allowing us to continue to educate bright minds to use their intellect and compassion to make the world a better place.
We in OFE feel for the students who have been unable to visit colleges but ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ Universities have been forced to rely on virtual content which is improving the quality of information for students online. It cannot replicate standing in the middle of the Engineering Mall watching students lounge in their hammocks or discuss how they’re going to finish their Thermodynamics homework. However, there is a tremendous amount of interactive dynamic information available now that will help students better evaluate schools before ever stepping on campus.
This past Spring, we had roughly two weeks to flip all in-person engineering visits to a virtual platform. I’m extremely proud of how our staff worked together to continue to seamlessly provide access to the information families needed to make their college choice. Fortunately, we had been doing virtual broadcasts for a while so had some experience and tools up our sleeves as we tried to figure it all out. From supervising and coordinating current students virtually to offering online engineering programs and instant web chat, we were able to contribute to bringing in one of the largest engineering classes in Purdue’s history. We had 2,455 new beginners for summer and fall with summer starts being up 150%. Given the uncertainty of this year’s recruiting cycle, this is an incredible feat and a testament to all at Purdue who recruit students as well as the entire Purdue community who make this such an excellent place to live and learn.
As the current recruitment cycle will continue to be anything but ordinary, we strive to improve our online offerings and communications to better serve families who are unable to visit. With the growing necessity of marketing and communications, we made some changes to increase support across programs in Engineering. We are fortunate to have a breadth of skill sets within our office, and Aurie Swartz, Assistant Director of the Office of Future Engineers, has graciously transitioned into focusing on marketing and communications. Heather Coar, Assistant Director of Communications, who has been a key contributor to OFE these past 6 years, will focus her talents exclusively on supporting the Minority Engineering Program and the Women in Engineering Program. I want to thank Heather for her creativity and diligence in messaging the voice of OFE and, especially crucial this year, for transitioning our website to a new template which made information more accessible to families at a time they needed it most.
It takes the entire community to attract and enroll students in the best of times but certainly I’ve been inspired by how we’ve all come together in this challenging recruitment cycle. We are truly grateful to all of our remarkable partners including all of the Professional Schools and Programs, Office of Admissions, College of Engineering, our alumni around the world, and so many more.
Thanks so much for perusing our annual report. Please let me know if you have any questions, feedback, suggestions, or collaborations you would like to discuss.
Director of the Office of Future Engineers
Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach