Purdue's University Senate votes on medical amnesty; hears reports on health-care plan and core curriculum

September 13, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Senate on Monday (Sept. 12) endorsed a medical amnesty plan, outlined proposals for employee health care in 2012 and heard a report on the core curriculum development.

The amnesty program is called Purdue CARES, which stands for Purdue Community Alcohol-Related Emergency Situation program. It assures students they will not face university discipline if they seek medical assistance when they or someone they help is intoxicated. It is the product of yearlong research and advocacy by the former president of Purdue Student Government. The policy is similar to those of about 100 higher education institutions nationwide.

PurdueCARES complements Purdue's AlcoholEdu initiative, an online tutorial new this fall to educate incoming students and student leaders about the damaging effects of alcohol.

The policy is for the West Lafayette campus and states: "In cases of student intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning that occur on the West Lafayette campus, on the premises of a recognized student organization or at a function sponsored by a recognized student organization, the intoxicated student, as well as the student(s) seeking medical attention on the intoxicated student's behalf, will be exempt from disciplinary sanction related to alcohol consumption."

If evidence exists to suggest that Indiana laws or university regulations were violated, student organizations would not be not exempt from discipline, but the policy states that "the willingness of the members involved to seek medical assistance for a member or a guest will be viewed as a mitigating factor in determining a sanction for any violations of university regulations."

While the policy addresses university discipline, it does not remove liability under state law.

Melissa Exum, vice president for student affairs, said, "This policy reflects Purdue's intrinsic philosophy that health and safety must come first."

Luis Lewin, vice president for human resources, outlined the employee health-care proposal for 2012. It would create a tiered lab network, paying 100 percent for work done at specified labs; increase premiums, co-insurance and out-of-pocket expenses paid by employees; and implement a $250 tobacco user surcharge for 2012 and $500 for 2013.

Employees' costs would increase:

* 10 percent for the choice plan premium

* 15 percent for the incentive plan premium plus an increase in out-of-pocket maximums and co-insurance

* 30 percent for the co-pay plan premium and increases in out-of-pocket maximums and co-insurance.

The university plans to use Medco for prescription coverage for all plans, switch to Payflex for its flexible spending account vendor and continue to provide smoking cessation assistance.

Some of the long-term proposals, such as an onsite clinic, pharmacy and wellness center; onsite coaching; wellness programs; price transparency; and more consumer education and employee engagement were recommended by the Blue Ribbon Healthcare Committee of faculty and staff experts formed last year to study health-care delivery at Purdue.

Purdue projects a 9 percent increase in medical claims next year. This year Purdue expects to pay $120 million while participants pay $19.4 million, an 87/13 split on premiums.

The state of Indiana plan differs from Purdue's in that it does not offers its employees salary tiers, which allows those making less to pay less; coverage for part-time employees; coverage for same-sex domestic partners; and a wellness program. Indiana also provides only two coverage levels, while Purdue offers four: employee only, employee and spouse, employee and children, and family.

Looking ahead, Lewin said the university is conducting a feasibility study for an onsite medical clinic to provide basic primary care, urgent care, pharmacy, and health and wellness promotion.

The report from the University Senate's Core Curriculum Committee identified a timeline for action and introduced the learning outcomes the committee has indentified. The timeline calls for identifying the courses for the core curriculum by fall 2012 and for the core curriculum to be in place for fall 2013. The new curriculum is expected to make transferring courses among colleges easier, decreasing time to graduation and its related costs.

A core curriculum identifies learning outcomes students should achieve to graduate and identifies courses for students in any college or major that can be taken to meet that requirement. Proposed learning outcomes with the core curriculum include creative and critical thinking; ethical reasoning; cultural knowledge; citizenship and social responsibility; literacy with information, quantification, technology and computers; integrative learning, leadership; oral and written communication; and problem-solving, inquiry and analysis skills.

The report states the goal is to "to propose and develop a foundation for an undergraduate core curriculum that facilitates student learning and mobility across all colleges and schools and results in Purdue graduates who are not only highly skilled in their specific disciplines but also highly competent in the 21st century skills considered critical for success in our global world."

The vision identifies five points:

* Learning outcomes within the core curriculum are designed to prepare students for continuous learning and expertise within disciplines. Purdue's core curriculum will be one that is outcomes-based.

* Students will be able to satisfy the requirements of the core in multiple ways (e.g., co?curricular activities such as learning communities and a common reading program, service learning, course content requirements).

* Learning outcomes should not necessarily be tied to course credit. However, they must be tied to a course, and students must register and demonstrate how they meet outcomes (e.g., capstone project, e?portfolio).

* The core curriculum maintains high academic standards within the disciplines.

* The goal is to design mechanisms to permit flexibility for both academic programs and students.

The report also outlines several principles for moving forward, including faculty governance and mechanisms for faculty feedback.

Writer: Jeanne Norberg, 765-494-2084, jnorberg@purdue.edu

Sources:  Melissa Exum, 765-494-5446, exum@purdue.edu

                  L. Tony Hawkins, associate vice president for student affairs, 765-494-1233, lthawkins@purdue.edu

                  Jeffery Stefancic, associate dean of students, Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, 765-494-1250, jpstefan@purdue.edu

                  Danita Brown, dean of students, 765-494-1239, dmbrown@purdue.edu

                  Luis Lewin, 765-494-7395, luislewin@purdue.edu

                  Teresa Taber Doughty, chair, core curriculum committee