June 16, 2017

Trustees approve Fort Wayne program, professorships, resolutions

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University trustees on Friday (June 16) approved a new bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the Fort Wayne campus, approved three distinguished and named professorships, and honored several university administrators and donors with resolutions of appreciation.

The biochemistry degree is designed to increase the number of graduates entering the health care and life science fields to bolster the regional economy. No other colleges in northeast Indiana offer the specific degree and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the field is expected to grow both nationally and in the state.

“As part of the University Strategic Alignment Process report issued in May 2016, there was a recommendation to invest in the proposed program,” said Deba Dutta, Purdue’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “This is a course of study that should be attractive to students at the Fort Wayne campus and certainly has broad implications for the life sciences sector of the economy.”

Of the state’s 24 largest medical device companies, 13 are located in northern or northeastern Indiana. The degree proposal must be approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Trustees also approved the appointment of Richard Kuhn as the Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor of Science, Susan Watts as the Emanuel T. Weiler Professor of Management, and Mung Chiang as the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and Roscoe H. George Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Kuhn is an international expert in the structure and assembly of viruses known to be human pathogens. His work in unraveling the structure of viruses has provided critical advances in vaccines and antiviral compounds. In March 2016 a research team led by Kuhn and Michael Rossmann, the Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, was the first to determine the structure of the Zika virus. Kuhn, who came to Purdue in 1991, also is director of the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biochemistry, as well as his doctoral degree, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Watts has published 25 refereed articles and has been named a University Faculty Scholar and Krannert Faculty Fellow. Her work focuses on how trade is organized on stock exchanges, price discovery, the role of social media on information dissemination and, more recently, on understanding voluntary disclosures made by firms and their corporate social responsibility activities, disclosures and assurance decisions. She is in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers, received a Murphy Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching, is a fellow of Purdue’s Teaching Academy and was named an outstanding professor by Purdue’s Sorority and Fraternity Life. She has received the Krannert Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, is a three-time recipient of Krannert’s Best Teacher Award, and has been a junior and senior honoree in Purdue’s Teaching for Tomorrow program. Watts, who came to Purdue in 1997, earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in accounting from the University of Iowa.

Chiang, who was announced as Purdue’s next dean of the College of Engineering on May 1, assumes his new duties July 1. He was Princeton University’s Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering and is a world-renowned researcher in the fields of optimization of networks, network utility maximization, smart data pricing, and fog computing and networking.

Trustees approved resolutions of appreciation for five administrators who are leaving their positions. Those honored (with links to their resolutions) are:

* Debashish “Deba” Dutta, who has served as Purdue’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity and a professor of mechanical engineering since 2014. He will leave Purdue on June 30 to become the chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

* Pamela Horne, vice provost for enrollment management, who is retiring from the university on June 30. She came to Purdue in 2006 as assistant vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions.

* Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who will step down from her deanship on June 30 after 11 years of service. Jamieson, who joined the Purdue faculty in 1976, will transition to full-time faculty duties in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

* Mark J.T. Smith, dean of Purdue's Graduate School since 2009, who will step down July 31 to join the University of Texas at Austin as dean of the Graduate School and senior vice provost for academic affairs. Smith came to Purdue in 2003 as head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

* Craig K. Svenssonwho has served as dean of the College of Pharmacy since 2006 and interim dean of the College of Science since 2016, will end his deanship July 1 to assume full-time faculty duties in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

The board approved a resolution of appreciation for friends of the university who have contributed $1 million or more to Purdue. Those honored are Bob and Ellie Shadley (faculty and student support in the School of Industrial Engineering), Jerry and Lynda Engelhardt (Lyles School of Civil Engineering), Jon Sommers (School of Mechanical Engineering), Jim and Linda Huff (student support in the College of Engineering), anonymous (student support in the College of Veterinary Medicine), Yoshimi Takeuchi (student support in the School of Mechanical Engineering), Art and Connie Euler (faculty support in Intercollegiate Athletics), and Maggie Griswold (student support in the School of Nursing).

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