December 7, 2018

Trustees OK new unit for system-wide online education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees voted Friday (Dec. 7) to establish Purdue Online, a new organizational unit that will systematically develop a coordinated, unified system-wide portfolio of online course and degree offerings for students of all types.

 “The launch of Purdue University Global provided a transformational opportunity to re-examine at a fundamental level how Purdue delivers online education to all of its students, both residential and non-residential,” said Gerry McCartney, executive vice president for Purdue Online. “The creation of Purdue Online is a tremendous giant leap forward for the university in fulfilling our land-grant mission in the modern era.”

A first goal for the Purdue Online team, led by McCartney, will be establishing a “one-stop-shop” portal that matches learners of all types with programs across the Purdue system that best meet their needs — and points them to possibilities they may not have even considered — while at the same time addressing developing needs in the educational market through novel programs delivered at scale.

Although the initial focus of Purdue Online, which launches officially Jan. 1, will be on tailored graduate degrees and programs designed to fill employee development needs of corporate partners, additional fully online credit and non-credit courses and full degree programs serving all learners will be developed. The skills and experience of faculty and staff at all of Purdue’s campuses, particularly Purdue Global, will be tapped as new courses are developed and existing courses across the Purdue system are merged and streamlined where necessary.

Trustees officially added Online Learning to Purdue Moves, the university’s strategic plan, in June 2018, following a six-month in-depth review of the digital education marketplace and Purdue’s existing capabilities.  

“Purdue has the opportunity to be a leader — perhaps the leader — in making education more accessible, nimble and relevant for new types of learners and in facilitating lifelong learning,” McCartney said.

The existing Digital Education unit and the Teaching and Learning Technologies group within the Academic Computing Department of the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology will become part of Purdue Online by Jan. 31, as will staff currently dedicated to performing online education-related duties at the West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Northwest campuses. 

Source: Gerry McCartney,

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