November 8, 2022

Purdue Provost announces he will step down in December, search committee formed

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University Provost Jay Akridge announced Tuesday (Nov. 8) his plan to step down at the end of December after serving more than five years as Purdue’s chief academic officer.

Akridge, the longest-serving provost in the Big Ten currently, has been Purdue’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity since July 2017, serving first as interim before being appointed to the role in November 2017. He will take a sabbatical and then return to his faculty appointment as a professor of agricultural economics.  

"Jay has been an outstanding provost, fully dedicated to the success of this institution and its faculty, staff and students," President Mitch Daniels said. "We are grateful for his loyal and excellent service in perhaps the most strenuous and taxing job on campus. I’ll especially remember his indispensable efforts through the pandemic and his leadership in our growth as a 21st-century land-grant institution. Jay has given Purdue more than 40 years of great service, and we look forward to many more."

President-elect Mung Chiang echoed Daniels’ praise. “Jay has been and will continue to be an extremely valued colleague at Purdue. I thank him deeply for his vital and outstanding contributions in so many ways to our university throughout the past four decades. We will have an event next month to formally recognize the impact of his service. With tremendous appreciation and respect for his leadership, I look forward to many successful future collaborations with him.”

Purdue University announced it will begin the process of selecting its next provost by launching an internal search first, effective immediately. A search committee, led by Byron Pipes, the John L. Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue since 2004, has been formed and will accept nominations and applications from within the Purdue system through Nov. 28. The search will be staffed by Amy Boyle, associate vice president of human resources. Nominations and applications, including a cover letter and resume, should be emailed to Boyle at aeboyle@purdue.edu. The search committee will communicate regular updates to faculty and students, including one later this week.

"It has been a rare privilege to serve as provost at Purdue, working with President Daniels and our board of trustees during one of the most dynamic periods in our university’s history," Akridge said.  "I have been humbled daily by the passion and commitment our faculty, staff and students bring to all they do. Our leadership team has never wavered in their focus on our land-grant mission, and they have my deepest thanks. That said, I am looking forward to reengaging in my faculty role and contributing in a different way to teaching and learning excellence at Purdue."

As provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, Akridge has been the chief academic officer for Purdue, responsible for the recruitment, hiring and review of deans and ensuring that the university’s functions of teaching and learning, faculty affairs, student life, enrollment management, diversity and inclusion, engagement, and strategic initiatives have been delivered with a focus on student success and the effective use of resources. He oversaw the strategic growth initiative, adding more than 7,000 undergraduates and 200 new faculty since 2017. Akridge led the development and ongoing implementation of the Purdue Next Moves initiatives Transformative Education 2.0 and the Equity Task Force, and played an integral role in leading Purdue through the COVID-19 pandemic. Other initiatives championed under his tenure as provost included WinterFlex, Steps to Leaps, the Data Mine, continued expansion of summer enrollment, restructuring institutional data management (IDA+A), expansion of Purdue Online degrees and credentials, and a number of student success initiatives leading to Purdue’s highest ever retention and graduation rates.

He previously served for more than eight years as the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, leading the college’s academic, research, Extension and international programs. He also served as interim vice provost for engagement at Purdue in 2007-08 and as interim dean of agriculture in 2008-09. Prior to moving into administration, Akridge was the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics and director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management program. He is the recipient of Purdue’s Charles Murphy Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching (1996), is listed in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers (2003) and was named a University Faculty Scholar in 2000. His research focused on strategic management of food and agribusiness firms and adoption of new technology by agribusiness 

President Daniels and President-Elect Chiang formed the search advisory committee, consisting of the following members:

  • Byron Pipes (chair), John L. Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering
  • Colleen Brady, professor of agricultural sciences education and communication, Senate chair
  • JoAnn Brouillette, trustee
  • Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy
  • Christine Ladisch, professor of public health, dean emerita of Health and Human Sciences
  • Philip Low, Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
  • John McConnell, Burton D. Morgan Distinguished Professor in the School of Business
  • Eric Munson, department head and Dane O. Kildsig Professor in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy
  • Richard Voyles, Daniel C. Lewis Professor in Purdue Polytechnic Institute
  • Isabelle Weber, class of 2023, vice president of Purdue Student Government
  • Melinda Zook, Germaine Seelye Oesterle Professor of History

Media contact: Tim Doty, doty@purdue.edu

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