A Message from Jay

Dear Colleagues,

I hope things are going well for all of you as we count down the final weeks of the semester.  My thanks in advance for all you will do to ensure we end the semester on a high note ... I’ve been using this space to write about what I believe are the pillars of a 21st century land-grant university: excellence and innovation; access and success; affordability; and a climate of inclusion and respect.

Now that we have launched Purdue Global, this seems like an appropriate time to talk about access. Through our new online public university, we’re making a Purdue education accessible to working adults who are unable to take time out of their busy lives to enroll full-time at a residential campus. I was thrilled to see that as of April 13, more than 675 of our own staff are considering enrolling, and I’m especially pleased that we are making Purdue Global degree programs available to Purdue employees at no charge.

Frank Dooley, senior vice provost for teaching and learning, tells me that many faculty members have expressed an interest in working with Purdue Global and learning more about its online capabilities. I appreciate your interest, and I’m sure there will be opportunities to collaborate. To that end, we will be hosting listening sessions co-sponsored with the University Senate to respond to questions, collect ideas, and further discuss Purdue Global.  Please watch for these listening sessions to be announced in Purdue Today.

Access and success for underrepresented minorities has been an important topic in many of the events I’ve attended over the past month. I’m often asked what the Provost’s Office is doing and can do to improve enrollment and retention of URM students and toward recruiting and retention of a more diverse faculty and staff. Many of you are engaged in these recruiting and retention/success efforts (the list of initiatives across the campus is a long one) and we have made progress in many areas.  That said, these remain important questions and we’ll be recruiting a vice provost for diversity and inclusion to help us find the answers and better integrate our efforts across the campus. You’ll hear more on our search plans soon.

In a 2017 report issued by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education (President Daniels served on the commission), the authors suggest, “The knowledge and skills that are required to help every American make sense of and thrive in a future society … will be even more diverse, technological, and complicated than the present. The pressures on our colleges are particularly acute.” This comes as no surprise; we have stayed close to these changes for some time and there have been many initiatives launched to better align our undergraduate program with this evolving future. What we haven’t done is create a road map to help us assimilate these new challenges and opportunities into our plans for Purdue’s undergraduate program in order to position our program for continued success. 

Frank Dooley and I, in partnership with the Boiler Success Team, are conducting a listening campaign where we’re exploring with faculty, staff and students what undergraduate teaching and learning should look like at Purdue as we look to the future. We’re meeting with small groups of people who have similar roles across colleges and departments. Your answers are helping us think about how best to meet the needs of our undergraduate students (and our faculty and staff) in the years ahead, and we very much appreciate your insights and input. We plan on synthesizing, over the summer, what we have heard, and we’ll be back with you with some draft ideas/next steps in the fall.

Although we need to plan for the future, we don’t ever want to overlook the extraordinary work going on today. I had the tremendous honor of presenting our list of newly promoted faculty to the Board of Trustees on April 6. The list had 119 names including 99 faculty from the West Lafayette campus, 6 faculty from IPFW, 6 faculty from the IUPUI campus, and 8 faculty from Purdue Northwest. I know you will all join me in congratulating them on their well-deserved promotions.

After about five months in this role without the ‘interim’ title, literally every time I attend an event, see a presentation or sit down for a one-on-one chat, I learn something new. And everywhere I go on this campus, I see outstanding work being produced by our faculty, staff and students. You all have so many reasons to be proud. I know I am. Again, I wish you all the best as you wrap up the Spring 2018 semester.


April 2018  

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