A Message from Jay
As we move toward the end of our semester and our year, we will celebrate a number of holidays, each in our own tradition, from a variety of cultures and faiths that lift up community and family, and the expression of gratitude. One of the things I am most grateful for is to be a member of the community we call Purdue. We are a very large community, more than 60,000 strong. We are a community focused on making a difference — helping prepare students for a world in flux, engaging with our many stakeholders, and solving some of our society’s most challenging problems. We are a caring community — I could create list after list of the ways Boilermakers give back to those in need, literally around the globe. We are a community that has never been more diverse, and our diversity makes us a stronger Purdue, a better Purdue.
I am grateful for all of you in our Purdue community who are working so hard to help us be a more diverse place, a more inclusive place. Your efforts are making a difference in so many ways: staff leading a summer program to better prepare students for Purdue; volunteer BGR team leaders welcoming our international students; a success coach working with a first-generation student in Purdue Promise; our cultural centers, Disability Resource Center, Veterans Success Center, and Butler Center; those of you leading our faculty hiring workshops; the diversity directors in our colleges; faculty members teaching courses supporting multicultural understanding ... frankly I could go on and on and on, but I hope all of you, mentioned or not, know these efforts are deeply appreciated.
This fall, under the leadership of John Gates, vice provost for diversity and inclusion, more than 500 faculty, staff and students convened for Maximizing Student Potential, an initiative launched to remove barriers to student success, close attainment gaps, and ensure that every student we admit graduates — and graduates with a positive experience at Purdue. We also launched Steps to Leaps, led by Beth McCuskey, vice provost for student life, and Jenna Rickus, associate vice provost for teaching and learning. Intimately related to Maximizing Student Potential, this initiative is focused on supporting the well-being of our students, helping them build strong networks and developing their abilities to manage adversity and to be resilient. We have now launched two Polytechnic High Schools; a third is coming. Students in our first high school are now juniors, and we are working hard to bring as many of these students as possible to Purdue. Again, there are other new initiatives I could highlight.
While I am so very proud and appreciative of this important work, we need to do more. There are members of our community whose sense of belonging has been shaken, who don’t feel respected, who don’t feel heard. We have more work to do as a campus to ensure that every member of this community feels a part of it, feels valued, believes this is their Purdue.
Vice Provost Gates and I, along with other colleagues, will be spending time over the next few months listening to you, our Purdue community, to better understand what we are doing that is working or not working, where we need to focus our efforts, and what we can do better. While we have so much going on to build a more inclusive Purdue, in the best of the Boilermaker tradition, we know we can — and should — take our efforts in this most important area, One Brick Higher.
As we move toward final exams and winter commencement, I am grateful for each of you and all you do, and will do, to help us be the extraordinary, caring Purdue community we want to be — a community that promotes and supports integrity, respect, honor, inclusion, innovation, and growth … for each and every Boilermaker.
All the best,