Provost Newsletter May 2018

A Message from Jay

Provost Jay

Dear Colleagues,

With commencement just around the corner and my own “freshman year” as provost and chief diversity officer coming to a close, I’m writing to thank you for a very successful and productive academic year. (Though we are wrapping up the spring semester, I know that most of you don’t slow down in any way during the summer months ....)

This is the time of year when you can spot the Think Summer bus making its rounds and find our students sporting their Think Summer T-shirts. Students who enroll during Purdue summers participate in study abroad or internship programs, conduct undergraduate research, or take courses to shorten their time to degree. Based on recent data, it looks like our students agree that enrolling during the summer months is a good use of their time.

Summer enrollment has increased overall (online and on-campus) nearly 40 percent from 2012 to 2017. Study Abroad also reports a healthy 40 percent increase since the 2011-12 academic year — by the time they graduate, more than a quarter of our students have had at least one study abroad experience. And more of our undergraduates are involved in research thanks in large part to the newly opened Office of Undergraduate Research. The office, led by Amy Childress, provides a great central source for our students, faculty and staff to match student research interests with research opportunities year-round.

Like you, the Provost’s Office will be busy during the summer months. We hope to announce new deans for the College of Education, College of Agriculture, and Graduate School over the next few weeks. Among other projects, we will be working on developing plans for how we enhance our support of great teaching and high-impact learning and how we can better promote undergraduate professional skill development. These plans will be informed by the 10 focus group sessions conducted this spring by Frank Dooley, senior vice provost for teaching and learning; Sheila Hurt, program director for the Boiler Success Team; and me. 

Another area I’m excited about is the Integrative Data Science Initiative. I appreciate the great input we’ve received from faculty, staff and students and the leadership of Sunil Prabhalkar, professor and head of the computer science department and director of the IDSI; Patrick Wolfe, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science and chair of the IDSI steering committee; Jenna Rickus, associate vice provost for teaching and learning; and Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, Discovery Park’s chief scientist and executive director. The request for data science research proposals this spring generated 52 proposals from 172 Purdue faculty from 48 departments in 10 colleges. The proposals selected for funding will be announced soon.

Work on the data science education front is advancing as well. Already, we are including a data science module in the Summer Start and Early Start coursework for this year. In addition, we will pilot the Data Mine, a cross-campus collection of data science learning communities that will be housed in Hillenbrand Hall. The pilot will include 100 students and, assuming the pilot goes well, we will expand the Data Mine to the entire residence hall (800 students) in fall 2019.  These initiatives and others will put us on the path to becoming THE place to go for a diverse talent pool of data scientists and data-competent students. 

Projections indicate that we are also on our way to another record year with respect to our fall 2018 entering class. As President Daniels announced last week, we anticipate approximately 8,300 incoming undergraduate students this fall, including the largest number of Indiana residents in a decade. A number of investments will be made in the short run (academic advisors, TAs, visiting faculty, etc.) to help ensure we continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for all of our students. Longer term, two new residence halls, an expansion of the Wiley Dining Court, and the new STEM Teaching Lab facility, among other investments, will provide important capacity. I know that you all will continue to work to help these new students – and all members of our Purdue community – feel welcome on our campus, have a positive experience, and ultimately achieve their highest aspirations.

Over the past academic year, I have seen excellence firsthand in the meetings, conferences, ceremonies, events, and roundtables I have been privileged to attend as well as in the conversations I have had with our faculty, staff, and students. I can’t thank you enough for the opportunities you have given me and the patience you have displayed — I am confident I have learned more than I have imparted. Amid all the teaching, research, and engagement activities that will be taking place on our beautiful campus (and around the world!), I look forward to seeing many of you this summer as we lay the foundation for a very successful 2018-19 academic year. 

Hail Purdue!


May 2018


Across Campus

Across Campus

Faculty, staff can help student veterans, service members

During the Q&A following the Presidential Lecture Series featuring former Sen. Bob Kerrey this semester, a student serviceman stood to voice frustration with serving his country at the same time he attempts to earn his college degree. He was to deploy during the semester — before classes ended — and not all faculty members seemed to understand what to do in such situations.

Cases like his are what Purdue's Green Zone Training is meant to address. Faculty and staff who attend these two-hour workshops can learn how to address these and other challenges that face service members and veterans.

The term "Green Zone" is taken from an area in Baghdad that has been considered relatively safe. The goal of the training at Purdue is to better understand the unique attributes of military-connected students and create an awareness of resources available.

Jamie Richards, director of Purdue’s Veterans Success Center, says the challenges start the moment these students think about applying to Purdue.

"When they first inquire, they may not even identify themselves as veterans or service members — perhaps they are even still serving someplace like Afghanistan — so that needs to be among questions enrollment staff are prepared to ask when students apply," he said. "Have you served in the military? The answer will let the staff member know that the same process a typical applicant follows likely won't work for this potential student."

Each step presents wrinkles. There are nuances with residency and military transcripts and veteran’s benefits are very prescriptive. Those still serving have special obligations that are challenging.

For example, those in the Reserves or National Guard normally train one weekend each month, but occasionally have a longer three- or four-day weekend that prevents them from attending some classes. Faculty members need to know that there is a policy in place to support these students. When certified with the Office of the Dean of Students, military members can have 15 days of excused absence per academic year.

As for the concerns of the frustrated student who was about to deploy, if it's early in the semester, the University would refund his or her tuition and the classes will be removed from the transcript. If the semester is well along, as in this case, the faculty may give the student credit for the class and the current grade the student had earned to that point in the semester.

Personal challenges

Beyond the logistics, some challenges are personal.

In the classroom, student military personnel or veterans may present in ways puzzling to faculty. For example, harking back to their military experience, they may want to control their environment and choose to sit in the back of the class where they can always monitor what is happening. Their own life experience may not connect with what is being taught, and they may challenge the instructor. Given that many of them are older students, they may expect more respect for their insights.

"We hope faculty would accept that these students aren't being argumentative but instead bring real-world experience to the table," Richards said. "Ideally they would try to leverage that experience to help both the student and the class."

Some may have experienced mental or physical trauma that makes it difficult to absorb information quickly or concentrate for long periods. Faculty and staff who spot this could refer them to the Office of the Dean of Students or Disability Resource Center. 

“The faculty or staff member might be the first to notice that a student is struggling,” Richards said. “Talking to the student and listening can play an important role to help the student succeed.” Partnering with the ODOS, the DSC, or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can go a long way to support the student.

The Veterans Success Center has conducted about 30 Green Zone Training sessions in the past five years, reaching about 550 staff, students and faculty. The schedule for the summer and fall sessions is here.

"We've done a pretty good job of reaching our counseling and advising staff with the training, but we like to see more faculty and other staff taking part," Richards said.

Meanwhile, the center is reaching out to the students in several ways. One of the newest is called PAVE, which stands for Peer Advisors for Veterans. This peer-to-peer program connects incoming veterans and service members with someone already on campus who has already walked in their shoes and can help them navigate their first year.

The other is a pilot program called Education to Occupation. In partnership with the Center for Career Opportunities at Purdue, the new program hones interview and career search skills and connects the students with potential employers. 

More about the Green Zone training and demographics is available at here

May 2018

In case you missed it: Topics on Inclusion

The Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence hosted three events this spring called Conversations about Inclusion. A short summary for each follows along with a link to online video. The topics were:

  • Faculty Workloads and Rewards.
  • The Role of Religion in Inclusion.
  • Everyday Practices that Can Foster Inclusion.

Faculty Workloads and Rewards panel

View video here.

Sharon Bird, professor and head of sociology at Oklahoma State University, discussed her work comparing ADVANCE institutional efforts for organizational equity at two universities. Both institutions developed institutional transformation projects at the department level to facilitate equity and address faculty retention. Though the two universities adopted similar approaches, they differed in that one emphasized training on implicit biases and gendered organizations and was more open-ended in its efforts, while the other emphasized developing skills for democratic dialogues and required departments to develop and adhere to strategic plans for change. She then outlined the outcomes of both universities' approaches and their implications for developing best practices.

Based on her National Science Foundation project, KerryAnn O’Meara, professor of higher education at the University of Maryland, College Park, discussed her work on gender differences in faculty workloads at research universities. She explored whether women are more likely to be asked to do service and other "non-promotable activities." She emphasized how department conditions and practices can either facilitate or reduce workload inequality. O’Meara is also the director of the university's ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence, an affiliate faculty in women’s studies and associate dean for faculty affairs and graduate studies. She is the principal investigator of the NSF-funded ADVANCE-IHI-PLAN, Faculty Workload and Rewards Project (2015-2020).

Role of Religion in Inclusion

View video here.

The four Purdue panelists were Gulcin Con, graduate student in sociology; Carolyn Johnson, director, Diversity Resource Office; Ashley Purpura, assistant professor, interdisciplinary studies; and Renee Thomas, director, Black Cultural Center. Panelists reinforced the need to challenge monolithic notions of people who practice different religions including those who are religiously unaffiliated. Given how religion plays a role in people’s daily lives, including people who are not religious but may enjoy cultural celebrations associated with certain religions, panelists provided suggestions about how we can be inclusive without being intrusive about people’s religious beliefs.

Everyday Practices that Foster Inclusion

View video here.

The four Purdue panelists were Jean Beaman, assistant professor, sociology; Angela Goldenstein, managing director, Mechanical Engineering Research Center; Rhonda Phillips, dean, Purdue Honors College; and Rachel Scarlett, graduate student; Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Discussion highlighted racialized and gendered experiences of underrepresented groups on campus and in the community. Panelists emphasized the role of allies in fostering inclusion. Discussions also included the challenges and suggestions for creating sustainable initiatives at Purdue that can foster inclusion in everyday practices.

For more information about the center and its programs, contact Mangala Subramaniam, chair and director of the Butler Center, at In September the Butler Center will host the ninth annual Conference for Pre-Tenured Women. Details regarding the registration and fellowship application will be provided in July at

May 2018

Transform Purdue Update

New finance system in new fiscal year to smooth processes

Less than two months remain until the General Ledger (Finance) transformation start date on July 1.

Why should you care? This change supports our world-class pillars of research, teaching and learning, and engagement. It gives our administrative foundation a long-overdue makeover to bring it up to par with our academic status. Our “administrative house” is striving to be state of the art by transforming its financial structures (accounts, funds, budget) and providing new levels of transparency. At the same time, everyone will benefit from much-needed paper elimination and simplified processes.

If you examine the current manual routing processes for budgeting and other financial transactions across campus, you would likely have a stack of paper taller than the Bell Tower. As a result of General Ledger transformation, Purdue will have effectively eliminated 600,000 pages of paper routed around campus each year. Additionally, we will eliminate more than 400,000 approvals and pre-audits that add little value to transactions but slow processing times for things such as purchase orders, vendor payments and travel reimbursements. As an example, before implementation we have had more than 282,000 fiscal approvals annually for Ariba and purchasing card transactions under $1,000. Now, there will be no more chasing approvals for small items.

In September we will have the architecture in place to create faculty portfolios that include all faculty accounts, not just sponsored accounts. Many unnecessary accounts that make it difficult to know where to charge purchases and salaries will have been eliminated. (The Transform Purdue team actually found accounts to track the cost of pizza parties!) Your business office representative will be trained to help you understand the new account structure and provide assistance.

Faculty Dashboard

Some questions have come in about the new Faculty Dashboard. Some answers follow:

With the changes that accompany the General Ledger Transformation, will my delegate continue to be allowed to look at financial accounts (contracts and grants) or are these administrative tasks assigned to faculty?

  • There will be no change in the person(s) you can give permission to to access your financial information such as contracts and grants.

What is the timing for the upcoming dashboards (faculty and department head)?

  • The first priority is to develop and update the standard financial statements, including those in the faculty Account Information Management System (AIMS).
  • Second, a new faculty dashboard is expected to launch in September.
  • The department head dashboard will be developed/launched after the faculty dashboard.

What is the training plan?

Training will be handled at the department level, where the business office will provide support and guidance. Training tools will include:

  • Quick Reference Guides (QRGs).
  • Online videos.
  • Optional Showcase presentations.

Reviews are in: New summer pay gets 2 thumbs up

A new summer pay application known as SEEMLESS - Summer Employment and Effort Management Leading Efficiency through a Simple Solution application - has replaced the manually driven summer calendars. The new app to record and track summer pay was “soft launched” a few weeks ago to help you track your time on a calendar. The SEEMLESS web resource and quick reference, along with frequently asked questions, offer guidance for the new application. The business office will continue to provide assistance this summer as it has in the past, but feedback tells us that this tool is very simple to use.

“I am very impressed with the new online SEEMLESS application for summer pay,” said Brittany Vestal, assistant director of financial affairs, College of Pharmacy. It’s extremely easy to use and provides transparency for our faculty to view and modify their summer working schedules online. It also provides transparency for them to view their total compensation by pay period. All the information is easily accessible to them in one application. Eliminating the paper-based process will drastically reduce rework and errors.”

Faculty members agree. Karen Hudmon, professor of pharmacy practice, gives the new SEEMLESS application two thumbs up.

“The application interface is highly intuitive, although I found it helpful to review the Quick Reference Guide and watch the brief (seven-minute) online tutorial," she said. "This was time well spent, and it enabled me to quickly master the nuances of the various reporting features. As a faculty member, you can use SEEMLESS to proactively specify the days during the summer that you will dedicate to teaching versus research (or other activities) as well as indicate your effort allocation across various grants or other funding sources. From my perspective, this tool is long overdue at Purdue. It’s quick, it’s easy and it will streamline and increase accuracy of reporting processes, reduce paper and enhance efficiency.”

This fall Purdue also will be well on its way with final preparations for the Human Capital Management (HCM) project implementation, which is set to go live on after Jan. 1. This will include the new job family structure, recruiting and onboarding, and time and leave tracking. Additionally, personal activity report (PAR) will be processed through an application very similar to the SEEMLESS summer pay applications. 

May 2018

Focus on Faculty

Across Campus

Scholarship of Engagement on road to tenure and promotion

Surveys show that faculty are well aware of the scholarship of discovery, followed by the scholarship of learning, but many are a bit puzzled about the third leg of the promotion and tenure stool — the scholarship of engagement.

Steve Abel, associate provost for engagement, says help is at hand. The Office of the Provost is offering campus-wide workshops and a two-semester professional development program.

Twelve assistant or associate professors this summer will be selected systemwide for the Scholarship of Engagement Fellows Program, which begins in the fall and offers three two-hour workshops, one-on-one mentorship and lots of group feedback. It comes with a $1,500 grant that fellows can use to work on a project of their choosing. This is the fourth year for the fellows program, which boasts 22 graduates, and feedback from past participants has been "staggeringly positive," Abel says. 

The numbers tell part of the story. In the three years before the fellows program, 17 faculty members were promoted and/or tenured on the basis of scholarship of engagement. Since that time, there have been 53.

"This is an exciting change," Abel says, "and we're glad our participants have contributed to it."

The scholarship of engagement is a relatively new term, but with a long history.

Rod Williams, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources, is a program graduate who now leads the fellows program with Abel. Williams says most faculty members understand what engagement is.

It's a two-way partnership with community, industry, government to address relevant, critical and emerging issues. Faculty members have the opportunity to bring their research and teaching interests to real-world problems. At the same time, insight gained from stakeholders is brought back to the classroom and supports research.

On the other hand, he says, many faculty have a too narrow view of what "scholarship" means in this context. "They think in terms only of peer-review. They need to broaden that definition."

Finally, the scholarship of engagement must demonstrate measurable impact.

"This can happen at multiple levels," Williams says, such as adoption of new practices, changes in attitude or behavior, new legislation passed, applications created, pilot projects completed, and patents and licenses obtained that are innovative or break new ground.

Applications to take part in Fellows program are available at

Applications are due by April 19, and recipients will be chosen in early May. The program will begin in August.

Those interested, however, can start now by reviewing an example of the scholarship of engagement. Here is the report on the engagement activity Williams conducted:

EXAMPLE: The Nature of Service Learning

There is an increased emphasis on courses that build strong interdisciplinary and communication skills as students prepare to enter the job market. In response to these needs, Dr. Williams, Forestry and Natural Resources, has developed an innovative undergraduate service-learning course (The Nature of Service Learning) that provides students with an opportunity to develop and implement environmental education and extension programs, while simultaneously providing an invaluable service to the community.

The course consists of three modules. The first module focuses on strategies to develop environmental education programs. In the second module, students use information from the first module to develop their own environmental education programs and practice program delivery in preparation for the third module.

During the final module of the course, students deliver the newly developed educational materials to K-5 youth within a small group setting. University students work with three classes consisting of 75 elementary youth for an hour a week over an eight-week period.

Dr. Williams works with students to publish their work and make it available online to teachers and schools across the country via the Nature of Teaching website.

The course has been taught three times, and to date 18 undergraduates have co-authored six peer-reviewed extension publications. These six publications have been downloaded more than 49,000 times (collectively) since being published by undergraduates. Students in this class have engaged more than 2,750 elementary students, 200 members of their families, and 2,100 people within the general public with 80 natural resource extension programs and five workshops.

Teaching and Learning

Across Campus

Teaching and Learning text goes here.
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