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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - September 2021

By Mary Jane Chew

A Q & A with 2021-22 chair of the University Senate, Steve Beaudoin

Steve Beaudoin, a professor of chemical engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering, is serving as the 2021-22 chair of the University Senate. Here, Beaudoin answers questions about his service with the Senate and goals for the year.

Q: How long, and in what positions, have you worked at Purdue?

A: I arrived at Purdue in 2003 as an associate professor in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, and am now a professor in the school.  I have served as associate head of chemical engineering, as a provost fellow and associate vice provost for teaching and learning, and as the academic director for Teaching and Learning Technology.  I also serve as the director of the Purdue Energetics Research Center (PERC).  Last year, I was chair-elect of the Senate, and this year, I am chair.

Q: Why did you decide to become involved in the University Senate?

A: I was originally elected by my peers in Chemical Engineering to serve as a Senator.  At the time I didn’t appreciate the importance of Senate service.  After serving for a number of years, I have come to appreciate the importance of the Senate as an advocate for the campus community, and this has caused me to remain engaged.

Q: What are the priorities for the Senate this academic year?

A: I shared with the Senate a list of my priorities at the first meeting this fall.  They can be found here. They include:

  1. Sexual assault prevention and support for survivors;
  2. Improving mental health awareness and services
  3. Improving the climate for diversity & equity on campus; and
  4. Partnering effectively with the administration. 

Issues that the administration has asked us to address include: 

  1. Identifying and supporting teaching excellence;
  2. Recommending actions for the successful implementation of J-term;
  3. Providing context for a discussion of grade inflation;
  4. Providing guidance for critical thinking skills assessments; and
  5. Improving our investment in our own healthcare and improving the process for selecting health insurance plans and providers.

Q: What are your own goals as the chair of the Senate?

A: It is my hope that we can establish ourselves as effective partners with the campus community and the administration, so that we can make substantial progress on the issues above.  If we can make a difference on campus, then more and more important opportunities will arise for us to continue to do so. 

Q: What would you like faculty and staff to know about the Senate?

A: The Senate is your vehicle for presenting ideas to the university community.  Everyone has a representative in their unit, and they should reach out to those representatives to provide input.  The list of Senators is here:  https://www.purdue.edu/senate/members/index.php

Q: How can faculty/staff get involved?

A: Run for office.  Engage your representative at the unit or College level.  Read the minutes of our meetings and provide your feedback.  Encourage your colleagues to do the same.  We need good ideas and motivated participants, so please step forward and help Purdue be a better place.