sealPurdue Letter from the President

November 2002

A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke

One year into the strategic plan that is focused on achieving preeminence for Purdue, the university has made significant strides toward fulfilling our goals to enhance learning, discovery and engagement.

The plan that was approved by the Board of Trustees in November 2001 has become the road map that guides every major decision at Purdue, and with each passing day, it becomes clearer that faculty, staff, students and alumni are embracing the plan. Because we began with an honest self-assessment, we have a clear idea of where the university stands in comparison to its peer institutions, and we know what we need to do to get better.

At the center of everything we do is academic quality. The freshman class we enrolled at West Lafayette this fall is the best academically prepared in our history. The average SAT score for incoming students this fall is 1,150 – up 16 points from last year and a remarkable 55 points from six years ago. The freshman class also includes 88 students who are National Merit Scholars.

We expect that academic quality – as measured by standardized tests, performance in the classroom and other accepted factors – will continue to improve, but Purdue remains committed to its land-grant obligation to help provide higher education opportunities for every qualified Indiana student. In addition to expanding enrollment at our regional campuses, we will strengthen our partnerships with the Community College of Indiana and other institutions in order to make sure that everyone in Indiana who wants to participate in higher education has the opportunity. There is not necessarily a place for every student at every institution, but the aggregate of our state-supported colleges and universities should give every Hoosier the chance for lifelong education.

Purdue's strategic plan calls for investment in seven key areas over a five-year period:

• Faculty growth. We will hire 300 new faculty to reduce reliance on teaching assistants and provide a richer learning environment.

• Expanded engagement. We are actively expanding engagement throughout Indiana.

• Diversity. We intend to increase diversity at all campuses.

• Scholarship and financial aid expansion. We intend to ensure that no student is denied the opportunity to attend Purdue solely because of need.

• Recruitment and retention of faculty and staff through competitive salaries.

• Modernization and expansion of our infrastructure. We plan to invest more than $750 million in this effort.

• Expanded research programs and facilities. Discovery Park – a $100 million multidisciplinary research initiative – is just the first example of this effort to meet technological needs in Indiana and the nation.

One of the keys to the strategic plan is the $1.3 billion Campaign for Purdue. This seven-year effort is the largest private fund-raising initiative in the history of Indiana higher education, and we already are almost halfway to the goal with about five years to go.

We still have a long way to go to achieve the goals we have set. Although Indiana's leaders clearly recognize the strategic importance of education, the current economic problems have made it very difficult for the state to provide the support that a first-rate higher education system needs. Purdue is determined to stay on its course of improvement and to be ready for even better things when the economy improves.

We are committed to one overall goal: The Purdue that will be serving the people of Indiana after five years of this strategic plan will be a better university in every respect.

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Congratulations are in order for one of Purdue's most respected faculty members. Leah Jamieson, Ransburg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named the Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement of Education.

An outstanding teacher and researcher, Leah also was one of the founders of Engineering Projects in Community Service, a service-learning initiative that has been adopted by at least 10 other universities. Leah is the seventh Purdue professor to receive this honor since 1987.

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As 2002 ends, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year!