sealPurdue News

January 29, 1999

Purdue restructures for lifelong learning,
teaching excellence

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue University has restructured to give increased emphasis to lifelong learning, excellence in instruction, and the effective use of technology, both in the classroom and for distance learning.

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Philip H. Swain
These efforts are now part of the new Office for Instructional Excellence and Lifelong Learning, Robert L. Ringel, executive vice president for academic affairs, said today (Friday, 1/29). The new office will be led by Philip H. Swain, who has been appointed assistant executive vice president for academic affairs.

Swain's new office will oversee the new Center for Lifelong Learning, the Center for Instructional Excellence and the Division of Instructional Services. They will encompass most of the functions provided by Purdue's former offices of continuing education, distance learning and instructional services.

The Center for Lifelong Learning will provide continuing education and distance learning and will be responsible for Purdue's educational outreach programs. Swain will be the director of this center.

The Center for Instructional Excellence will provide development and deployment of innovative approaches to teaching and learning, including those incorporating emerging technologies. James D. Lehman, professor of curriculum and instruction, is its interim director.

The Division of Instructional Services will support on-campus outreach programs through conferences and will collaborate with the Purdue University Computing Center, which is the new home of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center, a unit that was established in 1997 under the direction of John Campbell. The multimedia center provides enhanced technical support to faculty in the use of computers and telecommunications. Richard O. Forsythe, formerly the director of the Center for Instructional Services and Continuing Education, will direct the Division of Instructional Services. It also includes, among other areas, audio-visual, photographic, art, media production and broadcast services.

"The motivation for this restructuring is rooted in the dramatic changes taking place across the higher education landscape, especially those related to changing demographics and the impact of technology in academe," Swain said.

"The new organization will enhance Purdue's ability to address the needs of students of all ages and to support an increasingly technology-oriented work force for which lifelong learning is inescapable. It also will assist the faculty in the development and adoption of innovative uses of technology to make teaching and learning more effective and to make the considerable educational resources of Purdue more accessible to the citizens of our state and nation."

Ringel said Swain's administrative and research experiences with multidisciplinary programs, as well as his 24 years on the faculty, make him ideal to lead the university in providing improved services for outreach education and support to faculty and staff for both on-campus and off-campus instruction.

"Phil Swain has extensive experience with outreach learning activities and with programs to enhance classroom excellence," Ringel said. "He brings to this new organization a unique background in distance learning, continuing education and classroom teaching. I am pleased that he has agreed to take on these additional responsibilities."

Swain is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and most recently was the director of the Office of Distance Learning. From 1986 to 1997, Swain was director of continuing engineering education at Purdue. He also has served as chairman of the Working Group of the Indiana Partnership for Statewide Education.

John M. Steele, director of the computing center, said, "With the incorporation of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center into the computing center, there will be opportunity for enhanced implementation of faculty-developed technology into the classrooms and the computer laboratories on campus."

Ringel said: "Campbell has made major contributions in developing programs in the multimedia center that assist faculty in the use of instructional technologies. Affiliation of the multimedia center with the computing center will enhance support for faculty, staff and students in their daily use of information technology."

Sources: Robert L. Ringel, (765) 494-9709

Philip Swain, (765) 496-3103; e-mail,

Writer: Jeanne V. Norberg, (765) 494-2084; e-mail,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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