A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke
When Purdue's Board of Trustees met on the West Lafayette campus, September 23-24, the members spent many hours reviewing and discussing the university's 2005-2007 legislative budget proposal.
The request approved by the board for submission to the state is the leanest operating budget request in the collective memory of anyone at Purdue. Although the total amount being requested is a $25.3 million increase for 2005-06 systemwide, only half of that increase is for basic operations such as salaries and benefits, utilities and supplies. The rest proposes funds for a new initiative for economic development and support of new facilities, as well as the money designated earlier by state formulas for enrollment increases and research initiatives.
Recognizing the state's difficult fiscal position, Purdue's first priority will always be to protect the quality of the academic programs that serve our students. We also believe it is important to strengthen the university's ability to support Indiana's economic growth.
A key portion of the budget proposal is a request for $3 million to support Purdue's new Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The center, which I have discussed previously in this monthly letter, will serve as the focal point for Purdue's manufacturing research efforts, as well as its efforts to assist state businesses, including traditional manufacturing leaders and startup companies.
The Advanced Manufacturing Center will:
Provide an infrastructure to facilitate the relationships among fundamental research, technology transfer efforts and startup companies.
Support existing companies around the state that require significant applied product research help or product and process improvement.
Attract additional manufacturing companies to Indiana, increasing the number of jobs available in the field.
Bring emerging technologies to Indiana and foster the creation of new technologies.
These manufacturing efforts are for the benefit of the entire state, which remains the most manufacturing-intensive state in the nation. These initiatives will help elevate the largest sector of Indiana's economy to a position as a leader in the global marketplace.
Beyond the 3 percent increase in basic operating funds and support for the manufacturing initiative, Purdue is not asking for any additional funding except that called for in the funding formulas state lawmakers established earlier to help cover costs of expanding enrollment at the statewide campuses and Purdue research. Purdue's West Lafayette campus has capped its enrollment for several years and receives no increases in enrollment funds.
The state formula calls for Purdue to receive $4.7 million to cover research for the 2005-2006 academic year. This state funding would be used, in part, to upgrade the university's research infrastructure and attract new faculty to Purdue. Last year, by leveraging state funding for research-related efforts, Purdue was able to attract more than $72 million in external funding to Discovery Park research projects alone. This is a great return on the state's investment.
The first priority in Purdue's capital budget request is restoration of the funding formula for repair and rehabilitation of facilities. Over the last four years, Purdue has received about $2 million from the state for this key function. Under the state's longstanding formula, an investment of $60 million should have been made over that period. Purdue has more than 400 buildings on more than 18,000 acres at its four campuses and numerous agricultural and research properties throughout the state. This is a capital investment that exceeds $4 billion. We cannot allow a resource of this value to deteriorate, but if we continue to defer maintenance on these facilities, we will do damage from which we will never recover. We have to find a solution to this problem.
Two of Purdue's most outstanding programs received national recognition in recent days. The Wall Street Journal, in its annual rankings of MBA programs, named the Krannert School of Management the top program in the country among those whose students are recruited primarily to their own region of the country. The ranking, which is based on the evaluations of the firms that hire our students, validates an important truth: that our top students will live and work in Indiana if jobs that suit their skill are available.
The second national honor came when the Association of University Research Parks named the Purdue Research Park the outstanding park in the country. This award recognizes a thriving enterprise that now is home to more than 70 technology-based companies and has been a hub of new business development.
Great things are happening at Purdue, and there is more to come!
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