Colleges and Universities and Purdue University and Education & Workforce Development

Job held by Purdue president's husband being cut

May 31, 2012

An administrative job at Purdue University held by the husband of the school's president will be eliminated as she leaves the university this summer.

Christian Foster's position as education outreach program director is among three jobs being cut at Purdue's Discovery Park research center as part of campuswide budget reductions, the center's director told the Journal & Courier for a story Thursday.

Foster is the only person to hold the position since it was created in 2007 shortly after France Cordova became Purdue's president. Cordova announced last year she would step down as president effective July 15. Her replacement hasn't yet been named.

Alan Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park, said it was cutting about $250,000, or 2 percent, from its spending by not filling the three vacant positions and reducing other expenses.

Foster, whose annual pay was $101,171 as of October, coordinated programs for pre-college students and teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education — also known as the STEM fields — that are linked to centers in Discovery Park.

Rebar said Foster's work was important for its outreach efforts to students with interest and aptitude for science and research, science teachers and education researchers.

"We hope to fill the K-12 STEM position in the future if we can find alternative funding," he said.

Cordova turns 65 in August and would have had to retire this year unless Purdue's Board of Trustees granted an extension from the mandatory retirement policy covering top university administrators.

Cordova was the chancellor of the University of California-Riverside before becoming president at Purdue, which has about 75,000 students at its West Lafayette and regional campuses.

Foster said the programs he oversaw helped students be ready for college.

"What these projects did for the campus is they moved forward the students we have here on campus in STEM programs and better prepared the students that are out there to come to Purdue," he said.

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