IBJNews

Daniels starts at Purdue with fact-finding tour

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has started his tenure as president of Purdue University with a fact-finding tour that students said impressed them with his willingness to engage them on changes he's considering for the university.

"He is very personable and makes a great effort to speak with as many students as he can," said sophomore Brian McGuire, an aeronautical engineering major from Indianapolis. "One of the most impressive things about him is that he is great with names. After having students tell him their names, he will continue to refer to people by name, which I think really shows that he is interested in the students."

Daniels took over last week as the university's 12th president and quickly got to work reviewing plans for a trimester system, administrative costs, campus diversity and college fundraising.

He also began a fact-finding tour that had him meeting with students, faculty and members of the University Senate. Wherever he went, his common refrain was to tell people to get in touch and make an offer to meet.

"I'm going to do every (request) I physically can," Daniels told the Journal and Courier of Lafayette.

"The mistake I don't want to make is to say 'yes' to so many things that come in the door that I don't have time for student interactions, faculty interactions and community interactions — and I'll be talking about West Lafayette and the big community," he added.

Daniels outlined some criticisms of the higher education community, many of them from nationally known conservatives, in a 3,000-word letter to students and staff last week.

"Purdue has a chance to set itself apart as a counterexample to much of the criticism lodged against higher ed in general," he wrote in the letter released Friday.

J. Paul Robinson, a professor and chairman of the University Senate, said so far Daniels has earned an "A+" for effort, but he said it remains to be seen how he'll be graded at semester's end. Robinson and other faculty leaders meet with Daniels on Thursday.

"I believe that the biggest problem he may have is differentiating what is fact and what is fiction, mainly because every interest group within the institution has tried very hard to get his attention to see things their way," Robinson wrote in an email Saturday in regard to the open letter. "This includes the faculty, of course, many of whom have made Purdue their lifelong academic family — and families plan for the long term, not the short term."

Daniels has already identified some areas where he will be pushing to overhaul the way Purdue works. The first is reviewing plans to take Purdue from a semester system to trimesters, something he supported when former Purdue president France Cordova first announced it. Since taking the job, however, Daniels said he has discovered the proposal had not yet been fully vetted and he wants more time to review it.

"The cake wasn't quite that well baked," he said last week.

Daniels also is looking at how Purdue can increase its minority enrollment from 13 percent to something closer to what other Big 10 conference schools have on average, about 21 percent of the student population.

He plans to look at ways to raise more money for the school — a prospect buttressed by the potential 30 percent bonus that could bring his annual salary to $546,000 if he meets performance requirements.

And, he'll be looking at where Purdue can save money, most likely on administrative costs. The number of non-faculty jobs has grown by 311 since 2007, to 2,171. At the same time, tenured and tenure-track faculty have hit their lowest point in close to a decade: 1,807.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • who cares
    All great - dont force Mitch stuff down our throats jsut yet - he only just started. Lets wait until his being there makes an impact one way or another till you start writing about him. Results

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Thank you to the scientists who care enough to find a cure. We are so lucky that their intelligence has brought them to these understandings because it is through these understandings that we have new hope. Certainly the medicine will be expensive, these drugs usually are, especially the ones that are not mass produced. If I know anything from the walks that my town has put on for FA it is this: people care and people want to help. Donations and financial support can and will come to those who need it. All we need is a cure, the money will come. I mean, look at what these scientists have done thanks to the generosity of donors. 30 million dollars brings us here where we can talk about a drug's existence! There is so much to be frustrated about in this world, but this scientific break is not one of them. I am so happy for this new found hope. Thank you so much to the scientists who have been slaving away to help my friends with FA. We wish you speedy success in the time to come!

  2. I love tiny neighborhood bars-- when I travel city to city for work, it's my preference to find them. However, too many still having smoking inside. So I'm limited to bars in the cities that have smoking bans. I travel to Kokomo often, and I can promise, I'll be one of those people who visit the ma and pa bars once they're smoke free!

  3. I believe the issue with keystone & 96th was due to running out of funds though there were other factors. I just hope that a similar situation does not befall ST RD 37 where only half of the overhaul gets built.

  4. It's so great to see a country founded on freedom uphold the freedom for all people to work and patronize a public venue without risking their health! People do not go to bars to smoke, they can take it outside.

  5. So, Hurko, mass transit has not proven itself in Indy so we should build incredibly expensive train lines? How would that fix the lack of demand? And as far as those double decker buses to bus people in from suburbs, we can't fill up a regular sized buses now and have had to cancel lines and greatly subsidize others. No need for double decker buses there.

ADVERTISEMENT