12/3/21 Board of Trustees

The board of trustees met Friday morning, its last meeting of the semester.

During the final board of trustees meeting of the semester the tuition freeze was extended another year, housing contracts and master leases were approved and a new doctoral degree was ratified at Purdue Northwest.

Housing, investment strategies

The trustees approved the 2022-23 housing rates and approved to maintain the tuition and fee freeze for West Lafayette.

“All college institutional debt increased 33%,” said Chris Ruhl, chief financial officer and treasurer, “while Purdue was down 14%.”

 The committee also recommended a $500 faculty and staff appreciation payment in 2022, with higher-wage earners among executive levels excluded from receiving the payment.

The board suggested and approved “a 4% merit” for faculty staff to be put into effect in the 2023 fiscal year. It also approved the continuation of the tuition and fee freeze for West Lafayette.

There will be “no increases to our room and board rates on campus (for) the tenth consecutive year” for 2022-23, Ruhl said.

He also said “reserving sufficient on-campus residence hall housing to accommodate the ‘22 incoming first-year class” was extremely important and the board approved additional housing through master leases like Aspire at Discovery Park and Fuse Apartments.

Next fall, many off-campus complexes are already at 90% capacity, he said.

“The reason we had to scramble on the housing front (this year) is because the flood came from the other 49 states,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said.

Rob Wynkoop, an associate vice president, said 400 total beds are available in Aspire and Purdue’s lease would last for 12-months lease. Fuse has 126 total beds for $1.5 million for a 12-month lease.

McCuskey said students leasing through these apartments would have 10 instead of 12 month leases, and the apartments would be run similar to university housing, including the availability of meal plans.

University Senate matters

Stephen Beaudoin, chair of the University Senate and professor of chemical engineering, spoke about the Nov. 15 University Senate meeting and said elements of the Purdue Student Government-led S.A.F.E.R initiative were endorsed.

“I had a set of priorities,” he said, “most of them were set aside to focus on sexual violence.”

Beaudoin referred to the issue as a “suspension bridge,” as a lot of the things are interconnected and more information is necessary to have more of an impact. He said that right now the trustees are “focusing around education, messaging, support and consequences.”

He also said he spoke with the Student Basic Needs Coalition last night, and the university senate has formed an ad-hoc committee to address the issue of sexual violence.

Vice Provost for Student Life Beth McCuskey said the focus moving forward is “communication and how we better enhance that.”

Titles, new doctoral degree

Several professors were ratified to certain titles and recognized by the Board of Trustees for achievements in their respective fields.

Haley Oliver, a professor of food science, was honored with the title of 150th Anniversary Professor in the College of Agriculture.

“(Oliver) led development of food safety, education and training and capacity building programs in Afghanistan and Nigeria, among others,” Provost Jay Akridge said.

Trustees expressed their excitement for Oliver during the ceremony.

“We’re so proud of the work that you’re doing,” Trustee Malcolm Dekryger said, “and the impact (it has) on students.”

Jeffrey Greeley was appointed as the Charles D. and Dancy G. Davidson Professor of Chemical Engineering. Greeley joined Purdue in 2013 and was promoted to a full professor position five years later, Trustee Jo Ann Broullette said.

Greeley said being a teacher and mentor was particularly enjoyable for him, calling it a bit “distressing” he was missing class to attend the board meeting.

Zoltan Nagy was also appointed as the Arvind Varma Professor of Chemical Engineering. Nagy was recruited to the school of Chemical Engineering in 2012.

“It’s a real honor and privilege to become the Arvind Varma Professor of Chemical Engineering,” Nagy said. “I want to second (Greeley) about the very special environment (at Purdue). I’ve been a proud Boilermaker for a decade now.”

Jerome Adams was recognized as the Distinguished Professor of Practice, Sabre Kais as the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and J. Paul Robinson as Distinguished Professor of Cytometry.

The trustees also approved a new doctor of technology degree at Purdue Northwest.

Akridge said the rationale for the new doctoral degree is due to industry demand and will be a residential degree targeting alumni in the Chicago and Northwest Indiana area.

‘Institutional reputation’

Daniels said during his report on Purdue’s institutional reputation that the university has attracted major corporate partners, such as Saab, and is one of the top three best online learning schools in the U.S. according to Newsweek.

He also shared multiple honors that Purdue had earned from various news organizations, including “Most Innovative School” from the U.S. News and World Report and “Best Value Education” from the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, in Indiana and the Big 10.

Daniels said the West Lafayette campus was also listed as the “Safest College Town” in the Big 10 and Indiana, and third in the nation, according to SafeWise.com.

Purdue’s YouTube Performance also surpassed competitors as Purdue University’s content grew over 10% and generated more views than other competitors such as Ohio State and Indiana University.

Dean Karen Plaut also gave a report on the College of Agriculture, which is reportedly ranked seventh in the U.S. Plaut added that about 10% of U.S. undergraduates in the college are underrepresented minorities, mostly Latinx, while Black enrollment in the college is at about one or two percent.

Within Plant Sciences, Plaut said 29 graduate students and 13 post-doctoral students have been hired.

Additionally, Max Brown has given a $10 million gift to Colleges of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Daniels said, and in recognition the Electrical Engineering building was approved to be renamed as the Max and Maileen Brown Family Hall.

The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4.

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