2/7/20 Board of Trustees, Trever Col

Michael Berghoff, chair of the Board of Trustees, expresses appreciation for students attending the meeting, where a posthumous degree was awarded to Trever Col. The senior in mechanical engineering died in a rappeling accident in November. 

Here are the main takeaways from the Board of Trustees meeting Friday morning.

Honoring a fallen friend

Students held back tears as they crowded seats in Stewart Center to recognize their friend who passed last year.

Trever Col, a former senior in College of Engineering, was awarded a posthumous degree by the Board of Trustees Friday.

Described as “outgoing,” “stubborn” and the “most humble person I’ve ever met” by his friends, there was no question Col made a strong impression on campus.

“He’s the kind of person that no matter what he was doing, if you needed him or you even just wanted him to help with whatever, he’d be there,” said Josh Woodard, a senior in the Krannert School of Management and a roommate of Col’s.

Col experienced equipment failure on a Purdue Outing club expedition to Valhalla Cave in Arizona.

Reporting on civic literacy requirement

The civic literacy working group presented a report which recommended several options to fulfill a civics-literacy requirement. These included a test, online modules, civics-related events or relevant course work.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels proposed the idea last year and was very satisfied with the work produced by the group.

“You have a country that governs itself, where the people really rule — that assumes and implies people at least have a fundamental understanding of the value of freedom and and the responsibilities,” Daniels said. “I said at the beginning, we don't want this to be a burden on students. (It’s) hopefully something that's very simple and straightforward to achieve.”

The information will be sent to the education-policy committee for review. Cheryl Cooky, University Senate chair, said a vote by the senate would keep the project on track to start for the incoming class of 2021.

Civic-literacy programming will be optional for current students and will be grandfathered in. If implemented, the civic-literacy requirement would include both domestic and international students.

Staying relevant in the face of teacher shortage

Nancy Marchand-Martella, the dean of the College of Education, painted a picture of the state of the teaching profession and discussed initiatives aimed at increasing teacher recruitment and retention.

“If you talk with districts around the state of Indiana, you will find that 91% or more are saying, ''Please send us teachers,'” Marchand-Martella said.

The teacher-preparation programs are planned to move toward a full-year student teaching experience in the fall of 2021, which would replace the current model of semester-long student teaching. The goal is to help prepare teachers for the classroom through experiential learning.

Marchand-Martella said the college is looking into ways to compensate students for their student-teaching placement through University stipends, school-district payment or donations.

“The amazing aspect about this is that they'll be able to take a full salary and split it four ways,” Marchand-Martella said. “No one else is doing it. Well, we have districts who are interested in partnering because of the teacher shortage, that we're able to add more teachers into the field.”

The college is restructuring its programs to emphasize more special education and virtual instruction coursework to adapt to the new education landscape. Elementary teachers will leave with dual licensure in special education after the programs are revamped.

“Everybody's thinking creatively,” Marchand-Martella said, “how to make sure that students don't stay here for a fifth year, that they do it in four years.”

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