Shortly after arriving on campus during the summer of 2016, I began articulating three overarching principles to guide our efforts toward a more focused approach to academic excellence at Purdue Northwest:
- Innovation – Jointly we must commit to academic innovation through market-responsive undergraduate and graduate programming, campus internationalization, creativity in teaching, research and scholarship, and community engagement.
- Impact – As a mission-grounded and vision-driven institution with a growing reach beyond northwest Indiana, everything we do needs to support student success, faculty and staff development, and community impact.
- Improvement – We must institutionalize a culture of continuous improvement guided by strategic planning, systematic assessment, and data-driven decision making.
Accordingly, we reorganized the Office of Academic Affairs into three broad portfolios, namely academic programming, academic support and development, and institutional effectiveness. During
2016-2017, these areas were led on interim bases by William R. Law, Michael Lynn, and Rebecca House Stankowski. I am indebted to each of them for delivering frameworks for commencing new university-wide initiatives during the years ahead. In 2017-2018, I am looking forward to working with Lori S. Feldman, former associate dean in the College of Business, who accepted the position of associate vice chancellor for academic affairs in charge of academic support and development.
On the pages that follow, you will find specific examples of PNW’s commitment to innovation, impact, and improvement: We will expand collaborations with industries, public agencies, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations to introduce new career-focused academic programs; we will realize centers for student success, strategic partnerships, and faculty development and leadership; and we will implement platforms for the collection and on-demand visualization of institutional planning and assessment data.
As PNW’s inaugural year progressed, we collaborated with key divisions within the university to ensure a cohesive alignment of our next steps forward. For example, the academic affairs team partnered with the Faculty Senate to begin implementing new shared-governance structures and policies; with the Office of Finance and Administration to employ a new budgeting model; with the Office of Information Services to merge previously misaligned data management systems; with the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs to streamline admission processes for international and concurrent-enrollment students; and with the Office of Institutional Advancement to systematically engage college-level administrators in fundraising efforts.
The heart of PNW’s academic activities beats in our six colleges and their associated schools. During the 2016-2017 academic year, we successfully concluded four national searches for exceptional administrators: Elaine Carey (formerly of St. John’s University, NY) and Kenneth (Chris) Holford accepted our offers to lead the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences and the College of Engineering and Sciences, respectively. Anne Gregory (formerly of Northern Illinois University) and Dietmar Rempfer (formerly of the Illinois Institute of Technology) will administer our School of Education and Counseling and the School of Engineering, respectively.
In addition, I am appreciative of the dedication to PNW’s success by members of our founding year’s Deans’ Council: Ronald Corthell (Interim Dean, College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences), Chris Holford (Interim Dean, College of Engineering and Sciences), Lisa Hopp (Dean, College of Nursing), Niaz Latif (Dean, College of Technology), Jane Mutchler (Dean, College of Business), and John Rowan (Dean, Honors College). Their reflections on college-specific accomplishments during the 2016-2017 academic year are featured in this report.
It has been exciting to partake in Purdue University Northwest’s founding year. Members of the Office of Academic Affairs are inspired by Chancellor Thomas L. Keon’s vision for our new university and are gratified by the support from students, faculty and staff members, and community constituents for our evolving initiatives toward academic excellence. Please check the Office of Academic Affairs’ new website at pnw.edu/academic-affairs for continual updates on our efforts to innovate, impact, and improve.
With much gratitude, optimism and Pride,
Ralph O. Mueller
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost
Please visit the Office of Academic Affairs’ website for continual updates on our efforts to Innovate, Impact, and Improve.