I. Intercampus Faculty Council
October 16, 2017
- Kaplan Acquisition: The general consensus was that faculty were concerned about the deal, but there are a large number of unknowns which make it difficult to obtain answers. Jerry Ross, University Registrar, commented that he did not believe Kaplan would impact the regionals because Kaplan is not interested in enrolling students in individual courses, only in degree programs. Prof. Pula questioned the Registrar’s statement since some regionals were indeed developing online programs and in any case it is a short step from recruiting students into degrees to recruiting students into courses. He also expressed concern that there appeared to be no Purdue faculty oversight over the Kaplan academic offerings.
- Campus Reports: Prof. Niser from IPFW expressed dismay that the Higher Learning Commission has delayed approving the new Purdue unit in Fort Wayne which is impacting recruitment. He also expressed concern about decreasing financial support for faculty and other problems emerging on campus. Prof. Pula reported a concern at PNW about the percentage of CL/Visiting positions, administrative decisions leading to enrollment declines, and the apparent refusal of the administration to honor a commitment that existing faculty would not be forced to teach on the opposite campus. All present expressed support for the latter and suggested keeping the IFC informed and possibly asking for a resolution of support.
- Future Meetings:
- December 1 at IUPUI;
- January 22 at West Lafayette;
- February 16 at Purdue Northwest;
- March 19 at West Lafayette; and
- April 20 at IPFW
II. University Senate Meeting
October 16, 2017
- Academic Publishing Concerns: Prof. Alberto Rodriguez, chair of the University Senate, expressed concern regarding the rising costs of acquiring research reports and publications from academic publishing monopolies. He indicated that some European universities have banded together into consortia to obtain lower rates. He suggested a similar initiative by organizing the faculties of the Big Ten universities. The consensus was that this ought to be pursued.
- Kaplan Acquisition: There is considerable uncertainty about many aspects of the Kaplan-Purdue partnership and the formation of “NewU.” On October 6 a newspaper article indicated that the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) might hold up the acquisition because Purdue refused to accept responsibility for prior Kaplan debts. The University Legal Counsel attended the meeting to answer questions. He stated that the newspaper report was inaccurate. The DOE is only concerned with liability for Title IV student funds, not Kaplan’s general debt. The Purdue-Kaplan acquisition specifies that Purdue is only purchasing certain assets, not the corporate entity, and Purdue is not responsible for other Kaplan debts. He asserted that there are, in fact, no current legal actions or liabilities regarding Kaplan that would effect Purdue. Purdue would only be responsible for financial liabilities going forward on the assets it acquired, but it expects to run the operation at a profit. Prof. David Sanders raised the issue of Purdue’s reputation. Legal Counsel responded that we are not required to have Purdue University in the name of the new unit, only to indicate it is part of Purdue. Prof. Sanders and others did not see any practical difference between the two.
III. University Senate Faculty Affairs Committee
October 18, 2017
- Academic Analytics: At the last meeting it was announced that the College of Liberal Arts in WL had scheduled a meeting to discuss the possibility of using the services of Academic Analytics for the purpose of assessing faculty performance. I asked if there was any update and was told that the committee had received none. The chair (Prof. Steven Landry) promised to inquire.
- Teaching Evaluations: Vice Provost Peter Hollenbeck announced that a task force was being formed with a goal of evaluating and making recommendations on teaching evaluation metrics within the next year. The current policy states that no single measure of teaching should be used; rather, there should be multiple inputs.
- Research Misconduct: WL is developing a set of policies and procedures regarding research misconduct. PNW probably ought to look at these when they are finalized and consider adopting a similar version.
James S. Pula