Adoption of experiential learning, 6-year strategic plan highlight 2008

The unprecedented implementation of experiential learning as a vital, required component for advancing effective learning highlighted Purdue University Calumet’s 2008 year.

Experiential learning-the integration of traditional classroom and textbook learning with the applied learning that occurs within a work-related, real world experience-became part of the Purdue Calumet curriculum last fall for all incoming, baccalaureate degree-seeking students.

Experiential learning also is factoring prominently into a six-year strategic plan the university adopted last fall. The plan is designed to help position Purdue Calumet as a leader in effectual 21st century education.

Experiential learning

Last fall, Purdue Calumet became one of the few colleges and universities nationally to integrate formal, structured components of experiential learning as a graduation requirement. Undergraduate students must complete two experiential learning courses or equivalents before receiving their Purdue diploma.

Those courses/equivalents take the form of internships, cooperative education, applied research with faculty, cultural immersion (study abroad), design projects, community service learning or practica.

6-year strategic plan

Following approval by the Purdue Board of Trustees, Purdue Calumet introduced its 2008-14 strategic plan. The plan features five goals:

  1. Foster Engaged Learning-helping students integrate and manage their transition from the classroom to their worlds of citizenship and work;
  2. Prepare an Educated Local Workforce and Citizenry-selectively increase undergraduate and graduate student enrollments, expand career and placement services to alumni, help stimulate business growth within key Indiana disciplines, and build and strengthen partnerships with business and industry in response to environmental issues;
  3. Improve Student Success-striving to increase retention and graduation rates, establishing a highly responsive and consistent faculty-student advising system, and expanding the use of different learning technologies to provide various course and degree delivery methods;
  4. Support Faculty and Staff Excellence-strengthening professional development, faculty research and scholarship support structures; increasing compensation; and rewarding and recognizing success;
  5. Develop a Vibrant Campus Community-furthering flexible opportunities for student involvement in campus life; expanding and improving campus facilities; identifying and adopting best practices for
    recruiting and retaining a diverse community of students, faculty and staff; and developing a quality improvement process.

Other 2008 news of note:


Though down from the previous year, Purdue Calumet’s overall fall enrollment of 9,325 included a record number of students (5,736) enrolled in full course loads. The full time student total represents a 129-student increase (2.3 percent) from the previous year.
The number of international students attending Purdue Calumet increased last fall to a record 464.


Spring, summer and fall graduates earned nearly 1,300 Purdue undergraduate and graduate degrees during the year, increasing to more than 41,000 the total number of degrees granted at the Hammond campus.

Academic Programs

The following new or re-designed academic programs were introduced:

  • Adapting to the growing need for trained engineering technologists within the high speed packaging industry is the emphasis of a redirected bachelor’s degree program in Mechatronics Engineering Technology.
  • Combining technology with business functions is the focus of a newly titled baccalaureate degree offering in Computer Information Systems.
  • A horse of a different color was introduced in the form of an academic major and certificate in equine management. The major is available within the Bachelor of Arts in Business curriculum.
  • At the Graduate School level, a Master of Science in Technology, combining cutting edge technical knowledge with management/supervisory expertise, was introduced this fall.
  • Preparing leaders who want to be great is the focus of a redesigned Master of Business Administration for Executives (MBAE) program. The new curriculum, with classes offered Saturday mornings and afternoons, combines hard, technical skill development with the soft, savvy skills of leading people effectively.
  • Approved during the fall for spring 2009 introduction is a master’s degree specialization in Human Development and Family Studies. The program is designed for capable practitioners working in human and social service settings who want to expand their career opportunities, as well as recent baccalaureate graduates who desire to further their education at the graduate level.
  • Additionally, the School of Nursing received a $436,192 federal grant to develop and implement an online platform for its master’s degree program to help stimulate an increase in the number of advanced practice nurses in the workplace.

Facilities & Development

  • Construction of Purdue Calumet’s second student housing complex began last spring and is on schedule to open for occupancy next August in time for the fall 2009 semester. The $21.1 million structure will provide fully-furnished, apartment-like suites, including private bedrooms, semi-private bathrooms, kitchen and living room space for 369 students.
  • YJean Chambers Hall, a 75-seat performance and instructional facility, named in memory of one of Purdue Calumet’s most beloved professors, opened last spring on the third floor of the Student Union & Library. Chambers, a professor of communication, died in 2003.


  • Fifty-one Class of 2008 high school valedictorians and salutatorians-nine from Indiana, 40 from Illinois and two from Michigan-received full tuition Chancellor’s Scholar Awards.
  • Two Cedar Lake residents, Ryan Strode and Sarah Parrish, received the Purdue Alumni Association Calumet’s Outstanding Graduating Student Award. As recipients they offered the traditional student response on behalf of their respective graduation classes during Commencement Exercises last May and December, respectively. Strode graduated with a degree in history; Parrish majored in biotechnology.

Faculty Achievement

  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology Mohammad Zahraee was elected national chair of the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). TAC accredits some 700 technology programs in more than 220 institutions nationally and internationally.
  • Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ron Kovach was elected to the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) Board of Directors. The NSEE acts as a resource organization for development and improvement of experiential learning in colleges and universities.
  • Associate Professor of Management Jamaluddin Husain received an Acton Foundation Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award.
  • Receiving Purdue Calumet’s 2007-08 Outstanding Faculty Awards were: Associate Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar (Faculty Scholar), Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology Jose Pena (Teacher) and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Roy Evans (Faculty Service).
    Economic Development
  • Scientific researchers of Purdue Calumet’s Water Institute, in collaboration with those from Argonne National Laboratory completed the first of a two-phase study for energy company BP and its Whiting refinery. In the study, the researchers are exploring emerging technologies and approaches for improving wastewater treatment options relative to industrial discharges into Lake Michigan.
  • Purdue Calumet’s Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center was active in more than a dozen energy-related research projects, partnering with local industries and other northwest Indiana entities.
  • In partnership with the City of Hammond, Purdue Calumet is managing and operating the Hammond INnovation Center, a small business incubator. Designed to support small, fledgling, start-up technology-related businesses, the INnovation Center last spring moved into a newly renovated downtown facility with accommodations for 14 clients.


  • Purdue Calumet’s supervisor training program, Supervise for Success, received the 2008 Midwest “Successful Best Practices” Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
  • Students, faculty and staff organized a clean-up/relief effort to assist northwest Indiana flood victims last fall. Purdue Calumet student organizations continued their efforts weekends September through December and collected monetary, clothing and food donations during the December holiday season.
  • Ralph V. Rogers, Jr., who has held wide-ranging, senior level administrative and faculty positions during a 30-year career in higher and post-secondary education, was appointed Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.


  • Retired athletic director John Friend, who headed Purdue Calumet’s intercollegiate athletic program for more than 20 years, became the charter inductee of the Purdue Calumet Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Dan Voudrie, the former top assistant at Olivet Nazarene University, was appointed head men’s basketball coach.

News Release Date: Dec. 31, 2008