From the Chancellor

Changing Purdue Calumet poised to become stronger university: Keon

Chancellor Thomas L. Keon
Chancellor, Thomas L. Keon

With “the help of everyone in this room,” Purdue Calumet will advance beyond current challenges and become a stronger university, Chancellor Keon told an Alumni Hall gathering of some 300 faculty and staff at last week’s (8/14) Fall Convocation.

“We are going to be a stronger Purdue (Calumet), and a richer Purdue (Calumet) with the best students in northwest Indiana,” he said.

In remarks that covered a wide range of university topics he expressed:

  • Some campus academic areas have become over-specialized, offering concentrations that are similar. (“The intention is not to eliminate programs with small numbers of students, but to reduce concentrations to strengthen programs.”)
  • Over the last 18 months “we have been concerned about declining enrollment and began considering ways to approach cost-cutting.”
  • From such consideration emerged the recent faculty retirement incentive offer and opportunities for faculty members to explore vacant administrative positions.
  • At the start of the current semester, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences had taken the largest credit hour hit, primarily in core course enrollment. That is due to recent state-authorized discontinuation of associate degree programs and remedial classes at regional universities, as well as the growing number of students satisfying core course requirements via dual credit and advanced placement classes offered at their high schools.
  • Our campus has lost about 1,000 students due to associate degree and remedial course enrollees having been directed to Ivy Tech State Community College.
  • In contrast, the loss of those students has helped contribute to more academically proficient incoming freshman classes to Purdue Calumet. The proficiency is indicated by incrementally higher high school SAT/ACT scores, class rank and grade point averages over the past three years. (“I have told the Board of Trustees that we should be looked at as a viable, regional university.”)
  • The Board of Trustees also is considering our request to transform our Honors Program into an Honors College. (More than 35 students will be enrolled in the programs this fall, second highest total in campus history.)
  • Our commitment to an expanded athletics program has generated full time students who pay a tuition amount that exceeds the cost of the program. Purdue Calumet student-athletes also have achieved an overall grade point average that has topped 3.0 the past three semesters.
  • The city of Hammond has been an accommodating and understanding partner in our joint effort to develop an athletics complex at nearby Dowling Park for use by Purdue Calumet soccer, baseball, softball and tennis teams, as well as Hammond residents and teams. (“The city has bent over backward to make this partnership work.”)

A proposal for Purdue Calumet’s first doctoral degree program—a Doctor of Nursing Practice—could be introduced next fall, pending approval in January by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.