Surprise Merger of Two Purdue Regional Campuses Violates Principle of Shared Governance
The Surprise Announcement that Purdue University Calumet will merge with Purdue University North Central Violates the Principle of Shared Governance
When it was announced on February 26 that Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central will merge, the news took nearly everyone at the Calumet campus—students, faculty, and staff—by surprise. The reason is that none of these members of the campus community were consulted before this decision was made, in spite of the fact that the decision will greatly affect their lives. While the Purdue Calumet administration has repeatedly said that it is in favor of shared governance, transparency, and faculty input, this recent announcement stands as yet another example of the fact that its actions consistently contradict those statements.
To be clear, we (the Purdue University Calumet chapter of the AAUP) do hope that the proposed merger will be successful. We are concerned, however, because
- Faculty will likely be severely affected, and were not consulted beforehand.
- Faculty are being asked to trust an administration that keeps saying one thing and doing another.
- No specifics on costs, timelines, or anything remotely resembling a plan has been put forth, yet we are asked to cheer on such a vague plan as if it were a can't-miss venture, when it is anything but.
- Claims that savings from this merger will be directed to students and faculty would be an about-face from current practice, in which resources are primarily directed to the growth of the administration, while the faculty are reduced in size and marginalized in decision making. Accordingly, while we hope that savings from this merger will, as promised, be used for the improvement of instruction (rather than for administrative growth), it is a far stretch to say that such claims are credible and should be accepted, given the history of the behavior of the administration.
As an example of that history, from 2012 to 2013 Purdue University Calumet, citing a budget shortfall, reduced its faculty by nearly 18% (from 576 to 473), while cutting its number of administrators by only 1% over the same period. As a result, there are now more non-instructional staff at the University (488) than instructional staff (473). While the administration has attempted to justify this targeting of faculty by claiming that administrative staff have born the brunt of previous cuts, this is not supported by the relevant data. The number of administrators and other support staff has risen steadily over the past fifteen years (from 396 in 1999 to 488 at present). By contrast, the numbers for faculty stand roughly where they were fifteen years ago (470 in 1999; 473 today).
Reducing the number of faculty is not the administration’s only method of cutting instructional costs, however. Another strategy is to replace tenured faculty as they retire or die (and note that these are full-time scholar-teachers, who have been certified as meeting high standards of quality in their work) with part-time employees who receive meager pay, no benefits or job security, and no opportunity of attempting to meet requirements for tenure. This heavy reliance on overstressed, underpaid, and sometimes only marginally qualified part-timers extends to many of the university’s academic units, including the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that are much prized by Purdue University’s President, Mitch Daniels. There is no parallel push to rein in administrative costs by using part-timers for administrative functions, nor any attempt to involve faculty in a meaningful way in decisions to rein in such costs, despite the claim of both the Purdue Calumet administration and Mitch Daniels that they wish to engage in shared governance with the faculty.
Finally, many faculty have also been asked to help meet the budget crisis by dramatically increasing their productivity, but for no increase in pay. Some teachers, as a result both of having to teach more classes per semester than they did previously, and of seeing the size of each class increase, now find themselves struggling with a workload that is more than double their previous average—a workload that makes successful teaching and research much more difficult. There is no apparent parallel demand for administrators to help make ends meet by significantly increasing their workload while forgoing any increase in compensation.
AAUP Opposes State Marriage Amendment
Many universities throughout our state provide such domestic partner benefits, including Ball State University, Indiana University, Indiana State University, Purdue University, and the University of Southern Indiana.
We believe that the proposed constitutional amendment has the strong potential to disrupt or prohibit the availability of domestic partner benefits for state-supported institutions of higher education. We believe it would be against the best interests of the state to restrict the ability of our institutions of higher education to attract the best faculty members available
University Administrators view domestic-partner benefits as critical to attracting and retaining the best educators and researchers. We believe that this proposed constitutional amendment will force them to discontinue such benefits. At the same time, top universities aggressively recruit the nation’s most talented gay and lesbian students for their undergraduate and graduate programs.
A state’s reputation for intolerance is a turn-off to such prospective students and an additional cause of “brain drain.”The State Conference of the American Association of University Professors represent faculty at universities across Indiana. We respectfully recommend that this resolution be rejected to head off an interpretation that might threaten benefits and protections provided university faculty and staff.
Great News at Purdue University Calumet
Great news! The AAUP on all levels has been working to support the terminated faculty at Purdue University Calumet. As part of this effort PUC faculty have organized a new chapter. Today, the PUC administration announced that its budget shortfall was not as great as originally thought, and the terminations of the tenure-track faculty have been rescinded.
Congratulations to our colleagues at PUC!
Indiana State Conference Statement on Purdue University Calumet
The Executive Board of the Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors would like to join with the Purdue Chapter of the AAUP in expressing its concern about the recent actions taken by Chancellor Thomas Keon of Purdue University Calumet. Citing revenue shortfalls, Chancellor Keon terminated instructors, lecturers, and tenure track faculty, while at the same time PUC advertised for new positions in the administration and the athletic program. The faculty has not been provided detailed information concerning the financial situation at PUC. Nor was the faculty meaningfully involved in determining where cuts should be made. Chancellor Keon’s actions raise questions about academic shared governance at PUC. In addition, it should be clear to all citizens of Indiana that something is wrong with an educational institution’s priorities when in the face of supposed financial difficulties it fires teachers, while leaving untouched, and even expanding, its administrative bureaucracy.
We urge Chancellor Keon and the administration of Purdue University to revisit these terminations, and actively work with the faculty to restore financial health to Purdue University Calumet.
Purdue AAUP Statement on Faculty Terminations at Purdue Calumet
The recent announcement of faculty terminations by the Administration at Purdue Calumet is extremely troubling. These terminations do not appear to have been conducted with the proper faculty input, in contradiction to the concept of shared governance. The timing of this announcement, coming in the week before the academic faculty return to teaching, under scores this apparent lack of shared governance. The justification for terminating faculty has centered on Purdue Calumet's claim of financial difficulties. The faculty has yet to be able to confirm this assertion, as the administration seems reluctant to share financial information. However, while claiming that they are in such dire financial trouble they must lay off instructors, lecturers, and tenure track faculty, Purdue Calumet is actively hiring more administrators, increasing funding to the athletic program and hiring fitness assistants.
Lower than expected enrollment numbers has been cited as the primary contributing factor to the financial problem. According to the administration, reasons for the low enrollment range from the impact of advanced placement and dual credit programs in the high schools; the previous administration's lack of ability and foresight in automating the admission process while there is an admission that enrollment is actually up in some areas.
The AAUP's position is that in the event of a legitimate financial crisis, negatively impacting the educational mission of the university should only be considered when all other cost cutting alternatives have been exhausted. We have yet to see sufficient evidence that this formula has been applied at Purdue Calumet.
The AAUP further advocates that faculty must be actively and appropriately included in any discussions or plans related to potential program cuts, modifications and/or possible faculty reductions. The current plan will have a direct negative impact on available curricula and the quality of education. The faculty has not been properly included in the process of determining that the financial situation is severe enough to contemplate only faculty terminations or in the termination process itself.
The decision to cut the education delivery process itself has a chilling effect on the University and the community. People's lives and potential educational opportunities for students are impacted. The AAUP recognizes the seriousness and the difficulties surrounding these decisions. It is for these very reasons that it is imperative that such decisions proceed in a transparent fashion and with appropriate faculty inclusion.
We strongly urge President Daniels, Chancellor Keon and the Board of Trustees to reconsider the termination of faculty at Purdue Calumet and to actively engage with faculty and their appropriate representatives in order to work through the anticipated budget crisis and find alternative solutions that are less devastating to Purdue's mission, values and goals and to the citizens of Indiana.
Dr. Marcus K. Rogers
President Purdue AAUP Chapter
AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom and Mitch Daniels
Since 1940, the American Association of University Professors has stood by the Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure declared in that year. We support the statement that "Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties."
The declaration also states that "Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject." The writings of Howard Zinn are a perfect example of material relevant for discussion in teacher education and history classes, even though these writings are also controversial. The Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors condemns Mitch Daniels' efforts as Governor of Indiana to censor the use of Howard Zinn's works in a summer institute for high school teachers at Indiana University. Although we commend his more recent reaffirmation, as President of Purdue University, of a commitment to academic freedom in higher education, we see a fundamental contradiction between this claim of support for academic freedom and his continued defense of his earlier efforts to control what teachers and professors assign in their classrooms.
We urge Daniels to declare his uncompromising support for the right of faculty to research and teach without interference from university or state administrators.
Indiana Senate Passes SB 182 - AAUP Expresses Concern
Last week the Indiana Senate passed SB 182 with a vote of 50-0. Prior to passage, representatives of the Indiana Conference of the AAUP gave testimony before the Senate Education Committee expressing concerns about the effects of the bill on the quality of higher education in Indiana and the bill's lack of acknowledgement of the role of faculty in determining curricula.
Below is a link to the bill. Please share it with colleagues. Begin a conversation with colleagues, administrators, and if there is time, with legislators.
The bill has now moved to the House of Representatives for further consideration. We anticipate that the proposal will be heard in the House Education Committee. We will keep you posted on the legislation’s progress and suggested activities on your part.
Rising Administrative Costs Endanger College Instructional Resources
University Association Applauds Governor's Call to Halt Excessive Growth in Administrative Expenditures
As students return to college this fall, Hoosier parents and taxpayers are probably wondering where all of the money given to Indiana's colleges and universities actually goes. They may be disappointed to discover that administration is consuming a large and rapidly growing portion of university resources. Resources devoted to instruction, research, and service -- the primary functions of institutions of higher learning -- are growing much more slowly.
A number of studies show that statewide and nationally the increase in expenses associated with administration, office space, and other non-instructional costs has greatly outpaced the increase in expenses associated with instruction. For example, data from the National Center for Education Statistics provides some disturbing facts. Information collected from the country's 198 leading public and private universities revealed that in 2007 nearly 39 percent of all full-time university employees were engaged in administration, an increase of 39 percent from the number of administrators per 100 students in 1993. Only 29 percent of full-time employees were engaged in instruction, research, and service, an increase of 18 percent since 1993.
Recently Governor Mitch Daniels called for Indiana's public universities to halt the excessive growth of administrative expenditures. The Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors applauds the Governor's leadership on this important issue.
In these times of tight budgets, scarce tax dollars, and the need to enhance student achievement it is imperative that university administrators target administrative bloat for reductions and limit any cutbacks associated with teaching and learning.
The AAUP pledges its support to the Governor and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in attempts to rein in unnecessary costs in higher education while maintaining necessary levels of state appropriations for higher education.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is a national organization of 45,000 members that supports academic freedom and shared governance. College presidents and administrators rely on AAUP-developed policy statements and procedural guidelines. The AAUP helps shape American higher education and ensures higher education's contribution to the common good. The Indiana Conference of the AAUP represents faculty at IU-Bloomington, IUPUI, Ball State University, Indiana State University, Vincennes University, IU-North, IU-South Bend, University of Indianapolis, Manchester College, and Hanover College.
Ivy Tech Needs Professional Standards For its Faculty
Like other institutions of higher education, Ivy Tech Community College aspires to contribute to the economic and social
development of the state of Indiana; but its treatment of its faculty does not look like that of colleges and universities in this and other states.
Television Interviews on Academic Freedom
Recently, interviews were conduced on the topic of academic freedom. These interviews appeared on the following local television stations:
* WTHR - TV13 - News Interview
* WRTV - TV6 - News Interview
* Newslink Indiana TV - News Interview
[View with Windows Media Player]
[View with Quick Time]
The Academic Freedom Controversy at Notre Dame
The Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors expresses its support for University of Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins in standing by the university's decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at its May 17 commencement.
AAUP Expresses Concern about Marriage Amendment
- March 8, 2007
Read the letter sent to Representative B. Patrick Bauer, Speaker Indiana House of Representatives. (Read the Letter.....)
AAUP Supports Reform in Indiana Higher Education - Response to the Indiana Efficiency Commission Report on Higher Education
(Read More.....) Also: View Efficiency Response - Executive Summary (.pdf format)
Arguments against the Academic Bill of Rights - Dr. George Wolfe
(Read More.....) Also: See "Professor Wolfe vs. David Horowitz" on the Ball State Virtual Press [Click here to view]