At the request of the Purdue University Board of Trustees, Purdue University Northwest (PNW) leaders presented a set of recommendations aimed toward ensuring the ongoing sustainability of PNW’s Westville, Ind., campus. During its public meeting held on PNW’s Hammond campus today (Aug. 6), the Board of Trustees reviewed the plans, which PNW will begin implementing immediately.
“Like our colleagues across higher education, the Purdue Northwest campuses have experienced significant impacts to our enrollment over the last decade due to many factors, notably a decline in the number of high school students nationwide. It is imperative that we position the Westville campus to be self-sustaining, to ensure effective and efficient operations that continue to serve the community for years to come,” PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “The recommendations are based upon input from and discussions with our university community, including all the PNW governance groups, as well as historical and current data about student enrollment trends and our recurring budget.”
Key points of the plan include:
- PNW will make substantial investments in growing academic programs such as cybersecurity, social work, digital marketing and media, computer science, nursing and health sciences.
- Implementing strategies for student retention and success, such as learning communities, block scheduling, and continued investments in technology for instruction and testing. PNW also will conduct a gap analysis and economic impact study for both the Westville and Hammond campuses.
- Working to stabilize enrollment at PNW, through aligning academic programs with student interest. “At Westville, we need to focus on offering programs that attract local students and meet employer needs in Porter and La Porte counties,” Keon said.
- Moving toward a self-sustaining campus. A cost analysis of the Westville campus indicated an estimated loss of $4 million for 2019-2020 and $3.6 million for 2020-2021.
- Attaining long-term academic program stability and cost neutrality at the Westville campus. PNW will focus on providing comprehensive general education and current degree programs at the Westville campus that are sustainable such as Nursing, Management, Psychology, Biology, Multidisciplinary/Liberal Studies, and Elementary Education.
- The Westville campus will be identified as a branch campus of Purdue Northwest. This distinction helps to promote the discrete location and features of the Westville campus, and is consistent with the way the U.S. Department of Education, Higher Learning Commission, and other accrediting bodies currently view the PNW campuses.
- Offering physical facilities of the campus for community and private events, with rental fees.