Purdue University Fort Wayne Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer outlined the university's strategic planning process and updated the Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday night on ongoing partnerships between the school and local businesses and organizations.
PFW has gathered data and examined “who we are, what we stand for,” Elsenbaumer said during an hourlong presentation. The university, through collaboration with faculty, students and the community, has also revised its mission and vision statements.
“We are Purdue University Fort Wayne, northeast Indiana's comprehensive metropolitan public university,” Elsenbaumer said. “Our mission is to educate and engage our students and communities with purpose by cultivating learning, discovery and innovation in an inclusive environment.”
Elsenbaumer was appointed chancellor in November 2017 by Purdue President Mitch Daniels.
Purdue Fort Wayne has an $11 billion impact on the state of Indiana, Elsenbaumer said, which fuels 101,999 jobs per year. The university's operations produce $269.1 million in gross product each year and 3,350 jobs concentrated in the Fort Wayne area, he added. Additionally, Elsenbaumer said students and visitors spend about $38.2 million per year in Fort Wayne.
Engagement within the university and in the community “came to the forefront from all of our stakeholders across campus as being critically important for the future of our campus,” Elsenbaumer said. The university is exploring how to get the community “to feel like our campus is a tremendous resource,” he said.
Residents and students alike, Elsenbaumer said, need to feel they can come to campus and engage in community events and activities. The university also has to have a role in helping students find employment opportunities, he said.
Part of those efforts include plans to purchase the Park 3000 building on Coliseum Boulevard, the former home of Brown Mackie College.
That building will be used to house PFW's revitalized career services center “as a one-stop shop for our students and corporate entities in our communities,” Elsenbaumer said. Across the hall from that will be the university's business school.
“Our school of business and career services will be tightly linked to one another and that synergy will provide considerable service to our students in finding careers,” he said.
PFW has also had discussions regarding how the university can partner with entities that are interested in being part of the Electric Works development near downtown.
“We see ourselves being big contributors in a partnership arrangement to the activities that will go on at Electric Works,” Elsenbaumer said, noting that could be in both a corporate or educational capacity.
Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, said there's a lot of opportunity for synergy between the university and city government.
“We've seen waxing and waning of how much engagement and integration there is between city government and the university. Sometimes it's been a lot, sometimes not so much,” Crawford said, adding that there hasn't been much collaboration between the two entities in recent years. “There's a big opportunity there because city government and the university are linked whether we like it or not.”