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The Journal Gazette

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette IPFW students walk across campus Thursday near the Walb Student Union and Helmke Library. The Indiana University Board of Trustees voted Thursday to split the university in two.

Friday, December 02, 2016 10:11 pm

IU trustees back IPFW split

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – The Indiana University Board of Trustees voted 7-2 on Thursday to approve a realignment, splitting the IPFW campus, pending expected approval by Purdue University’s board Dec. 16.

IU and Purdue have had a joint campus since 1964, and the maneuver comes with numerous unanswered questions, even down to the name of the new entities.

IPFW enrollment reached a historic peak of 14,326 in 2011 after the Great Recession but since has declined 16 percent to 12,010 this fall. The campus also has experienced fiscal shortfalls that led to a separate internal review eliminating several programs.

The new governance structure would take effect July 1, 2018, if three conditions are met:

• Each university has determined that "adequate budget appropriations and funding have been approved by the Indiana General Assembly."

• The boards have approved any ancillary agreements.

• Each university has obtained reasonable assurances of accreditation.

That means there is a way for the sides to back out over the next year.

Under the realignment plan, IU would increase its focus on health sciences and build on the Indiana University Medical School on the IPFW campus. Purdue’s nursing, medical imaging and dental education programs would be transferred to IU.

Purdue would handle all other academic programming and would no longer be managing partner of the campus for both universities.

"The idea is this would create the opportunity for both parts of those missions to grow strongly and support the needs of that community," IU Executive Vice President John Applegate said when he pitched the plan to the board.

IPFW Faculty Senate President Andrew Downs attended the trustees meeting and said, "The reality is we’ve just changed one set of problems for another.

"We still believe that the best way to serve northeast Indiana is to have an IPFW – something that brings both of those institutions together in a seamless way," Downs said. "That now is going away."

But he did note the realignment allows IU to say it has administrative and financial control and make an investment in that.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels and IU President Michael McRobbie released a joint statement saying "the plan of realignment approved today by Indiana University’s Board of Trustees … reaffirms both universities’ commitment to the Fort Wayne community, while differentiating the institutions’ respective educational contributions."

It said IU’s focus on health sciences is based on regional demand and Purdue will conduct an immediate analysis of potential new programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.

"The plan is designed to create a seamless experience for both IU and Purdue students on campus through course availability, the delivery of student services, and the use of campus facilities," the statement said.

Board members Patrick Shoulders and Philip Eskew opposed the realignment.

Shoulders said the move "makes no sense," and he doesn’t believe it benefits students and faculty. He said the board should not discount the voice of the IPFW faculty, which has opposed the split.

Board member Melanie Walker supported the change but noted the board’s actions are unrelated to internal program cuts Purdue just announced for IPFW.

In October, IPFW said geology, philosophy and women’s studies will be eliminated Jan. 1. Degree programs in French and German are among those to be suspended. In addition, some departments will be merged.

But those decisions are separate from the legislatively mandated study of IPFW’s management that resulted in a recommendation to split the campus.

Downs and Shoulders both would have preferred that IU take over management of the Fort Wayne campus.

"Purdue does not have the same view of liberal arts or comprehensive education as IU has and that’s a problem," Downs said.

Some faculty will transfer to the IU system, but the agreement says salaries shall remain whole with commiserate benefits.

Downs said students will likely get caught up in bureaucratic and transitional issues.

He said some community members are already talking about needing a single entity to bridge the two universities so that there aren’t, for instance, two admissions offices and two registrar’s offices.

The realignment plan approved Thursday says the name and identification of the Fort Wayne campus may be changed and replaced by Purdue with a name and clear designation that identifies Purdue as the governing entity of the Fort Wayne campus. In doing so, Purdue intends to solicit input and seek naming suggestions from stakeholders at IPFW and in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana.

IU also has the right to identify, name and designate its health sciences initiative, the Indiana Academic Missions, the IU School of Medicine-Fort Wayne and IU School of Social Work.

IU Vice President Jackie Simmons said both universities will work with the NCAA to ensure the new split campus can have Division I sports teams that allow students of both universities to participate.