Office of the Dean
As the semester moves toward a close, I would like to share two exciting new programs that will enhance opportunities for our students and to provide updates on new initiatives announced in August.
But first, I would be remiss if I did not address the events surrounding questions about diversity, inclusion, and tolerance on campuses from Missouri to Connecticut to California, and on our own campus.
It is the time of year when we look back and reflect upon what we have done and look forward to what we have to do in the New Year and beyond. It is appropriate to celebrate. Even as we do so, we must ensure every member of the Purdue family is welcomed and supported.
Our College, home to Purdue’s most diverse faculty and a curriculum that explores cultures and challenges that reach around the globe, must be a campus leader in conversations about race and creating a diverse and inclusive campus environment. What unites us as members of this community should be greater than what divides us. But we acknowledge that divisions continue to exist.
In the coming weeks, I will work with the College’s Diversity Action Committee (DAC) and meet with students, faculty, and staff from historically underrepresented groups to better understand the challenges on this campus in order to respond more effectively to them. I encourage those of you with thoughts on this topic to share your insights and to propose further actions that we should take as a College. The College’s DAC and my office stand ready to address your concerns and work together toward addressing them. To this end, I have directed the DAC to report to me directly within 24 hours any reports of discrimination and harassment involving our students, faculty, and staff. As a reminder, the University does have a reporting system for any harassment incidents. A link is included at the bottom of this message. Finally, the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Diversity is at work developing campus goals, metrics, and a timeline that will guide institutional efforts. I encourage you to engage with Professor Rusty Jones, the CLA representative, so that your ideas are included in the campus deliberations.
Alongside these efforts, it remains incumbent upon us that we strive to provide new and better opportunities for our students. With that theme in mind, I am proud to announce two new programs in the College.
To provide real world opportunities that prepare Purdue Liberal Arts students for inspired careers and purposeful leadership, the College will create Job-Ready, an initiative to make internships a viable option for more of our undergraduate students. Students who choose to pursue career-launching unpaid and low-paid internships may apply for up to $2,000 in award support. I will make $50,000 from the Dean’s Fund gift account available for this purpose. The application will open on January 11, 2016.
Our graduate students need expanded opportunities as well. Responding to recommendations made by the CLA Task Force on Graduate Education, I have created the Promoting Research Opportunities to Maximize Innovation and Scholarly Excellence (PROMISE) Awards. The PROMISE Awards will support graduate student research, scholarly activity, and conference travel. I have committed a $100,000 investment in this fund for the current academic year. The online application will open tomorrow.
These two new programs follow programs that were announced at the beginning of the semester. I am pleased to provide status updates on those as well.
With leadership from Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and International Programs Joel Ebarb, the INNOVATE Fund supports bold, new ideas to transform course offerings, fuel meaningful innovation across the curriculum, and enhance the student experience. To date, eleven proposals have been approved, representing a total investment of $172,500. Included are proposals for a new major, three new courses, four certificate programs, and a course revision. While additional proposals are under review, significant opportunity remains for faculty who would INNOVATE our curriculum.
Our second fall program, the ASPIRE Research Enhancement Grants, has helped faculty across the College thanks to the efforts of Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Melissa Remis. Through November 10, 53 grants have supported 23 conference presentations and 30 requests for research support totaling $112,000. As we work to create a climate that empowers faculty to promote inquiry and creative activity, ASPIRE is integral to championing our research initiatives and would not be possible without the generous support from Provost Dutta.
Our efforts to enhance our scholarly productivity also includes a pilot program which has supported six CLA faculty members by a partnership between the Dean and the Provost to participate in the Faculty Success Program through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. This important initiative supports tenure-track and tenured faculty to improve research productivity, work-life balance, and personal growth through intensive coaching and peer support. At the end of this semester, we will assess the value of this opportunity for these participants and determine whether it should be expanded so more colleagues can benefit from this unique program.
I want to thank Joel and Melissa for their extraordinary efforts to develop and administer these two new programs even as they have both stepped into their new leadership roles within the College. I am grateful for their commitment to the College and our work.
In further support of our scholarship, the BRASS (Boiler Research Analysis for Social Sciences) server was launched this fall. BRASS hosts 44 user accounts participating in over 20 research projects. The server offers faster processing, secure infrastructure that is redundant and backed up, the ability to run large jobs without bogging down desktop computers and without fear of a desktop unit rebooting during a longer job, and access to software without purchasing licenses. Thank you to IT Director Brett Chambers for making this service operational.
Other initiatives within the College have created a marketing and communication office, explored the possibility of an integrated program in liberal arts, and examined our graduate education programs. All remain important components of our agenda and will be topics for continued discussion in the New Year.
To close on the topic with which I began this note, I am reminded of one of the Purdue traditions I learned this fall—one brick higher. It refers to the call by Purdue President James Smart after the newly-constructed Heavilon Hall burned to the ground that it would be rebuilt—one brick higher. That response in the face of adversity reflects what I have come to appreciate about Purdue. It is a place that moves forward, that gets things done, that doesn’t walk away from a task simply because it is too hard. The demonstrations last week re-affirmed my belief in Purdue University where people of all races, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds can come together and engage in peaceful, civil action. Issues of race and intolerance are difficult and uncomfortable, but we shall address these issues with resolve and determination. Together, we in the College will advance conversations about how to make this place better. I hope that you will join me.
David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean of the College of Liberal Arts