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Office of the Dean

May 2018

Dear Colleagues,

With summer here, I want to take a moment to reflect upon what has been a pivotal year for the College of Liberal Arts.

Three years ago in this space, I said that in the College we would apologize no more, and that we would take our place at the table as an integral part of what makes Purdue University great. Our investments since then in teaching and in research have furthered these goals. We have adopted new standards for promotion and tenure external reviewers. These standards reflect our position at one of the nation’s top public universities. Our graduate programs have doubled the percentage of students in research assistant-ships, and our minimum graduate stipend in the fall will be $18K, up from $14K in 2015. We reduced the number of low-enrollment courses from a high of 433 to 199 this spring semester. We have restructured our student services and established a marketing and communications team to celebrate our accomplishments and to represent us in the world and across campus.

We kicked off this academic year with the launch of Degree in 3, a program developed through the hard work of faculty and staff in every unit of this College. With Degree in 3, we became an integral part of the University’s value narrative. It’s a commitment to affordability and to access for all qualified students.

Over the course of the year, Degree in 3 has garnered important national media attention for our College from Bloomberg to the Chronicle of Higher Education with many more along the way. President Mitch Daniels not only lent his voice to our radio ads for Degree in 3, it is a proof point for him, the university is using enrollment in the program to assess progress towards making Purdue more affordable.  It is an undeniable statement of our importance to the success of this university.

We also rolled out the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program. As we look to fall, the Colleges of Engineering and Science, along with the Krannert School of Management and Purdue Polytechnic Institute have modified their plans of study to allow their students the option of considering Cornerstone to complete many of their core curriculum requirements.

Like Degree in 3, Cornerstone has won the notice of both the President and the Board of Trustees, and generated an invitation to join the Legacy group (a consortium of Columbia University, Yale University and the University of Chicago who seek to strengthen Core Curriculum). It stands as a symbol of our role in educating Purdue students from across the campus and shaping the next generation of leaders whether they major in our disciplines or others across campus. The program aligns the college and university in a very competitive position relative to many of the recommendations made in a new study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the integration of liberal arts with STEM education. As more students pursue the Cornerstone certificate, every academic unit will see new faces in our classes and an increase in the number of students graduating with at least some coursework in the humanities and social sciences.

The CLA Core Renewal Committee, with support from the CLA Faculty Senate, removed a significant barrier for students interested in adding a liberal arts major to their Purdue plan of study. The decision to allow a waiver of the CLA Core for students pursuing a B.A. in Liberal Arts along with a B.S. from another college will be an important component of our conversations next fall about continued innovation in undergraduate education to better serve our students.

Led by co-chairs Rosalee Clawson and Kirke Willing, the Strategic Vision and Planning Committee met through much of spring semester. They will break for summer and in the fall will convene various groups of constituents for input as progress on our vision for the next five to seven years continues.

I am pleased to report another increase in our number of undergraduate new beginner students. Our final May 2 tally of 553 represents an increase of more than 4% over last year and continues our sustained improvement since May 2015 when our number of new beginner undergraduate accepts dropped to 446.

In years to come, we will look back on this year as one in which our position shifted at Purdue to become a dynamic part of the conversation about what makes Purdue a leading comprehensive public research university.

I am very proud of the collective effort and commitment that have gotten us to this point. I thank you all for your hard work and wish you a productive and pleasant summer.


David Reingold

David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts