Recommendations in a new report from a state-convened group focusing on the future of IPFW center heavily around better aligning programs with the economic and work force needs of the region. The key suggestion from the Legislative Services Agency-led effort involves creating two distinct campuses from what is now IPFW. Currently, students can receive a degree from either Indiana University or Purdue University. The report calls for Purdue to serve as what IPFW officials describe as "the sole governing entity on campus." Northeast Regional Partnership Chief Executive Officer John Sampson, a member of the working group who voted in favor, says the recommendations are not perfect, "but it is a perfect opportunity."
Other recommendations include giving IU control of the medical school and boosting health science and medical education programs in the city, as well as launching an "inter-professional health sciences center." IPFW is the largest post-secondary educational institution in the northeast part of the state.
In a statement, IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein says "it’s important to remember that the recommendations from the LSA and the LSA working group are exactly that – recommendations for the future of our campus. While there is significant potential and exciting opportunities outlined in the recommendations, many questions, issues, and technicalities will need to be addressed. Right now there are many more questions than answers."
The university recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and Sampson says the efforts are designed to move it forward. "We’re just questioning whether the governance model — the shared structure between IU and Purdue, for all the accomplishments in the past — what positions this campus to respond to the regional talent needs of these 11 counties best?" He says IPFW has an opportunity to be at the center of talent attraction and retention efforts, "but not if it’s governed under a system that was designed decades ago." He believes current constraints from the multi-institutional setup need to be removed for it to grow.
The IPFW Study Working Group members was chaired by Purdue Board of Trustees Chair Mike Berghoff. In addition to Sampson and Carwein, other members of the group are: IU Trustee Mike Mirro, IPFW Community Council member Bill Cass, IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein, IPFW Faculty Senate President Andy Downs, Purdue representative Julie Griffith and IU representative Mike Sample.
IPFW says an evaluation process will take place in the coming weeks and months and will include "discussions, negotiations, and sorting through many details as due diligence is performed." Carwein says the university will be actively involved and she calls the work "critical to charting the path forward."
Northeast Regional Partnership Chief Executive Officer John Sampson says the efforts are geared toward the future.