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IPFW campus battle: Faculty Senate sends rejection report to presidents, board members

February 1st, 2016

News Coverage:

January 29, 2016

IPFW campus battle: Faculty Senate sends rejection report to presidents, board members

Jen Danczak | 21Alive

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) --- The campus battle continues over the future of IPFW, as the faculty Senate of the campus released a counter-argument report Thursday.

A working group created by the Indiana Legislative Services Agency released study results January 19 that suggest re-naming the IPFW campus, along with changing academia to prominently Purdue courses.

The Fort Wayne Faculty Senate then wrote a recommendation of rejection the following week to the presidents and board members of both IU and Purdue.

The Faculty Senate sent that rejection letter and also released a detailed report Thursday with statistics counter-arguing many of the suggestions made towards the campus, regarding enrollments, research, graduation rates, and others.

“Folks who did the report for LSA occasionally failed to look at the rest of the data even in what they presented, and we think that this provides the more complete picture of what's going on here on the campus,” says President of the Fort Wayne Faculty Senate, Dr. Andrew Downs. “A lot of people at our special meeting [Friday] were wondering what we were so upset about, and now this report sort of gives them that data in a very clear way."

Dr. Downs has received a “thank you” message from President Mitch Daniels of Purdue, but no word yet from Indiana University.

Here is a full summary of the report as a response to the LSA’s proposal full of recommendations:

Summary of the Fort Wayne Senate Response to the Indiana Legislative Services Agency Report on Role and Governance of Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne

This report counters the conclusions from the Indiana Legislative Services Agency Report on Role and Governance of Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne of January 15, 2016. The LSA’s conclusions are built on a faulty premise informed by selective or misleading evidence. Contrary to the argument made by Trustees Michael Berghoff and Michael Mirro that IPFW needs restructuring due to “…several years of less than optimal progress…,” our report shows that IPFW’s progress has been significant and strong relative to its regional Indiana University and Purdue University campus peers. Page and figure number in this summary are for pages and figure numbers in the full response.

1. Regarding enrollments
1.1. IPFW’s decline in its full-time enrollments is similar to the trends affecting most of the regional campuses (Figure 1 and 2, pages 3 and 4).
1.2. IPFW’s loss of enrollment is getting smaller over time. This trend demonstrates that the problem of declining enrollment is being effectively addressed, which indicates institutional strength not weakness (Figure 2, page 4).
1.3. The Midwest has lower year-over-year enrollments relative to the rest of the country because the number of high school graduates is decreasing.
1.4. Some of the decline in enrollment at IPFW resulted from legislative changes regarding education, teachers, and teacher training.
1.5. IPFW has improved its retention rate. (Figure 5, page 7).
2. Regarding research
2.1. IPFW ranks significantly higher than every IU and PU regional campus but one on its national R & D expenditure (Figure 7, page 9). IPFW’s national rank in R&D expenditures fell less than 1% from 2010 to 2014.
3. Regarding charitable giving
3.1. Charitable giving to IPFW fell 16% over the five years studied, but it was up 35% from 2014 to 2015. A new Vice Chancellor for Advancement started in 2015.
4. Regarding graduation rates
4.1. IPFW’s four-year graduation rate ranks fourth when compared to both IU and PU regional campuses (Table 1, page 14).
4.2. IPFW’s six- and eight-year graduation rates rank first when compared to both IU and PU regional campuses (Table 1, page 14).
5. Regarding the return on the investment
5.1. IPFW’s performance compares favorably to peer institutions in spite of the fact that
IPFW’s FTE student state appropriation is 3.7% below the median of other campuses.

The premise from the LSA report that IPFW needs reform due to underperformance is wrong. Indiana University should not leave Northeast Indiana as the only region of the state without a comprehensive Indiana University regional campus. Nothing suggests the proposed new programs could not be better leveraged using IPFW’s current strengths. Moreover, a major change in structure will only disrupt our progress and cause major setbacks for student success.
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