Daniels clarifies remarks about regional campuses

(WLFI Photo, file)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — President Mitch Daniels said Purdue University’s regional campuses should conduct research specific to their missions, clarifying recent remarks on the topic in a letter to four Fort Wayne faculty members Monday.

The four members of the Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne Senate sent Daniels an email Friday asking him to recant his recent comments during a public radio broadcast that the role of the regional campuses didn’t include offering doctoral programs and conducting research. They said his position was “clearly at odds” with Indiana Commission for Higher Education policy.

Daniels wrote back to them Monday, saying “we are in complete agreement on the role and mission of Purdue’s regional campuses.”

“Purdue’s position on this subject, which I have stated many times, is to align precisely with the direction of the Commission for Higher Education. As you correctly point out, research and scholarly activities, as defined and authorized by the Commission’s policy, are extremely important to the needs of your local and regional economies.

“My recent radio interview comment was more concise and general than it should have been as I discussed the role and importance of our distinct campuses. The listeners knew, I hope, that I was simply differentiating the missions of our Research I institution in West Lafayette from that of our campuses in Fort Wayne, Calumet and Westville,” Daniels wrote.

The former governor had told a public radio host that higher education advocates in Fort Wayne were mistaken about their mission, saying the commission has directed they are not there to do research or offer doctoral programs but to provide affordable options.

The commission’s Policy on Regional Campus Roles and Missions states, “Research and scholarly activities related to faculty teaching responsibilities and local and regional needs are of special significance at regional campuses.”

IPFW is the fifth-largest campus in the state with more than 13,400 students. Purdue University governs the Fort Wayne campus.

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