(Westville, IN) - Purdue University’s Board of Trustees met in Westville Friday to weigh in on the future of the campus.
University officials want to ensure the viability of its satellite campuses. PNW Chancellor Thomas Keon addressed the challenges that face Westville's campus, like many others across the country. “Like our colleagues across higher education, the Purdue Northwest campuses have experienced significant impacts to our enrollment over the last decade due to many factors, notably a decline in the number of high school students nationwide," Keon said. "It is imperative that we position the Westville campus to be self-sustaining, to ensure effective and efficient operations that continue to serve the community for years to come.”
According to the trustees, the Westville campus operated at an estimated loss of $3.6 million last year and $4 million the year prior.
The trustees reviewed a set of recommendations to bolster profitability. Further investment will be made in growing fields like cybersecurity, social work, digital marketing and media, computer science, nursing, and health sciences. And there will be continued support for currently successful programs like Nursing, Management, Psychology, Biology, Multidisciplinary/Liberal Studies, and Elementary Education.
The following points were also included in the plan:
- Implementing strategies for student retention and success, such as learning communities, block scheduling, and continued investments in technology for instruction and testing. PNW also will conduct a gap analysis and economic impact study for both the Westville and Hammond campuses.
- The Westville campus will be identified as a branch campus of Purdue Northwest. This distinction helps to promote the discrete location and features of the Westville campus and is consistent with the way the U.S. Department of Education, Higher Learning Commission, and other accrediting bodies currently view the PNW campuses.
- Offering physical facilities of the campus for community and private events, with rental fees.
Chancellor Keon said they especially intend to “focus on offering programs that attract local students and meet employer needs in Porter and La Porte counties.”