On Friday June 10, 2022, Purdue University’s Board of Trustees announced with no warning the appointment of a new university president starting on January 1, 2023.
The appointment of a new president is a monumental decision that should include input and consultation with all key stakeholder groups on campus, including campus faculty. Yet the Board of Trustees made this decision without even the creation of a public search committee, and with no apparent faculty input at all, across multiple campuses.
The Purdue chapters of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) at West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, and Northwest see the Board’s hiring process as having violated core principles of shared governance for universities, namely transparency and openness of process and criteria, involvement of stakeholders including faculty, and a public campus visit. Hiring a new president without even a public search committee, let alone one that includes faculty, staff, and student representatives, is inconsistent with prior Purdue presidential searches or national governance practices. As the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities concludes, “The selection of a chief administrative officer should follow upon a cooperative search by the governing board and the faculty, taking into consideration the opinions of others who are appropriately interested.” (This statement was commended to member organizations by both the Association of Governing Boards and the American Council on Education; Purdue is a member of both.)
The lack of consultation in this latest presidential search is a continuation of a troubling trend of decisions moving away from norms of shared governance at Purdue over the last 10 or more years.
The three AAUP chapters at Purdue are eager to work with our new President on these shared governance issues and other critical challenges facing Purdue, including the growing use of contingent faculty for teaching and other core university work, and the insufficient wages for graduate student employees. Better faculty consultation and involvement in governance is critical to allowing Purdue to continue to meet its long-standing land grant mission of making research and education available to the people of Indiana and the world.
Approved by Purdue (West Lafayette) AAUP Executive Committee June 11, 2022, and by the Purdue Fort Wayne AAUP executive committee and Purdue Northwest AAUP executive committee on June 12, 2022.