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IPFW issues statement about restructuring

(Photo Supplied/IPFW)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (IPFW Press Release): Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) released the following statement today about the recent academic restructuring announcement, along with a related FAQ (available here):

IPFW is fully committed to our students, faculty, and staff both today and into the future. That is why the university is undergoing changes to ensure we can continue to serve the needs of our region.

Student enrollment decreased 30% since 2010, reflecting a nationwide trend in declining enrollment. This is the reality of higher education in the current economy. IPFW must adapt to it.

Our current fiscal reality is that expenses are more than our income, so by making changes now, we help put ourselves on solid footing for the future.

Presenting the plan
In a presentation to IPFW’s faculty senate Monday, October 17, Vice Chancellor Drummond previewed plans to restructure several degree programs and academic units.

Tuesday, October 18, he gave detailed plans to the deans so they could work with the chairs of affected departments in their respective colleges. By Tuesday afternoon, reports about the changes and reactions to them began appearing online and in local media outlets.

The plan was to work within the colleges to proactively answer questions and address concerns, but social media chatter quickly outpaced that plan. The speed at which this news traveled and the uncertainties it raised, especially among the students and faculty members in the affected departments, did not allow time for the plan to be implemented within the colleges. The university will strive in the future to communicate goals and actions quickly and to a broader audience.

How these decisions were made
The University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP) started over two years ago and involved a team of faculty and staff volunteers from departments and offices throughout the university. The team conducted two rounds of reviews and responses covering every academic and administrative area.

This research and data, along with other input such as regional employment predictions and the results of the student First Destinations Surveys, informed the recommendations made in the final USAP report, which was released in May 2016.

The USAP report identified programs with a small number of students in their majors and which produced very few graduates over time. The report also offered ideas on how resources could be reallocated toward programs with high demand for the region and the economy.

What happens next
The university’s colleges and departments will work with students in the affected majors and help them complete their degrees as intended or shift their course of study.

Although less than 1% of degree-seeking students are directly affected by these changes, we recognize that this significantly impacts those individuals. We remain committed to helping those students reach their goals.

Many classes within the affected departments will still be offered, and tenured faculty will remain with the university.

Understanding the Athletics budget
It’s important to note that IPFW Athletics has already faced painful budget cuts. Men’s and women’s tennis were eliminated in 2015, contributing $450,000 toward the university’s operating budget.

The university made a commitment to NCAA Division I athletics in 2000. It is a responsibility of every institution to uphold this commitment through appropriate sponsorship. The university is open to conversations about what that role is in the future, but athletics will remain a key part of our university’s future.

RELATED: Students, Faculty protest IPFW Cuts

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