Purdue University Senate chair calls for thorough review of institution

Nov 20, 2012

The head of Purdue’s University Senate says there needs to be a close inspection of how the institution does business.

Professor Paul Robinson says they have identified a number of issues where they see problems with how the university operates.

Prof. Paul Robinson chairs the Purdue University Senate.
Credit Purdue University

He’s calling for a critical review of all aspects of the university, to make sure every area is pulling its weight.

“The university has grown so large, it’s hard to even know who is there and where are they. So, we think it’s time to go find all the people and identify what they do to make sure they are achieving the mission of the university.”

He says the process would include looking at the fiscal perspective. Robinson thinks poor decision-making is likely the main reason for the inefficiencies.

“In industry, those people would only make those poor decisions once. At big institutions like this, I wonder whether or not we allow some of those people to keep making those poor decisions before we call them on it. I’m saying we need to call them on it.”

Robinson wants to see some action in the next six months, or he will publicly point out examples of inefficiencies.

Purdue acting-President Tim Sands says he’s not opposed to reviewing the way the university spends money.

“I think there are some areas where we’re hearing from faculty that we’re not providing enough support at the administrative level. There are clearly other areas where many of our faculty members think we have excess in terms of the administrative support or the amount of resources that go to administering what we do, managing what we do.”

He says the administration has worked with the Senate’s budget transparency committee on similar fiscal matters in the past and will continue to do so, calling it an on-going conversation.

Sands thinks incoming President Mitch Daniels will want to improve operations as well.

“He’s already started looking. He’s aware of everything we’ve discussed here. He’s seen all the data, so he knows where we stand in terms of our administration, the funds we put into administration.”

Sands thinks Daniels will be looking not only at the top, but also throughout the institution to determing the right level of administration.

Daniels assumes the role of Purdue president in mid-January after his term as governor ends.