Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels

Purdue University

How’d you like to be so popular with your bosses that they offer to extend your contract by two years and then offer you a million dollars just to keep your job till the end of your contract?

That’s what the Purdue Trustees recently did with President Mitch Daniels. We chat about his new pay structure on this month’s conversation with him.

We also have a conversation about the University’s promotion and tenure policy.

Purdue University

There’s a storm brewing between Purdue’s faculty and its Board of Trustees over the issue of tenure.

When last year’s Gallup-Purdue Index showed Purdue faculty have historically been poor at mentoring students, Trustees insisted a metric measuring faculty-student engagement be included in the tenure decision-making process.

Purdue University

Mitch Daniels has tried to make his time as Purdue President about student affordability – so this month in our regular conversation with him, we ask about the plans from three people who’d also like to be president – of the United States.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the former Republican governor doesn’t have rave reviews for education savings plans from the top three contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Purdue University

Charter schools have been one of the most divisive education issues of the last decade in Indiana education circles. But on today’s monthly conversation with Purdue president Mitch Daniels, he calls criticism of them “rubbish” as he explains why the school needs one to recruit more black students.

As Purdue has recruited more international and out-of-state students to balance out its tuition freezes, imbalances in the student body have emerged. Some of them are attendance-based – there are a lot of Asian students and few African-Americans.

Purdue University

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says he’s allocating more money for higher education in this year’s spending plan so, in his words, colleges won’t have to raise tuition. That was music to the ears of Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who’s pushed a tuition freeze for the three years he’s been in office. On this month’s conversation with him, we ask what influence he had on getting the state to push for the same changes Purdue has made.

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One of the paradoxes of trying to simplify a process undertaken by a large organization is that the steps necessary to accomplish that are rarely simple themselves.

That’s what Purdue leaders found out recently when they tried to change the school’s policy concerning employee time off.

On this month’s conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, we’ll dig into the whys and wherefores of that decision, and into the pitfalls the committee studying it has encountered.

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It’s a new year and Purdue’s president has a couple resolutions:

He’d like to expand the student body by several hundred students per class. Where they’ll all be taught figures into the second resolution: use space more efficiently.

On this month’s conversation with Mitch Daniels, we talk about the next chapter in the president’s push to streamline the university.

Also on the program, a brief talk about racism on campus, in the wake of protests late last year that went all the way to Daniels’ office seeking answers about how to improve behavior on campus.

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Purdue’s President is teaching a class for the first time this semester. But recently, it was he who got a grade – an 88%, about a B+ -- from the university’s board of trustees for the metrics which affect his merit pay.

On this month’s conversation with Mitch Daniels, we ask if his grade was fair and how he evaluates his own performance.

We also chat about India – it’s a huge market and one Purdue already has connections to through its student base and some of its top administrators. But not that many American students intern there.

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