|Mitch Daniels, 12th President |
of Purdue University
“A real strategy is defined by what it leaves out,” Daniels said. “If you can’t name some important choices that were not included, it’s probably not a very good guide because you can’t try to do everything.”
The president criticized the 2008-2014 Strategic Plan as too broad and, though he agreed Purdue met the goals of the previous plan – “Launching Tomorrow’s Leaders, Discovery With Delivery and Meeting Global Challenges” – he cited his plan for moving forward as one that addresses the problem facing all of higher education now: staying relevant in the appearance of emerging alternatives.
“It’s hard to make change when everything seems to be working so well. Why would we change?
That’s always the attitude that prevails in an incumbent industry or business where the better things have gone, the harder it is to accept that maybe tomorrow won’t look like yesterday,” Daniels said. “I like our chances. I see this as an opportunity for Purdue to separate from the pack.”
Initiatives like the new three-year degree and the competency-based degree are programs he thinks the University needs to consider. He foresees future retention as being based on multiple alternatives and trying new ways of attaining degrees to help students move through a traditional system in a nontraditional way.
“If you read, and I have, what happened to once-proud industries and businesses and institutions that finally got taken out by some new competitor, quite often a new technological breakthrough, the experts will all say the hardest thing to do is make change from the inside,” he said, speaking on the rise in popularity of online degree programs and lower-cost community colleges.
He said many individuals are pushing the “pajama test” theory in which the world’s leading scholars are available at your fingertips from the comfort of your living room. Competing against emerging degree-earning methods such as this is a challenge, but one Daniels feels he is ready to meet.
His investments for 2015 and beyond include investing in what we know, and what we can excel at. Coupled with his other initiative of halting the progress of what he calls the “tuition escalator,” the future for the University is looking strong.
“We want to be world-class. So it has to be something we are real good at today ... It (also) has to be something with genuine impact,” he said. “If we really are the place where great breakthroughs are made, the world will be much better.”
Source: Purdue Exponent