Friday’s announcement of a new president at Purdue University came as a shock to faculty members who were overwhelmed by the transformation. Now they are charging Purdue for conducting a secret presidential investigation that calls into question the administration’s promise of transparency.
Although faculty members acknowledge that the new president, Mung Chiang, now the dean of Purdue’s College of Engineering, has impressive credentials, they have accused the board of trustees and outgoing President Mitch Daniels of violating shared university governance rules by bypassing an open search process. They further noted that Purdue officials gave little explanation as to why the university had gone through a secret presidential election process, a move they felt was unsuitable for a public institution.
Chiang is set to begin Jan. 1 after Daniels officially resigns
Purdue remains tight-lipped on the subject, revealing some precise information as to why it chose a secret search. But one thing that seems clear from the university’s statement is that the administrators have been keeping an eye on Chiang for a while.
Tim Dotty, a spokesman for Purdue, said in an email that the trustees had been “closely monitoring Dean Chiang’s performance and readiness for several years – a role that was deliberately expanded at that time to test his leadership ability at various levels.” [Michael] Berghoff made it clear that the board would have conducted a formal inquiry if it had been less than fully confident.
While the search may upset proponents of transparency, it falls within Indiana law.
“Indiana law empowers the Purdue Board of Trustees to elect the president of the university. Discussions on the previous presidential election processes in Purdue have been conducted by the board in executive sessions, which are not open to the public. It’s both traditional and approved in Indiana, “Doty explained in an email Inside higher ed.
Chiang, who spent 14 years in various roles at Princeton University, has been in Purdue for five years. In April 2021, he was promoted to executive vice president for strategic initiatives, a move designed to assess Chiang’s leadership ability, according to Purdue’s statement.
Although the timeline for the investigation is unclear, Daniels indicated “sometime last year” that he was interested in ending his term soon, Berghoff said at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, where the presidential transition was announced. But according to Berghoff, Daniels officially decided to retire in April.
“In April, after our board meeting, he informed the board that he had decided to retire later this year. That’s when we decided to make an oral election to Dean Munge, “Berghoff said Friday.
At Friday’s meeting, Daniels said it would be difficult to find another board of trustees who had approached the president’s inquiry “more thoroughly, carefully, thoughtfully and methodically,” noting that they were prepared to look elsewhere if they did not. Identify the ideal candidate.
But Purdue has yet to reveal much detail about the search, which took into account the number of internal candidates, a question. Inside higher ed Asked but got no answer.
Daniels added that Chiang’s role in Purdue was deliberately expanded, indicating that Chiang was well-considered for the job before Daniels formally told the board in April that he planned to retire. Notably, Chiang, an early runner on the recent University of South Carolina presidential search, noted his responsibility to his family and Purdue when he dropped out in December.
Leigh Raymond, professor of political science in Purdue and president of the Purdue-West Lafayette chapter of the American Association of University Professors, noted that the April-to-June timeline would make for a brief search. He suspects that Chiang was previously identified as Daniels’ successor – perhaps Daniels chose to run for president.
Raymond Daniels and an “activist” have accused the board of trustees of undermining the ruling regime in a decision that would undermine Chiang’s legitimacy as president.
“Many of us, of course I, do not know the new president. He is the Dean of Engineering. He is clearly a successful academic – this is important. But we have been deprived of the opportunity to even know him or even hear from him, what his vision for Purdue is, moving forward, “said Raymond.
Raymond and other AAUP members have stated that they want an open inquiry with faculty input, and they see the absence of such a process as an attack on the principle of shared governance. Raymond said he was “surprised” and “in disbelief” when the rent was announced last week. The problem with the faculty, he insisted, was not with Chiang but with the exclusionary recruitment process.
“It seems clear to me that if you are going to choose a new leader for a large public university, you will want to get input from the faculty or the people who really run the university, the people at their heart. University. The lack of an inclusive process where faculty can provide input is a real concern, ”said Raymond. “Even without going into the problems that Pardu is facing right now, choosing a new leader is not something that happens every day. And the whole campus community should have a chance to help the board understand that the issues we see are important for the university to move forward. ”
Other AAUP members echoed Raymond’s concerns, accusing Daniels and the board of trustees of bypassing faculty input over the years and imposing unilaterally influential decisions on the university.
David Detmar, president of the Purdue Northwest chapter, said the lack of faculty consultation on important decisions was a disturbing pattern during Daniels’ presidency.
“In 2014, President Daniels and the Board of Trustees ordered the merger of the two Purdue Universities পার Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central. When the faculty senate of Purdue Calumet passed a resolution calling for further study before making this critical decision, the faculty’s recommendation was rejected, “Detmar said in an AAUP Purdue statement.
Outside the Purdue campus, the National AAUP has condemned the lack of transparency in the investigation.
The AAUP is shocked to learn that the next president of Purdue University has been unilaterally elected by the Purdue University Board of Trustees following a closed and unannounced process. The appointment was announced on Friday, June 10, without the participation of representatives from the faculty or other campus constituencies, as a coincidence, “the AAUP statement read in part.
In addition, the agency noted that a 2021 AAUP survey “found that 5.6 percent of doctoral institutions involved faculty in their recent presidential inquiry.”
Daniels is set to retire from Purdue after a 10-year run. He rejoined the university in 2013 after two terms as Republican governor of Indiana. His legacy, which includes a decade of freezing tuition and expanding Purdue’s online offerings by purchasing a fast-profit Kaplan University, has both been praised and reprimanded.
Critics of Daniels noted that he was hired in a more transparent কিন্তু but still incomplete প্রক্র process. Although the board conducted an open inquiry 10 years ago, Daniels, as governor, appointed some trustees who pressed for his hire as president.
The findings of President Daniels were still a public inquiry with a publicly announced inquiry committee, although Daniels’ selection was originally imposed by the board on the search committee. He was their first choice. It was not an ideal process in terms of transparency, but at least a process, an inquiry committee and an idea that there was a public discussion at the university level about what we were looking for a new president. Dr. “This is another dramatic step in the wrong direction.”