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Carwein vows to remain at IPFW

November 22, 2016

A vote of no confidence in IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein was approved Monday by the Faculty Senate after nearly half of the school’s tenured faculty signed a petition to oust her.

In addition, the Senate approved a resolution that seeks to reinstate academic programs the administration last month had targeted for closure to save money.

After the vote, Carwein sent an email to the campus community stating her intention to stay. Purdue University board Chairman Michael Berghoff and President Mitch Daniels issued a statement of support as did Carwein’s four vice chancellors.

“President Daniels and the Purdue Board of Trustees have communicated to me their support and their desire that I remain as Chancellor given anticipated changes and those currently in process,” Carwein’s email says. “I intend to do so.”

The no-confidence resolution passed 27-12 with five abstentions, said Jeffrey Malanson, presiding officer of the Faculty Senate and an associate professor of history.

A six-page document titled “A Faculty Notice of No Confidence in Chancellor Carwein” had circulated since last month for tenured faculty to sign. It charged that Carwein failed to adequately represent the interests of the campus in studies that have led to the suspension of several programs and a proposal to split the school into two colleges.

The school has about 225 tenured faculty, Malanson said. Of those, 108 signed the notice, as did five emeritus faculty members.

Indiana University and Purdue have an agreement to run IPFW, with Purdue providing administrative oversight.

A recommendation released in January from a state-mandated Legislative Services Agency study would split IPFW into two schools based on Indiana and Purdue university strengths. IU would oversee medical and health programs, while Purdue would oversee the remaining programs.

In May the “University Strategic Alignment Process,” an internal study of the school’s future, recommended restructuring 13 academic departments. In October, Purdue administrators ordered IPFW officials to complete those recommendations. Afterward, Carl Drummond, IPFW’s vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management, identified the programs to be suspended.

Departments of geology, philosophy and women’s studies will be eliminated Jan. 1. Degree programs in French and German are among those to end. In addition, some departments will be merged. Degree programs in environmental geology and environmental policy have already been eliminated.

Monday’s resolution states that Carwein failed to adequately represent IPFW’s interests to the Purdue trustees, had not taken adequate steps to address budget challenges “in a strategic manner,” and ignored her commitment to a multiyear restructuring process.

In prepared statements to the Faculty Senate on Monday, Carwein said she realized within months after becoming chancellor in 2012 her tenure “would be a very difficult and tumultuous one.”

“Long-standing unorthodox financial practices, large budget deficits, top down and unilateral decision making, a culture of isolationism, intimidation as a model of interpersonal communication, and a lack of transparency about most campus operations quickly came to light,” she said before listing accomplishments. A “truly inclusive” strategic plan, designation by the Indiana General Assembly as a metropolitan university and transparency in operations and finances, were among them.

But hiring Carwein was wrong, Andrew Downs, IU faculty speaker, said in his prepared statements to the Faculty Senate. Downs acknowledged voting against hiring Carwein as a member of a campus search committee.

Downs gave Carwein credit for a budgeting process that is becoming clearer, some decentralized decision-making and a move to have clerical and administrative employees play a bigger role in decision-making, but not much else.

“The few good things that the chancellor has been responsible for do not outweigh the bad.” Downs said. “I have no confidence in Vicky Carwein’s ability to articulate a vision for IPFW. I have no confidence in Vicky Carwein’s ability to support efforts that move us toward a vision. I have no confidence in Vicky Carwein’s ability and willingness to advocate for IPFW with Purdue University, or to engage with Indiana University in any meaningful way. In short, I will be supporting the vote of no confidence.”

In their statement, Purdue’s Berghoff and Daniels credited Carwein with the University Strategic Alignment Process to address “declining enrollment and unsustainable costs.”

“We would lack confidence in any chancellor who did not take the necessary steps to implement such a plan, and we strongly support the Chancellor’s determined efforts to do so,” they said.

rshawgo@jg.net