Chancellor Thomas L. Keon Takes Measure of Progress on Merger

gIn the 8th month of a groundbreaking merger of two campuses into a single university, Chancellor Thomas L. Keon took the measure of progress at Purdue University Northwest. Named a Fellow for inspiring this achievement of unifying Purdue Calumet in partnership with now retired Chancellor James Dworkin of Purdue North Central, this innovative model is among a handful of mergers of this nature. At the heart of making this the 5th largest university with 15,000 students in Indiana is tied to his view that geographic areas that drive innovation and economic development are linked to major universities. In his review, he cited three factors to measure progress. First is student success. He noted that of 1300 students that started, 87% have elected to continue into the spring semester, aided by advisors at both campuses. “I’m extraordinarily pleased with the number of students who have chosen to return.” Secondly, he cited the contributions of faculty and staff. With a team of 1551 colleagues, he is monitoring concerns and complaints. He added that instituting an ombudsperson has resolved 90% of the concerns at the east and west campuses. “Fortunately, the number has not been different than the past and in some instances far fewer.” Thirdly, he takes a “a soft but important measure’ of what he describes as continuous improvement. “With students in mind, we never want to say we are just ‘good enough.’”

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