Purdue University says it sees great potential for expanding its presence in Indianapolis as part of the IUPUI revamp announced Friday, which will give both Purdue and Indiana University autonomous identities in the state capital.
On Friday, the Purdue and IU boards of trustees approved a new agreement that will rename much of IUPUI Indiana University Indianapolis.
As part of the agreement, Purdue will continue to operate in Indianapolis, but will do so under the Purdue name — with plans to increase the city’s enrollment by at least 1,000 and possibly more, as well as expand or place several programs in Indy.
“Many of us at Purdue have felt for years that we would like to have a larger, more visible and hopefully more impactful presence here in Indianapolis, but the current structure has not allowed us to do that,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels at a press conference Friday afternoon.
The changes, which Purdue and IU describe as a realignment, are expected to be completed by the start of the 2024/2025 school year. As the process has just begun, many details are still being worked out.
Among those details, Purdue has yet to decide what it will call its Indianapolis operations.
But the school says it plans to open a branch of its Applied Research Institute on or near the current IUPUI campus. Purdue will also assume responsibility for the engineering, computer science and technology programs at what is now IUPUI.
And Purdue and IU will also collaborate on a new biosciences engineering institute in Indianapolis.
Currently, IUPUI graduates earn either an IU degree or a Purdue degree, depending on their program of study. Under this setup, IUPUI’s enrollment includes about 5,000 Purdue students and about 26,000 IU students.
Purdue’s original goal is to increase its enrollment in Indianapolis by 1,000 students, but “I really hope it turns into a lot more,” Daniels told the IBJ after the press conference.
Daniels said Indianapolis could be a good location for Purdue’s yearlong co-op programs, in which students gain real-world work experience by completing alternating periods of work and study.
Typically, Daniels said, participating in a co-op extends a student’s time in school by an additional year because the co-op experience may involve working at a company far from Purdue’s campus.
But having a co-op site in Indianapolis, Daniels said, could allow students to complete their work experience more quickly because both their academics and their work experience would be in the same city.
Another potential option could be for Purdue students to spend their entire four-year college career in Indianapolis.
Either way, the expanded presence will give Purdue the chance to offer a big-city experience to those who want it, Purdue president-elect Mung Chiang said.
“This creates exciting urban opportunities for students and faculty at Purdue,” said Chang, who assumes the role starting Jan. 1.
Now that the realignment has been made public, Daniels said, Purdue plans to reach out to its students and find out what options they would like. “We’ll see who’s hotter.”
As for IU, that university said it envisions expanding the existing Kelley School of Business and IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering programs in Indianapolis.
IU President Pam Wheaton said her school is not yet prepared to talk about what its specific goals might be for expanding enrollment in Indianapolis. IU will begin addressing that topic and other aspects of realignment next week, she said.