Dworkin: Unification, New Name Will Help Create Regional “Powerhouse” at Purdue Northwest

By: Tim Moran Last Updated: July 18, 2014

james-dworkion-mugPurdue University North Central Chancellor James Dworkin said the unification between PNC and Purdue University Calumet will create “a powerhouse in the northwest part of the state” and that both campuses will be “stronger through unification” shortly after the Purdue University trustees selected "Purdue Northwest" as the name of the unified university.

Once unification is complete, the two campus locations will be respectively identified as the Purdue University Northwest-Calumet campus and the Purdue University Northwest-North Central campus.

“The current student transition will be seamless and they will continue to attend the campus they already. Our goal is to have one University with two very strong campuses,” Dworkin said.

The name selection of Purdue Northwest, which Dworkin said will likely be referred to as “PNW,” was the result of a three-month process that first solicited surveys seeking suggestions for a new name. The three names suggested most often, “Northwest,” “North” and “Lakeshore,” were presented to the board of trustees, who came back with “strong support” for the Northwest name, Dworkin said.

Purdue University Calumet Chancellor Thomas Keon said more than $550,000 in savings has been made in the last three months since implementations have been made following the Trustees' February decision to unify the two northern campuses. .

“The plan is to save through natural attrition because the whole process will take about 2-3 years to complete,” he said, noting that 5-6 positions that formerly had two individuals serving now only have one. "We anticipate the majority of the savings will occur through attrition." 

Dworkin cited the example of Sarah Howard, the Vice Chancellor of Information Services and Technology at Purdue Calumet who now oversees the department at both campuses under the unification plan since a replacement was not needed when the same position opened at PNC.

Programs offered at the two campuses will remain the same for now and prospective students will still pick one campus through the application process, with the goal to offer them to go to both depending on their programs of interest. Keon pointed out an example of early childhood education, which is offered only at PNC.

“We also have about 20 degrees that are identical in title, so hopefully faculty will work through each program to make them the same on both campuses with the idea that the student is probably only going to go to one or the other, but with the opportunity to have classes at both,” Dworkin said.

“We have a chance now to have one person in a position instead of two,” Dworkin said. “Having to dish out one salary instead of two saves money that has been used for faculty and student success purposes.”

Utilizing “one single platform and banner” will also add to increased savings through the merger, Keon added.

The name's adoption will be phased in over the next two years as work continues to unify administrative oversight functions into one central office and provide opportunities for students to seamlessly pursue degree programs at either campus location. For now, Purdue University Northwest will be used in activities connected with the continued unification plan. Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central will begin to market academic programs as one regional campus after gaining accreditation to do so by the Higher Learning Commission.

The target date for completion of unification is July 1, 2016. The unification will include a formal plan that will be presented to trustees at a later meeting.

Programs offered at the two campuses will remain the same for now and prospective students will still pick one campus through the application process, with the goal to offer them to go to both depending on their programs of interest. Keon pointed out an example of early childhood education, which is offered only at PNC. With the unification, a student enrolled at the Calumet campus will be given the opportunity to take classes in that field at the North Central campus. 

“We also have about 20 degrees that are identical in title, so hopefully faculty will work through each program to make them the same on both campuses with the idea that the student is probably only going to go to one or the other, but with the opportunity to have classes at both,” Dworkin said.

Current students will not see their curriculum, coursework or graduation requirements change. Incoming students will still apply and enroll at the campus location of their choice.

In addition to approving the name, trustees authorized the two chancellors to develop a new logo and to create new nomenclature to distinguish the existing regional campus references.