Regional Chamber comes out in favor of IPFW realignment

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  The Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana has come out in favor of a recommendation to realign IPFW into two separate universities with Purdue controlling a majority of the campus.

The Legislative Services Agency (LSA), made up of representatives from Purdue, Indiana University, IPFW and members of the area’s business community issued the recommendation last Friday.  The Indiana General Assembly commissioned the LSA in the spring of 2015 to conduct a study of the role and governance of IPFW.  The goal being to suggest ways to enhance the university’s impact on the economic and overall well-being of northeast Indiana.

The report proposes that Purdue become the sole governing entity, managing offices and programs, with Indiana University maintaining its medical school and overseeing the health science and medical education programs. Indiana University would also establish an inter-professional health sciences center.

On Tuesday, the IPFW Faculty Senate called the study flawed and voted against the proposal.

On Thursday, the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana’s board of directors came out with an endorsement of the recommendation, stating it “would better align IPFW’s curriculum with the needs of Northeast Indiana’s job creators.”

According to an email detailing the endorsement, the Regional Chamber’s 17 member board includes executives from several of northeast Indiana’s largest employers representing manufacturing, healthcare, retail, construction, financial services and higher education.

“Businesses and manufacturers tell us a shortage of engineering school graduates, and particularly those with advanced degrees, constrains their ability to grow in Northeast Indiana,“ Regional Chamber Executive Director Vince Buchanan is quoted as saying in the email.

The LSA recommendation does not have any short-term impact on students, faculty or staff according to IPFW.

At Friday’s recommendation announcement, IPFW officials said the recommendations will be evaluated in the coming weeks. That evaluation will involve discussion, negotiation and sorting through details to develop a plan for how best to move forward.


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