Written by: Zachary D. Elick
Chancellor Vicky Carwein plans to retire sometime in 2017, she said yesterday in an email sent to the campus community.
Carwein, who has served as chancellor of IPFW since 2012, did not give an exact date for when she will be retiring. She said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels would first like her “to complete a number of projects that are in process.”
Daniels would also like Carwein to stay on until a replacement for her position is found, she said.
Most of the projects Carwein needs to complete involve the planned realignment of IPFW, which will split the campus into two separate universities and go into effect July 1, 2018, she said.
As a part of the realignment plan, Purdue will be taking over all programs on campus except for nursing, medical imaging and dental education, which will transfer to Indiana University.
“Despite the uncertainty of continual studies of governance during my tenure and enrollment and financial challenges, the outstanding work of faculty and staff, success of students and graduates, and significant institutional impact upon the community and region have been advanced and will continue to grow into the future,” Carwein said. “I am proud of the many accomplishments over these past years and know they foretell a bright and prosperous future for this campus as it transitions wholly to Purdue University.”
In another statement also released yesterday, Daniels showed gratitude toward Carwein for facing some tough obstacles during her tenure.
“The chancellor came to IPFW at a challenging time, and I thank her for her commitment to addressing serious financial problems and for making tough decisions to put the campus on more stable footing,” Daniels said.
One of these challenges was a five-year slump in enrollment, which led to IPFW’s decision to cut several programs and departments, while restructuring others. The cuts were influenced by the findings of the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP) report that was released earlier in the year.
However, Carwein’s reaction to the USAP report helped motivate the IPFW Faculty Senate to pass a vote of “no confidence” in her leadership abilities last November. The resolution passed in a 27-12 vote, with five members abstaining.
A few weeks before the resolution, IPFW faculty released their own “no confidence” statement, a six-page document that called for Carwein to step down as chancellor.
“I think there was and likely still is a great deal of frustration amongst the faculty with the direction the university has gone over the past few years,” presiding officer for the IPFW Faculty Senate and history professor Jeffrey Malanson said over the phone. “Members of the faculty at-large and members of the Senate felt that this past fall was the time to express the faculty opinion on that matter.”
Malanson said that having a new chancellor might provide an opportunity for the university to “turn a new page.” But this aim will only come true if the next chancellor is someone who is willing to listen to what the faculty, students and the community think is in IPFW’s best interests, he said.
This new chancellor will have some pretty daunting challenges in front of them as well, Malanson said.
“(IPFW) is in the middle of a realignment — IU and Purdue are in the middle of splitting things up. So, whoever comes in is going to face the challenges associated with all that,” he said. “So, I think there will continue to be frustrations and continue to be concerns, but I think the hope is that whoever comes will be able to lead the university forward past our recent years of struggle and towards a bright new future.”
Carwein’s email in full is below:
Dear (campus community),
I write to share a decision I made and shared with President Daniels last summer, that is, my retirement as Chancellor in 2017. The specific date of my retirement has not been set as President Daniels has asked me to complete a number of projects that are in process, many related to realignment, and to remain until the search for a new chancellor has been concluded.
Despite the uncertainty of continual studies of governance during my tenure and enrollment and financial challenges, the outstanding work of faculty and staff, success of students and graduates, and significant institutional impact upon the community and region have been advanced and will continue to grow into the future. I am proud of the many accomplishments over these past years and know they foretell a bright and prosperous future for this campus as it transitions wholly to Purdue University. It has been my honor to have met and worked with so many faculty and staff who demonstrate their commitment to student success every single day and go well beyond what is required in service to our students. You will lead this institution to even more successes in the future.
I have had the great fortune and opportunity throughout my career to work with people who had a real fire to make things happen, to distinguish their institutions in new and progressive ways, to change the world, and they did. It is one of my greatest sources of satisfaction and pride to count these individuals as colleagues and friends and to have shared in the achievements.
This institution has before it an unparalleled opportunity to re-envision itself, building upon its 50+ years standing in northeast Indiana, and create a truly distinguished future. I thank all of you here and in the community who have the fire and sense of urgency needed to accomplish this and for the privilege of working with you. I thank you for the inspiration you bring and for your commitment to a strong, prosperous and thriving future. The preparation work to launch that future will soon be completed. I am excited about the opportunities your new chancellor will have to lead Purdue Fort Wayne into the next 50 years.
I look forward to continuing the work over the next few to several months and wish you all the very best!