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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Passing the Torch: Elsenbaumer to Take Over as New Chancellor


Photo credit: Kody Kieler

Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 26, 2017

By: Ben Bailey

A new chancellor will begin at IPFW  Nov. 1.

In an email to the campus community on Sept. 21, Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced that Ronald Elsenbaumer will replace Vicky Carwein as chancellor of IPFW.

Carwein, who has been Chancellor of IPFW for five years, announced on April 5 that she would be retiring from her position by the end of the year.

The Chancellor Search Committee, led by Purdue University trustee Gary Lehman, narrowed the field of candidates to four candidates in July.

“To ensure the voices of a variety of constituents were taken into account during the search, the committee had faculty and student representation,” Brian Zink, Senior Director of News and Information for Purdue University, told The Communicator via email in Sept. “Additionally, the campus community was able to provide feedback throughout the process in general, and could also submit feedback after each finalist visited campus and made presentations. Students were invited to attend the finalist presentations and offered the opportunity to share feedback.”

The list of the final four candidates for the position included Carl Drummond who is currently the vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management at IPFW.

Other candidates included Dan Hirleman, chief corporate and global partnerships officer at Purdue University and Martin Abraham, provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Youngstown State University.

According to the search committee’s official webpage, the new chancellor must lead the university in “articulating a clear vision, set of values, and priorities for the institution,advancing academic quality, student success, and affordability,” and more.

“Dr. Elsenbaumer’s strong record of academic leadership and industry understanding was a major factor,” Lehman said in a press release.

Last year, a campus realignment that detailed the split of IPFW and Purdue University’s taking over of most campus operations was finalized.

This controversial process led the Fort Wayne Senate, composed of IPFW faculty, to publish a “Vote of No Confidence” in Chancellor Vicky Carwein.

However, Elsenbaumer said he is unintimidated by these situations.

“Make no mistake, most are well aware of the challenges facing us ahead, but together, I am confident we will address them and position the university as the go-to resource in the region,” Elsenbaumer said.“An important mandate for all academic institutions is for them to embrace a culture of continual improvement in every dimension of their operations.”

In the email announcing Elsenbaumer’s appointment, Daniels said he is confident of Elsenbaumer’s ability to overcome these circumstances.

“This is a pivotal time for the Fort Wayne campus, and I have absolute confidence that Ron is the right person to lead us wisely and boldly into the future,” he said.

Q & A with Dr. Elsenbaumer

Why did you apply for this position?

This position represented for me a wonderful opportunity to both get back and give back to the Purdue University System, where it all started for me.  It is a rare, exciting and obviously a challenging opportunity to help build and shape an institution.  To become Purdue Fort Wayne’s first leader offers tremendous potential.  I know that what can be accomplished together will have a lasting impact for years to come.  That’s a legacy few get to establish.

What are your goals as Chancellor?

The most important accomplishment we can all hope for is to have the university community and its stakeholders rally around a shared sense of purpose that embraces student success, enrollment growth, community engagement, and economic development for the Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana region.

What do you want members of the community to know about yourself?

 I am here to be your partner, your trusted partner, in all that we do.  I have always been successful by listening, learning and working toward collaborative goals.  In this regard, it is important to recognize and value the input and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders.

What are you looking forward to about this campus?

 The most exciting aspect of being at Purdue Fort Wayne is working with its highly dedicated and devoted faculty, staff and students.  Thus far, everyone I have met, both on and off campus has shown genuine enthusiasm and appears to be incredibly motivated to see the university succeed beyond expectations.  Make no mistake, most are well aware of the challenges facing us ahead, but together, I am confident we will address them and position the university as the go-to resource in the region.

 In your mind, where do you see IPFW in 5 years?

 I would like to see among our goals and stretch goals in the next 5 years, greatly increasing enrollments, building the endowment, improving student success with greater efficiency of degree production, ensuring students graduate with marketable career skills, robust career placement for graduates, and seamless integration of the university with the Fort Wayne civic and business community.


Elsenbaumer will begin at IPFW Nov. 1.
Courtesy Photo