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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Q&A With Eric Norman, Dean of Students

Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 08, 2014

Currently serving his fourth year at IPFW as the Dean of Student Affairs, Eric Norman’s job requires overseeing almost every aspect of a student’s experience. He describes his duties as crises, conduct, counseling, childcare, career services, accommodation, assessment, and much more. With credentials and experience from institutions such as Washington College, University of Delaware, Delaware Tech Community College, Virginia Tech, and LSU, Dean Norman offers IPFW a unique perspective. That is why we went to him with questions gathered from students around campus. You asked. He answered.

Why are there parking spaces blocked off? 

Right now we do have some spaces blocked off for the contractors who are working around campus. I would say once all this is done that will definitely take care of that. The reality is this institution has more parking than any that I’ve worked at and it’s free. It’s amazing the number of parking spaces that are available here. For example, at another institution, I would pay a large sum of money to go to a designated lot with a gate and a lot of the time parking was unavailable. My advice to people would be to park in parking garage 3, there are always spots available there.

What can you tell us about the bridge that is planned to connect our campus to Ivy Tech? Why is it necessary? Is this implying a stronger relationship between the two schools?

I believe that it is supposed to be done by 2016. I think we have a pretty strong relationship with Ivy Tech to begin with. We do have students that toggle between the two campuses and that’s a major road that they’re trying to get across. Part of this is safety and part of this is establishing a stronger relationship, which is already pretty good to begin with. And we want to allow the progression for students being able to move forward from that campus over here once they’ve finished their schooling there. They can only get their associates there so there is that natural connection. Finish your program here. While also still providing that measure of safety.

The fact that drivers have to wait for groups of students coming from Housing to cross the road before class causes a lot of traffic. Is there anything being done to alleviate that issue?

As far as the walkway that cuts across the road, it’s actually going to be reconfigured so the students will walk underneath the road, that’s pending as one of the projects as well. So to answer your question, that will be alleviated. I don’t know the timeline for that, but I know that is in the works.

Why are Modular Classroom Buildings being built instead of real buildings?

The modular classroom buildings we inherited. They were part of Ivy Tech’s campus. They weren’t using them, so we had the ability to procure them. I actually love them. You have your opinion of how it’s going to be and then you walk in and think this is actually pretty good. They’re insulated, they are nice big rooms, and parking is easily available there at parking garage three. I think they are a wonderful addition to campus.

How do you feel about the current relationship between IPFW, IU, and Purdue?

For me, I get to work with both respective entities, Purdue and IU, and the reality is I had connections way before I even came here. I had personal relationships that kind of greased the skids for me. And for us, we are able to tap into some of the different resources both those institutions have. Beyond that, that’s beyond my area. I do get to do different programming with them. I just came back from a meeting with someone from IU for their intellectual disabilities initiative. So I like being able to draw upon them. I find it very handy.

Is IPFW planning to ever become its own university?

We don’t even have the ability to make that call, of becoming our own university. That would have to be the higher education administration, and IU and Purdue would have to make that decision. So could it happen? Anything is possible. I don’t think that’s something in the works right now. IU and Purdue are having discussions about the administration, so we’ll just let them do that.

Do you have any questions for the students or faculty?

How else can we best serve them?

Is there anything else that you would like to tell students or faculty?

I think students are afraid to come up to me. I want to know folks. I want to know what makes people tick. I want to know why you’re here. I want to know what you want out of this experience so I can best guide you. If I don’t know that, I can’t help you. But, I’ve met some amazing students here.


Story by: Mikaela Conley