Home Faculty meeting National group representing college professors calls Purdue’s presidential hiring process ‘disturbing’

National group representing college professors calls Purdue’s presidential hiring process ‘disturbing’

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A national group representing university professors call Purdue University presidential hiring process “disturbing.”

Last week, the successor to current chairman Mitch Daniels was announced at the board meeting. This announcement came as a surprise to the three chapters of the Purdue American Association of University Professors, who issued statements criticizing the process to be secret and not allow teachers to contribute.

Now the national branch of the AAUP has weighed in – noting how unusual it is not to include professors in the decision.

Mark Criley works in the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance at AAUP. He said a The 2021 survey revealed that 94% of doctoral institutions involved faculty in presidential research.

“It’s a very rare thing in all four-year colleges, but especially in doctoral institutions. It’s a widely shared standard, and I think it reflects the importance of involving faculty,” he said.

Criticizing the decision, local AAUP chapters noted that no strict rules regarding the presidential selection process had been violated – but said the board had strayed from long-standing standards.

Criley said faculty participation in a presidential selection should be guaranteed by more than just standards.

“The fact that it’s left to standards in many cases is part of the problem,” he said. “We would like to see more institutions that incorporate this into their statutes – the involvement of the different components of the university.”

In academic institutions, these standards seem to be changing somewhat. The AAUP last conducted a survey asking if faculty were involved in the presidential hiring process in 2001. In response, 93% of universities said they were. By 2021, that number had fallen to 88% (the 2001 survey did not distinguish between four-year institutions, so it is unclear exactly how doctoral institutions like Purdue have changed).

“It’s very disconcerting to us on our principles,” Criley said. “It should be true that the governing components of the university work together to make these selections.”

A Purdue University spokesperson did not respond to the WBAA’s request for comment.