The appointment of its chancellor as administrative leader of the emerging Purdue University Northwest, academic program milestones and wide-ranging student achievements highlighted 2015 for Purdue University Calumet.
Unification & emergence of Purdue Northwest
The unification of Purdue Calumet and Westville-based Purdue University North Central into Purdue University Northwest progressed during the year, highlighted by the appointment of Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas Keon as Chancellor-Designate of the evolving institution.
Keon has headed Purdue Calumet since 2011 and will continue to do so until Purdue University Northwest officially comes into existence July 1, 2016, pending Higher Learning Commission approval.
Other key unification progress made during 2015 includes a plan to organize Calumet and North Central academic programs into six Purdue Northwest colleges, ongoing collaboration of campus programs and services, and the selection of “Pride” as the Purdue Northwest athletic mascot.
Academic program milestones
- The College of Business earned accreditation from the world’s premier business accrediting body—the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Fewer than 5 percent of business colleges worldwide have achieved AACSB International accreditation.
- Purdue Calumet’s College of Nursing commemorated a half century of educating nurses and health care leaders during its “50 years of Nursing Leadership and Innovation” celebration last fall. The College, which facilitates baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degree programs, is among just 35 nationally to be recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing.
- Purdue Calumet’s undergraduate engineering program ranked among the top 50 nationally, according to methodology used by US News & World Report.
- Thanks to lead efforts by Purdue Calumet Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Principal Investigator Shuhui (Grace) Yang, the university was designated a “Research Experiences for Undergraduates” site by the National Science Foundation. As a designated REU site, Purdue Calumet is hosting a nine-week summer program of research activities for 10 selected undergraduate students nationwide for three years through 2017. The program is designed to inspire students of underrepresented minorities and/or from institutions with limited research opportunities and resources to pursue advanced education and professional careers in computer and information science and engineering fields. Purdue Calumet students Holly Markovich, Hamed Mojtahed and Kyle William Riordan of Munster and Arturo Saavedra of Schererville were selected to participate in last summer’s initial program.
- The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated Purdue Calumet a Center for Academic Excellence for Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.
- Before graduating last spring, Jonathan Wilson of Merrillville, became the first Purdue Calumet student to receive a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award. As a participant in the flagship educational exchange program, Wilson traveled to western Africa in October to spend nine months teaching English to students of various ages and backgrounds.
- Spring graduates Brittany Komacsar of Schererville and Julissa Lopez of Crown Point earned one of psychology’s most prestigious undergraduate research award—the Stanford Prize—at the Stanford (Calif.) University Undergraduate Psychology Conference last spring. Two Stanford Prizes were awarded from entries of 1,000+ student researchers worldwide. The project of Komacsar and Lopez is titled, “Cognitive Tasks and Decision making: The Effect of Cognitive Stress on Choice.”
- Another psychology student, senior Ashley Douglass of Merrillville, was among 12 students selected to participate last summer in the National Science Foundation’s Summer Research Experience at the University of Missouri. During her two-month experience, Douglass explored how the human brain remembers different types of information.
- Senior English major Daniel Mitchell of Griffith earned first and second places in the Broadcast Education Association’s 2015 Festival of Media Arts competition Script Writing division.
- A video presentation created by engineering graduate student and research assistant in the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation Alrazy Sonet of Bangladesh won the grand prize at the Association for Iron & Steel Technology’s AISTech 2015 conference. His presentation about the steel industry is titled, “Steel Backbone of the Universe.”
- Marriage and family therapy students Song “Audrey” Paik of Athens, Ga. and Bridget Sanchez of Streamwood, Ill. received federally funded fellowships to participate last summer in a national initiative, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to provide mental health services to racially and ethnically diverse populations.
- A university record-setting 329 students presented research projects during last spring’s Student Research Day on campus.
- Purdue Calumet graduates earned more than 1,900 degrees during 2015.
Faculty & staff achievements
- Associate Professor of Political Science Meg Rincker of Frankfort, Ill., (Teaching), White Lodging Professor of Finance Pat Obi of Munster (Scholar) and Associate Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management Judith Hack of Merrillville (Service) received Purdue Calumet Outstanding Faculty Awards for 2014-15.
- Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar of Munster, who contributed research to the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics-winning effort, received a $408,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue her exploration of high energy physics.
- Professor of Communication Theresa Carilli of Oak Park, Ill. was honored by the Central States Communication Association as Outstanding Scholar in Performance Studies.
- Professor of Mechanical Engineering Harvey Abramowitz, Professor of Physics/Energy Efficiency & Reliability Center Director Robert Kramer and Associate Professor of Chemistry Libbie Pelter collaborated with two others to gain a U.S. patent for developing an innovative, cost effective approach to producing coke necessary in the steelmaking process.
- Named Outstanding Employees for 2014-15 were: Dean of the Honors College and Interim Dean of the College of Education John Rowan of Munster (Administrative Leader), Assistant Director of Facilities Systems and Utilities Rich Trznadel of Highland (Administrator), Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation Administrative Assistant Linda Robinson of Schererville (Operations Assistant), Physical Facilities Clerk Marla Ropp-Funk of Lowell (Clerical) and Instructional Technology Audio Visual Aids Technician Kevin Parli of Hammond (Service).
- Stable overall enrollment (9,301 last fall) included a continuing trend of more first time freshmen, 90+ percent of whom, for the third consecutive year, carried full course loads.
Outreach & economic development
- To advance new manufacturing opportunities through cutting edge training and transfer of the latest technology, the Purdue University Calumet Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center opened last spring. The center also provides a venue that furthers commercialization of new business ideas.
- Using the university’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), Purdue Calumet continued to play a leadership role advancing the national Steel Manufacturing Simulation & Visualization Consortium to help American steel producers compete more favorably worldwide.
- Cross country runner Alex Cordova of Hobart qualified this fall for the NAIA Men’s Championships in Charlotte, N.C., where he ran a career-best, school-record time of 26 minutes, 17 seconds for 8 kilometers to place 102nd in a field of 326.
- Tennis player Lori Haas of Bismarck, Ill., became the second Purdue Calumet student-athlete to be named a Capital One Academic All-American. The junior history major was her team’s No. 1 singles and doubles player in 2015.
- The men’s soccer team enjoyed its best season since the program was reinstated in 2012, compiling a 12-5-2 record and qualifying for the NAIA National Championships.
- Completion of the Dowling Park Athletic Complex allowed baseball, softball, and men’s and women soccer teams to play home contests there last spring and fall.
- Purdue Calumet student-athletes compiled an overall grade point average of 3.02 during the 2014-15 academic year.
- Athletic Director Rick Costello was named Athletic Director of the emerging Purdue University Northwest.