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PNW Pioneer

PNW to transition from Regional to Metropolitan

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PNW, currently designated a Regional university, is expected to transition to a Metropolitan university designation, pending the decision of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Faculty Senate approved document 16-34 on May 5. In the document, President Mitch Daniels recommend to the Board of Trustees and the commission that PNW be designated as a Metropolitan university. According to the document, PNW more closely aligns with the mission of comprehensive Metropolitan universities.

Richard Rupp, chief of staff to Chancellor Thomas L. Keon, said Keon has met with the Trustees and is scheduled to meet with Daniels the week of Sept. 4 to discuss the Metropolitan designation, after which Keon will report back to the Trustees who will then communicate with the commission. Then the commission will eventually make a decision on the designation.

“We’re already in communication with President Daniels. He thinks this is the direction to move. It’s exciting, putting all our cards on the table to get where we want to be. It’s sensible, it’s the right thing for PNW, for Northwest Indiana, so I’m excited,” Rupp said. “In the old days, you would just say ‘come to PNW,’ but now with declining enrollment, you got to be smart. We really should be the intellectual hub of Northwest Indiana, and in many ways we already are, but this will help.”

Rupp said the designation can impact policies as well as what a university can do.

“Regional has very limited ambitions. Very narrow, small market. It doesn’t anticipate dorms, out-of-state students, students outside of the area or international students. That’s out of reach for Regional,” Rupp said. “We have all the qualifications for Metropolitan, but the designation hasn’t officially changed, so we don’t need to do anything as we already bring in millions [of dollars] every year and have dorms. We would be joining other Purdue campuses like IUPUI.”

Rupp said the addition of more graduate programs is one potential benefit of transitioning to a Metropolitan designation, which will also help bring in more revenue for PNW.

“This could open the door to more graduate programs at PNW, something Regional doesn’t do. We’re considering a number of graduate programs right now. It’s about putting PNW in the best position for the next 10, 20 years,” Rupp said. “We met with Senator Joe Donnelly last week and the NCAA status helps. As we look to Chicago markets, we feel we’re a great fit for Illinois students.”

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