State lawmakers say the legislature could give Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne more autonomy and flexibility in funding and degree offerings.
A legislative study committee was tasked this year with investigating the governance structure of the state’s regional university campuses. And though its initial focus was broad, the committee has narrowed in on one location – IPFW, the state’s fifth largest college campus.
Auburn Republican Senator Dennis Kruse chairs the committee and says it plans to decide Wednesday what it will recommend to the state legislature. He says those recommendations could include giving IPFW a special designation that would provide it with more independence.
“They would have more authority at the IPFW campus for advanced degrees,” Kruse said. “They might have an opportunity to directly go to the Commission on Higher Education for their funding. They could potentially have a sub board of trustees.”
The Purdue Board of Trustees governs IPFW, and Bloomington Democratic Representative Matt Pierce says it’s the board’s response that will likely determine what lawmakers choose to do.
“I think if they get the sense that Purdue understands the concern of the legislature and the people in the Fort Wayne area and is going to move to do some things to kind of address those demands, then I think you could see the legislature backing off,” Pierce said.
Pierce says a lot could also depend on whether IPFW can offer advanced degrees – masters and doctorates – using current resources.