A study aimed at strengthening IPFW’s performance and its contributions to the regional economy recommends five major changes for the school.
The study, released Thursday by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, recommends:
*Adjust Indiana's formula for funding university campuses. “The state's metrics should be modified to shift their emphasis from rewarding funding based on degree completion at the four-year interval and provide incentives for faster degree completion at regional campuses. It must recognize that regional campuses like IPFW have a different student body make up than their parent campuses,” the Partnership said.
*Transfer administrative oversight of IPFW from Purdue University to Indiana University.
“Indiana University has eight regional campuses throughout the state and the institutional infrastructure in place to administer them,” a summary of the report said.
*Re-engineer. “For IPFW to continue to serve as an asset for the community, it must look into streamlining programs to align with student needs and interests and the regional workforce needs,” the Partnership said.
*Emphasize the importance of degree completion to increase the number of students earning bachelor's degrees.
*Strengthen connections between IPFW and the region’s businesses. “The university's Community Advisory Council should be more involved in the strategic direction for the campus, while the business community should be more willing to extend resources and expertise to the university,” the Partnership said.
The Partnership engaged Policy Analytics LLC to explore the governance options and funding considerations for IPFW. Partnership officials said they commissioned the IPFW Roles and Governance Study to gain perspective from business leadership in the region because IPFW is an integral partner in the region's mission to develop, attract and retain talent, as set forth by the Vision 2020 initiative.
IPFW is also a critical component in achieving one of Vision 2020's priorities -- the Big Goal, which aims to increase the proportion of residents with a degree or credential to 60 percent.
During the study, six focus groups were conducted with approximately 40 members of the local business community, including IPFW graduates, collaborators on university programs and employers of IPFW degree holders, the Partnership said . Additionally, independent interviews were conducted with area business leaders, representatives from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) and members of Northeast Indiana's legislative delegation.
The study also looked at the current governance agreement for IPFW; history of campus funding and governance; academic performance data; and policy documents from the state, ICHE, Indiana University and Purdue University.
The full study can be found at the Partnership website, www.neindiana.com.