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ENE Memo: May 18, 2015

From the Head: 5/18

Purdue Raise Policy

Recent press reports announced a “3.5% raise for staff and faculty”. This needs some explanation.

Each year Purdue announces a “raise policy” and a percentage number. However the raise policy has certain conditions and constraints that all heads are required to follow. The news release late Friday indicates some of the conditions. Pay particular attention to the quote below from this news release.

“…the board (of trustees) endorsed the proposed conceptual operating budget for fiscal year 2016, which will provide for a 3.5 percent merit pay increase for employees at West Lafayette, with 0.5 percent of that conditional on each unit implementing a plan to streamline administrative costs, rationalize space utilization and provide appropriate recognition of strong performers in the distribution of the merit increase”.

If a College does not agree to the conditions of the additional 0.5%, they only get funds for a 3% raise policy and the additional 0.5% goes to other Colleges that agree to the conditions. At an emergency meeting on Friday, the Engineering Leadership Team agreed to accept the conditions, so the percentage for the raise policy for us this year will be the full 3.5%.

Up until about a week ago, all the information we had received was that the raise policy would be 3%. Then out of the blue the "additional 0.5%" with its special conditions suddenly appeared.  

As the announcement states, this a “merit raise,” which means that you do not automatically get a 3.5% raise. The head is required to give some people significantly more than the published percentage value. As the pool of funds is fixed, this of course means that the vast majority of people get less than the published value. Also some people, such as recent employees, are not eligible for raises. So don't spend the whole 3.5% just yet!

You also need to understand that the raise pool is organized in three groups - faculty, admin/professional and clerical. Funds from one of these sub-pools cannot be moved to another. Also, all decisions on raises made by the head are subject to review by the College and the University via the Office of Institutional Equity.

Having accepted the full 3.5%, we are of course subject to the additional conditions. These are worth repeating from above; “….conditional on each unit implementing a plan to streamline administrative costs, rationalize space utilization and provide appropriate recognition of strong performers in the distribution of the merit increase”. The College has to achieve all three of these conditions. 

To “streamline administrative costs” means reducing high salary staff positions and/or reducing the number and/or the cost of academic roles that involve an administrative component and supplement. These must be permanent cuts so as to reduce recurring costs. The work that these people currently perform will not go away, so the remaining staff and faculty will simply have to take on more work. 

To “rationalize space utilization” means we make more use of Monday and Fridays for class times and maybe make our meeting and other spaces open to others.

To “provide appropriate recognition of strong performers in the distribution of the merit increase” means that, as in the past and as stated above, we are required to give a few people a raise significantly larger than the stated percentage. However, in addition this time we are also required to give some people a significantly lower than average raise. In other words, we are required to "grade on the curve" and not on the absolute performance of individuals.

Beyond this basic description, very few details have been released about the specifics of the three conditions. Hopefully these will become clearer in coming weeks.  


Calendar: 5/18



  • June 15-July 10:  STAR  (Student Transition, Advising and Registration), FYE Advising area 
  • June 15: ENGR 132, 8 week module begins, ARMS
  • June 15-18: ASEE Annual Conference, Seattle
  • June 17-18: PEER Workshop, Seattle
  • July 3: Independence Day (observed), university holiday
  • Aug 7: ENGR 132, 8 week module ends, ARMS
  • Aug 8: Commencement
  • Aug 15: ENE End-of-Summer Potluck, Happy Hollow Park, Shelter #1, 4-9pm


  • Aug 19: ENE Faculty Advance (incl. visit by Provost) , WANG 3501, 9:30am-3:30pm
  • Aug 24: Classes commence
  • Aug 27: ENE Research Seminar ARMS BO71 3:30pm (Weekly) 
  • Aug 28: ENE Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30, TBD
  • Sept 2: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 2: Assistant Professor meet with Head, 10:30-11:30am, WANG 3501  
  • Sept 7: Labor Day
  • Sept 9: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 16: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 19: Family Day
  • Oct 1: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Oct 1: Associate Professors meet with Head, 10:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Oct 4/5: Big Ten + Grad Expo
  • Oct 12/13: Fall Break
  • Oct 16: ENE Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30am, TBD 
  • Oct 28: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Oct 28/29: ENE Grad Program Open House
  • Nov 4: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Nov 7: Homecoming
  • Nov 13: ENE Industrial Advisory Council, 8:00am-3pm, WANG 3501
  • Nov 18: Faculty-PhD Student Matching, 9:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Nov 26/27: Thanksgiving
  • Dec 2: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501

News and Information: 5/18

May 2015 Commencement

Congratulations to all of our students who achieved an academic, personal and professional milestone over the weekend! The list of graduates is HERE.


Strategic Advance follow-up: Intra-Departmental Communication

Thank you to all who participated in our break-out session on improving communication - there were some good points made and great suggestions! A comprehensive plan is forthcoming, but there are some quick and easy things that can be instituted immediately. One example is below. We kick-off the "ENE Profile" piece in the Memo, which will feature a coworker (hopefully every week). We appreciate your future involvement, which includes a workplace photo and responding to a brief questionnaire.

Another issue that surfaced more than once was related to email etiquette and the desire to reduce email messages we all receive. Before you send a message via a listserv, please consider if it can be made an ENE Memo News item or Kudos comment, such as a student passing a prelim/readiness exam or successfully defending a dissertation. Another etiquette issue was please do not "Reply All" to an email message sent to the listserv, as this adds to the amount of unnecessary email.

Finally (for now), where to find Business Office policies and procedures, and whom to contact regarding questions, also came up during the break-out session. We now have a one-stop-shop webpage developed by the Business Office. We hope this answers most, if not all, questions you have. If not, the item at the top of the webpage is the contact list for the ARMS Business Office. You can find this by going to the "Information For..." sidebar on the left of the ENE homepage and selecting the "Faculty & Staff" link. The "ENE Policies, Processes, and Resources" is under the "Other" heading. HERE is a direct link that you may bookmark.

Wang Hall Name

During the ENE Strategic Advance, the question came up about the pronunciation of "Wang." Vice President for Development Amy Noah says she asked Patrick Wang (son of Seng Liang Wang) how to pronounce the family's name and his response was the same way it is in 'A dog wags its tail,' so it is Wang, not Wong. Noah says the rumor of Wong keeps popping up and she doesn't know why. Please help us correct this misunderstanding.

ASEE Exhibit Booth

We are looking for faculty and graduate students to help staff the ENE booth (#537) at the ASEE Conference Exhibition Hall to talk with visitors about the School and Graduate Program. The volunteer sign-up sheet is at Julie Russell's desk. Thank you, in advance, for your help!

Many hands make light work.
~English proverb

Wednesday Lunches

Wednesday lunches will continue through the summer for those who are around. Please join us — odd-number date Wednesdays at Wang in the Commons and even-number date Wednesdays in ARMS 1314. Bring your lunch, stay as long as you can or want.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

See you this Wednesday (5/20) at ARMS 1314.

ENE Profile

Name: Nathan (Nate) B. Thomas

Job Title: First-Year Engineering Academic Advisor

What is the scope of your job? Advising FYE students as per the FYE plan of study and program requirements, and to assist them as they transition from First-Year Engineering to their professional engineering school

What’s a job priority for you right now/what big project are you working on? Now that the semester has ended, and grades have been posted, I am sending emails to student who may need to adjust their fall schedules, register for summer courses, students who have been placed on academic probation, students who are coming to STAR as well as students who are not coming to STAR, and getting ready for STAR

What’s the best part of your job or working in ENE? Being able to assist students in whatever they need, and getting to know other people in ENE

What hobbies or activities are you involved in outside of work? Since I do not jog any more, I walk (sometimes with my dog, but he’s getting old and slow), and I like putting miles on my bicycle. I am currently doing some painting and remodeling inside my home (this has been a slow process!). I enjoy being active in my church, and I love visiting an amusement park (especially Cedar Point), and riding roller coasters all day.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? If I could live anywhere it would be somewhere in the woods in a nice, big log home near water… perhaps in the Smoky Mountains. Hiking each day, fishing, hunting with my dog(s) away from all of the hustle and bustle of daily life

What did you want to be when you were young? When I was young, I wanted to be either a truck driver, or a cowboy. I soon decided a cowboy probably wouldn’t work, because my friends kept telling me there were no black cowboys! We didn’t have internet back then, so I just assumed they were right. As for being a truck driver, I still think about driving some big rig across the country hauling goods. When I retire, I would entertain the notion of driving a tour bus around the country for various groups.

Next week's profile: Elizabeth Gajdzik

Kudos: 5/18 all ENE graduates who became alumni over the weekend. Special thanks to Loretta McKinniss, Cindey Hays, and all involved with organizing the reception in Wang Hall. Senay Purzer on being named a Fellow of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy (ELA) operated by the Burton D. Morgan Center in Discovery Park. This program has facilitated the launch of several companies, licenses, disclosures, new interdisciplinary centers, as well as new graduate and undergraduate courses and opportunities. Canek Phillips on passing his prelim and being admitted as a doctoral candidate. His Ph.D. will be titled “Race, class and gender in engineering education: quantitative investigation of first-year enrollment and admissions in tertiary engineering education applying occupational segregation theory.” Karen DeUrquidi on publication of the article "Aptitude and Personality Traits in Retention of Engineering Students" in JEE. Chris Pekny on receiving the Richard McDowell Award for Best Advising.

Chris Pekney's award

Funding Opportunities: 5/18

Selected Funding Opportunities:

DOD-AFOSR Research Interests of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research BAA The focus of AFOSR is on research areas that offer significant and comprehensive benefits to our national warfighting and peacekeeping capabilities. These areas are organized and managed in two scientific Departments: Engineering and Information Science (RTA) and Physical and Biological Sciences (RTB).  This announcement remains open until superseded.

DOE Dynamic Distributed Resource Management (DDRM) The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications that will significantly enhance the ability of large collaborative science communities to dynamically assemble and use all the resources required to collect, process, and interpret an experiments data. These resources include, but are not limited to, computers, storage systems, instruments, multi-gigabit networks, data, and documents. Letter of Intent due May 29; Application due July 6.

USDA-NIFA Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program (SLSNCGP)  The SLSNCGP increases awareness and capacity building of urban/rural communities’ response to natural and/or human-made disasters by increasing individual, family, small business and community disaster preparedness through extension education as well as collaboration with other agencies and volunteer organizations. Deadline: June 8

Limited Submissions:

Preproposals and rankings to the EVPRP should be e-mailed to Purdue’s open limited submission competitions, limited submission policy, and templates for preproposals may be found at For any case in which the number of preproposals received is no more than the number of proposals allowed by the sponsor, the EVPRP will notify the PI(s) that an internal competition will be unnecessary.

Limited Submission: ED Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) – First in the World (FITW) Program – Validation Grants The FITW program is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions and evidence for what works in addressing persistent and widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not persisting in and completing postsecondary programs, including, but not limited to, adult learners, working students, part-time students, students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, students with disabilities, and first-generation students. For FY15, the Department will award two types of grants under FITW: Development grants and Validation grants. Purdue is ineligible to apply for a Development grant since we have a current Development award.  Validation grants provide funding to support the expansion and replication of  projects supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness to a scaled multi-site sample, which would include multiple institutions of higher education, including multiple institutions within a State system.  For this opportunity, Purdue may submit only one Validation grant.

Limited Submission: NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) (R25)   The goal of the SEPA program is to invest in educational activities that enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.  To this end, this FOA encourages the development of innovative educational activities for pre-kindergarten to grade 12 (P-12), teachers and students from underserved communities with a focus on Courses for Skills Development, Research Experiences, Mentoring Activities, Curriculum or Methods Development or Informal science Education exhibits, and Outreach activities. For this opportunity, Purdue may submit only one application.


ED-IES Research Funding Webinars The National Center for Special Education Research and the National Center for Education Research within the Institute of Education Sciences will host a series of webinars related to research funding opportunities in May, June and July.

Please contact Sue Grimes (, Kristyn Jewell (, or Perry Kirkham ( with any questions.

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact Mike Loizzo or David Radcliffe by midday Friday for the following week's issue.