FIRST ACTIONS: Phase II of Plan Implementation

The inspired work of our 2009 roadmap teams led us to think about their recommendations in terms of Four Stories which in turn guided selection of the first wave of implementation projects. Dubbed FIRST ACTIONS, these projects signal the start of phase two of the implementation of our strategic plan.

Always@PurdueEngineering – creating and sustaining the human, intellectual, and information infrastructure to connect people and Purdue for life.

ChangeTheWorld@PurdueEngineering – reshaping our research universe and bringing solutions to the globe.

Innovate@PurdueEngineering – building an innovation ecosystem and nurturing a culture of creativity that takes us far beyond where we are today.

OurPeopleOurCulture@PurdueEngineering – engaging our people to transform our culture, empowering our people to radiate passion, and energizing the people of Purdue Engineering to  change the world.

Read the stories in full at the “One Vision, Three Goals, Four Stories” pdf.

These four stories guided selection of the first dozen implementation projects.  These FIRST ACTIONS signal the start of phase two of the implementation of our strategic plan.


Grand Challenge Design – Create a multi-year, broadly interdisciplinary engineering design experience where undergraduate student teams focus on grand challenge or other global/societal/community problems, using next-generation learning spaces and satisfying Engineer of 2020 attributes and ABET outcomes.

Co-leaders: Peter Meckl, ME; Larry Nies, CE

Leadership Minor – Develop an elective program coupling leadership theory with practice opportunities leading to a certificate that is recorded on a student’s transcript. Guided by a faculty mentor, students create a personal leadership development plan, take courses on leadership concepts, peer mentor younger students, and create a portfolio of their leadership experiences.

Co-leaders: Beth Holloway, WIEP; Inez Hua, CE

Global Scholars – Customize PhD programs focused on each partner country’s strategic technical interests, such as biomedical engineering, energy, urban infrastructure, and nanotechnology, as well as the country’s critical economic, societal, and educational needs. Create a pipeline of high-caliber students supported by the partner countries who will return to their home countries well-prepared to become entrepreneurs and academic, industry, and community leaders.

Co-leaders: Jean Paul Allain, NE; Arvind Raman, ME


Systems of Systems Institute, including Policy – Establish a Systems of Systems Institute to catalyze SoS research and education opportunities in critical areas such as healthcare, energy, aerospace, and defense. Build a discipline of SoS that bridges application areas, create synergistic interdisciplinary collaborations, and connect technical experts and practitioners with policy theorists and decision-makers.

Co-leaders: Doug Adams, ME; Bill Crossley, AAE; Joe Pekny, ChE/IE

Research Galaxies, including Post-Award – Develop Post-Award processes and support in collaboration with the Staff of 2020 team. Restructure our research organization to jumpstart new centers by more flexible staffing in the short term, increasing long-term operational support by sharing key administrative staff, and supporting a full spectrum of needs including financial management, mentoring, external relations, and reporting.

Co-leaders: Melba Crawford, Ag/CE/ECE/CoE; David Ebert, ECE


Innovation Ecosystem – Amplify our societal impact by creating an agile organization that links our internal expertise and capabilities with the talent and infrastructure in our external networks to address higher order social problems collaboratively and innovatively. Create an environment that enables, supports, and rewards innovators and integrators, learning from all experiences – homeruns, outs, and everything in between – and new definitions of success.

Co-leaders: Robin Adams, ENE; Barrett Caldwell, IE/AAE


Promotion and Tenure Evolution – Realign our processes and our values to: (1) create an infrastructure that promotes career-long faculty development and growth; (2) restructure P&T criteria to consider how we value and measure impact; and (3) welcome non-traditional faculty tracks such as professor of practice. 

Co-leaders: Jim Litster, ChE

Staff of 2020 – Infuse a “culture of value” within the College by creating a service-oriented community where staff are valued members who “think impact.”   Evolve hiring, classification, performance review, and recognition infrastructure into an integrated approach that will strengthen both only the organization and each individual through strategies that empower, reward, and create pride.  Augment other First Action initiatives including Research Galaxies’ post-award office by preparing teams of flexible, highly skilled, highly valued staff.

Co-leaders: George Adams, NCN

New Faculty Learning Communities – Integrate and empower new faculty through learning communities that accelerate the development of skills characteristic of successful teachers and researchers. Build professional networks that extend faculty reach and influence behavior models that inspire professional and academic excellence and leadership.

Co-leaders: Karl Smith, ENE; Kevin Trumble, MSE

Influencers in Residence – Inspire faculty to go from excellence to leadership in learning, discovery, and engagement by bringing prominent and highly influential thought leaders from industry, government, academia, and the private sector to campus for extended stays to coach, interact, and collaborate with faculty, staff, and students.

Co-leaders: Steve Beaudoin, ChE

Diversity Certificate – Foster a culture where faculty, staff, and students weave an understanding of important diversity issues, including discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes, into their everyday thinking and behavior. Develop learning and assessment modules modeled after the Responsible Conduct of Research and Institutional Review Board (IRB) certifications to create a research-based, interactive web tool for developing, quantifying, and documenting cultural competency skills, cross-cultural training, and diversity management skills.

Co-leaders: Dulcy Abraham, CE/CEM; Patrice Buzzanell, CLA


HUB-Empowered CyberReach – Create a best-in-class virtual footprint that builds on Purdue’s signature HUBzero and extensive IT capabilities, uses and advances scholarly work, enhances learning, taps the power of the web for visibility and reach, flexibly and seamlessly addresses stakeholder needs, and supports human usability; deploy business models that enable both open access and pay-to-play where appropriate.

Co-leaders: Gerry McCartney, VPIT; Shimon Nof, IE; Juan Diego Velasquez, CIE