Nixing Of Purdue Global Non-Disclosure Pact May Be First Of Many Such Talks

Sep 7, 2018

There may be quite a few more discussions about how Purdue is merging its educational model with that of an online school whose rigor might not match that of the West Lafayette campus.
Credit courtesy Purdue Global

Following outcry from a national professors group, Purdue University Global has begun the process of doing away with non-disclosure agreements for faculty.

The document, which forbids professors from speaking about or sharing course materials, was leftover from before the merger of Purdue and online educator Kaplan University.

Steve Beaudoin, a chemical engineering professor on the West Lafayette campus, helps lead a committee which monitors Purdue Global.

Beaudoin admits when he became aware Purdue Global was making faculty sign paperwork saying they couldn’t share anything about their coursework – even with other Purdue Global employees – he initially didn’t do much.

He says responses from faculty about its demise have been mixed, but mostly positive.

“Most people sort of said ‘Good, why did it ever exist in the first place?’ Some people were surprised that it went away so quickly," Beaudoin says. "I think they were expecting more of a fight.”

Beaudoin says he had a meeting a couple weeks ago with Purdue Global administrators who came to the discussion ready to put the document out of commission.

It must still be formally invalidated by the Purdue Global Senate, a group of faculty and staff representing different factions within the e-learning entity.

Beaudoin says he’s not sure how long that’ll take, adding that Purdue Global staff will operate according to it until the nullifying vote takes place.

THE FIRST IN A STRING OF CONVERSATIONS

Beaudoin says it's an early example of conversations assessing how the merger of two very different educational institutions is proceeding.

“We’ve committed to meeting to have the side-by-side comparison of what would be considered to be intellectual property of the two institutions; the side-by-side comparisons of some of the different expectations of some of the different programs, and to start working through these kinds of issues that we’ve raised to this point,” he says.

Among the topics that’ll need to be addressed is whether the two instructions match up in terms of academic rigor. Purdue President Mitch Daniels has hinted Global classes may not be as tough as those taken by students elsewhere in the Purdue system.

Beaudoin says he’ll want to ensure that a student who wishes to transfer credits from Purdue Global to a similar program on the West Lafayette campus has been adequately prepared for what’s likely to be an uptick in course difficulty.