Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels

the last Wednesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m. on AM 920

Each month, former Indiana Governor and current Purdue President Mitch Daniels chats with WBAA News Director Stan Jastrzebski about higher education and Purdue's place in the collegiate landscape.

Listen for new episodes of the program at the end of each month and send any questions you'd like us to ask President Daniels to: news@wbaa.org.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

Purdue President Mitch Daniels disagrees with the notion that he’s sometimes snarky in the regular column he writes for the Washington Post. He’d prefer to call it sarcasm or humor. But in a recent column about politics – a subject he regularly comments on, even if there’s little connection to his current role in higher education – his language jabs at both parties, but is notably more dismissive to Democratic ideals.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

Sometimes news changes fast. When we taped our conversation with Purdue University President Mitch Daniels this month, the school had just announced it’ll change its IDs to make it easier for students to vote in Tippecanoe County. As you’ll hear, Daniels says Purdue isn’t in the elections business, and advises that the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles – which he oversaw as governor – will give free IDs to those who ask.

That’s true, and it’s a fact the county election board seized upon a couple days after the interview was taped. But there’s a problem – getting that ID can mean students would have to give up their driver’s license from their home state.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

Admitting as much when he used it in this year’s commencement address, Purdue President Mitch Daniels chose what he called a “distasteful, but descriptive word” – snowflake – to describe graduates at some of Purdue’s competitor institutions. President Daniels insists he’s received more positive comments about the remark than about almost any other speech he’s given, but the backlash was swift on social media, saying he shouldn’t have even invoked a term that’s often been co-opted by some conservatives to describe people with whom they don’t agree.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

Despite a slowdown wrought by the Purdue Senate, school president Mitch Daniels says he still thinks next year’s graduating class could be the first one to need to pass a civics exam to receive a diploma.

On this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation with Mitch Daniels, we ask him about that timeline, and the one deciding the future of the Purdue Armory, which many community members seem to want to save.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

It came as little surprise when, earlier this month, Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced the school would extend its tuition freeze another year. The bigger financial news was the offering of a $500 bonus to employees making less than $75,000 a year.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

At the beginning of each year, Purdue President Mitch Daniels pens an open letter to campus. Mostly, it talks about the high points of the past 12 months, but this year’s mentions an increasingly common topic: grit. It’s a qualitative measure of how ready a student is for school, life, and the challenges both pose.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

A number of elite schools, including members of the Ivy League, have gotten rid of the need for an ACT or SAT test score to get in. But Purdue President Mitch Daniels says in a recent Washington Post editorial that the West Lafayette campus will not be following suit.

On WBAA’s Monthly Conversation with him, we ask President Daniels why not and have him respond to an editorial in the Purdue student newspaper that points out what its writers think may be hypocrisy on the president’s part regarding how he talks about grade point averages and their worth.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

While he was governor, Mitch Daniels talked a lot about reversing Indiana’s worrying “brain drain” trend. A dismal number of Hoosiers complete college, and many who do venture outside the state to make their way in the world. But now Purdue’s President has a plan for “brain gain.” We ask him about it on this month’s edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation with Mitch Daniels.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

Purdue University is a $2 billion a year industry, so from time to time in our monthly conversations with President Mitch Daniels, we have to talk about money.

This month, we ask whether the huge marketing budget for online enterprise Purdue Global – some estimate it’s close to $100 million – is potentially stepping on the marketing budgets of other Purdue programs.

Jae Lee / WBAA News

Quite a number of journalists took issue recently when Purdue President Mitch Daniels attempted to argue in his regular column for the Washington Post that there was too much scrutiny of government allowed by public records laws and attempts at transparency.

On this month's conversation with him, he says he’s in favor of those types of laws in principle, but do his actions – including using processes that restrict transparency in the State Street and Purdue Global deals – match up with his rhetoric?

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