Brickhead Conversations by James Tyler

Jul 25, 2013
Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

There’s new public art on the Purdue campus. It’s called “Brickhead Conversations” featuring two large heads of clay – each sitting on one side of the Pao Hall plaza.

Sculptor James Tyler created the pieces, which feature sounds of nature emanating from each head.

“It’s the same overall concept that all of these ‘brickheads’ are about,” he says. “There all about a place, a time, an element of the world, and human participation therein, so these now are a dialogue between these sounds.”

Saying Purdue President Mitch Daniels has exceeded their expectations; the board of trustees have approved paying him nearly half of his incentive pay.

Daniels earns a base salary of $420,000 and is eligible for another $126,000 for performance.

Newly elected Board Chairman Tom Spurgeon says the additional $58,153 he earned is for his first six months as president. He says the justification was for the relationships Daniels made with faculty and opportunities for change he identified.

Purdue trustees approve health plan changes

Jul 19, 2013

Purdue employees will have a little more than three months to figure out their health care options for next year.

The Board of Trustees approved three new plan options – a PPO and two high-deductible plans with health savings accounts. As an incentive to get more employees into those consumer-driven plans, the university will contribute money to their health savings account.

President Mitch Daniels says he uses one as a university employee and thinks that’s the best option for keeping costs down.

Daniels calls AP story "utter distortion"

Jul 17, 2013
Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

The president of Purdue disagrees with an Associated Press article written about him during the time he was governor. Mitch Daniels calls the story erroneous and unfair.

The A.P. reports on an email exchange in February of 2010 that shows Daniels requested banning historian Howard Zinn’s writings from classrooms. The story also includes emails from 2009 regarding an IUPUI professor who was a critic of Daniels.

Purdue's summer enrollment up 10% from a year ago

Jul 16, 2013

The summer semester ends August 2 at Purdue, but some administrators already are thinking about what to offer next year.

Provost Tim Sands says preliminary numbers show an enrollment increase of at least 10% from a year ago. He calls that positive, but administrators were hoping for more.

“Around the country, a lot of campuses reported decreases because the economy was improving and students were going out working. Somehow we managed to increase despite the overall trend,” he says, “but there’s a lot more to be done there.”

Health insurance plans changing at Purdue

Jul 15, 2013

Purdue is moving forward with new health plans for next year. The Audit and Insurance Committee of the board of trustees gave the proposal initial approval, which is designed to save money, but offer the same level of care.

The new plans are a traditional PPO and two high-deductible plans with a health savings account.

Benefits Manager Eva Nodine says the biggest change is the elimination of the Co-Pay option. She says those on that plan now will be able to save money by moving to one of the high-deductible plans.

Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

Supporters of same sex marriage in the Lafayette area are not taking the Supreme Court’s decisions for granted. At a rally Wednesday night in West Lafayette, those gathered agree that the message of equal rights needs to be spread across Indiana.

Ashley Smith with Pride Lafayette says that means talking to people and breaking down stereotypes.

"Try to make people understand that we’re exactly the same. Our families are the same. We are not looking for anything special. We are only looking for the exact same rights every other American is given.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels is making his first overseas trip representing the university to China. He’ll leave Saturday and return June 27.

The goal is to meet with current and potential partners in economic and educational initiatives.

List of top STEM universities includes Purdue

Jun 19, 2013

U.S. News and World Report is out with a new ranking of the top STEM universities in the country. Purdue makes the list – tied at Number 19 with Rice University.

The magazine determined the proportion of science, technology, engineering and math bachelor’s degrees granted last year. For Purdue, and Rice, that was 44% in 2012.

The top-ranked STEM schools, according to U.S. News, are Caltech and Colorado School of Mines. Both granted 98% of their bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields.

U.S. News did not consider every university. Here's the editor's explanation:

Purdue builds fastest university-owned supercomputer

Jun 18, 2013

Purdue has confirmed its lead in the field of supercomputing by unveiling Conte (CAHN-tee), the nation's fastest university-owned supercomputer.

The machine is highest-ranking campus supercomputer on the June 2013 Top500.org list of international supercomputers.

It surpasses the nation's previous fastest university-owned machine, Carter, which was built in 2011 and is still in operation at Purdue.

Conte is able to process a problem 15,000 times faster than a typical desktop or laptop computer.