A higher education academician of nearly 30 years with a track record of administrative success has been appointed Purdue University Northwest’s top academic official.
Ralph O. Mueller, dean of the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions in Westford, Conn. since 2009, will assume the PNW position of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost July 15.
July also represents the start of the 2016-17 academic fiscal year—the first official year of operation for Purdue Northwest. Early last March, the Higher Learning Commission approved the unification of Purdue University Calumet of Hammond and Purdue University North Central of Westville into Purdue Northwest, a single university of two campuses and some 15,000 students.
Overseeing six colleges, 70+ degree programs
In his new role, Mueller will oversee an institution of six colleges and 70+ undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
“Dr. Mueller offers an impressive and extensive background of results-oriented academic leadership,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor and Purdue Northwest Chancellor-Designate Thomas L. Keon said. “He brings to PNW proven success in key goal areas of our strategic plan, including academic excellence, student access and success, learning through engagement and discovery, and partnership development.”
Mueller also is founding director of the University of Hartford’s Institute for Translational Research, a multidisciplinary umbrella for collaborations among faculty, students and community partners. Through its experiential learning initiative, Purdue Northwest will offer hands-on, real world learning opportunities for students in collaboration with faculty and community partners.
“To serve as inaugural Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost at Purdue University Northwest—a new entity steeped in the histories of two distinct Purdue institutions—is a unique and humbling opportunity,” Mueller said. “The challenge and the great promise of growing a common culture to fulfill the University’s mission is what drew me to come and will drive me to stay.”
Prior to his University of Hartford tenure, Mueller served five years as chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at The George Washington University. He also was a 2007-08 fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE) at the University of Miami. Throughout his 29-year career in higher education, he has served as a tenured faculty member of applied statistics with joint appointments in education, psychology and public policy/public administration.
Background of diverse success
According to Keon, Mueller brings to PNW a background of diverse success that has contributed to increased student retention; effective faculty mentoring; development of new market-responsive academic programs; establishment of formal research and experiential learning opportunities; strong visioning and strategic planning; and outstanding financial management, fundraising and partnership development.
“From the initial airport interview with the search committee and the subsequent on-campus conversations with PNW constituents, to the decisive follow-up discussions with Chancellor Keon, I heard one consistent message,” Mueller said. ”As one community dedicated to student success, we will become a first-choice university in Northwest Indiana and beyond. That impressed me!”
Mueller also brings an extensive academic portfolio of published books and peer-reviewed articles and presentations. He holds a baccalaureate degree from Elon (NC) University, master’s degree from Wake Forest (NC) University and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.