How the dissolution of IUPUI impacts Butler dual degree students

There are no official updates on the creation of another EDDP after the separation. Graphic courtesy of Butler EDDP Facebook


With the dissolution of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) approaching this summer, coordinators for Butler’s Engineering Dual Degree Program (EDDP), have yet to confirm any sort of continuation of the program with the soon-to-be Purdue University in Indianapolis. As it stands now, the future is unknown for up-and-coming engineering Bulldogs. 

The official divorce on July 1, 2024 will mark an agreement that has been two years in the making. Purdue University in Indianapolis will keep the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology and Computer Science, while IU Indianapolis will take control of the remaining science programs, including biology, chemistry and chemical biology and psychology. 

IUPUI was initially created to elevate Hoosier education with more experiential learning opportunities that Indianapolis’ urban campus brings and to retain graduates in Indiana. Since its inception 54 years ago, Indianapolis has reaped the economic benefits of the institution, as millions of dollars, and one out of every 42 jobs, are brought to the Indianapolis region through IUPUI’s program. 

Despite the university’s success, both Purdue University and IU believe their separation will further contribute to Indiana’s economic growth. Derek Schultz, a senior strategic communicator and media relations specialist for Purdue University, said each university aims to establish their own programs for disciplines previously shared, opening more educational opportunities for Indiana students. 

“We’ve had a lot of great partnerships with IU,” Schultz said. “[We have] combined them and done incredible research and discovered new things and innovations. I think the difference is we are branching out more of our disciplines — like our business school will have more of a presence in Indianapolis, and obviously, IU has a business school. [The] core pillars of Purdue in STEM and the core pillars of IU in health, and things like that, are largely different.” 

How the separation affects Butler engineers 

The termination of IUPUI brings an end to the original EDDP since its creation 25 years ago. This “extremely unique” collaboration between Butler and IUPUI was the first of its kind, and has allowed students to earn two degrees; a degree from one of 13 liberal arts majors listed for EDDP majors at Butler and a degree from one of the six engineering majors offered at IUPUI’s Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indianapolis. EDDP students continuously travel between the two universities throughout their education. 

Students who are currently enrolled in the EDDP program are in the “teach-out” phase. According to Amber Russell, associate professor of mathematics and associate director of the EDDP representing Butler’s campus, students will be able to finish the original program in the same amount of time. However, some changes to the program have already been made, met with some student disappointment. 

Nathaniel Bruno, a junior double major in biology and mechanical engineering in the EDDP program, first imagined the IUPUI separation as “just a name change,” but after registering for classes this semester, he now notices some differences. Bruno said he was annoyed that he had to learn how to work Purdue’s enrollment site a week before registering for classes, not only because it is “visually uglier” but because he said it was harder to follow. Now, he is stressed since Pudue has omitted classes, changed course numbers and titles and has not provided a clear plan for the “teach-out” students. 

“[From] what I’m understanding, [some] classes are just not existing,” Bruno said. “In the future, they will be there, but because of the transition, [advisors are] trying to figure [plans] out. Every time I want to reach out to someone, they’re like, ‘We’ll figure it out. Don’t worry about it.’ It’s like, ‘Will you though?’ So, I just think they’re not really taking me into consideration. Obviously, there’s gonna be growing pains and stuff like that, but it does affect us a lot more negatively than we wish it did.” 

Russell stated that currently, there are no official plans of continuing the EDDP program with Purdue University in Indianapolis after current students have completed the program. Russell said, since August 2023, four meetings between directors representing Butler and Purdue have sparked discussions on the potential continuation of the program. These meetings will continue into the future in hopes of establishing a revamped version of the present EDDP program, according to Russell. 

Butler academic program coordinator Jessica McCormick said that most of the time before the official separation has been spent planning the “teach-out” phase. She said the meetings discussing the potential revamped EDDP program are still in the “brainstorming” stage. Plans for an EDDP makeover will not be official until a memorandum of understanding (MOU), a non-legally binding contract between two parties, has been drafted and signed. McCormick said a MOU is usually not produced until details are mostly finalized, and until then, everything is up for debate. 

Bruno is an advocate for the program. He said it helped affirm his passions for each major and allowed him to earn his engineering degree as a Butler student, contrary to other, bigger state schools with massive classrooms and a “cutthroat” atmosphere. Since he is one of the three tour guides associated with the EDDP, he said he enjoys promoting the program and that it has been hard to give out specific information on tours. However, despite the grief the program has recently given him, Bruno affirms that the experience is “100%” worth it. 

“I joke around [with] people, and I’m like, essentially, my first job, I’m gonna walk into the interview and say, ‘Yeah, I’m an engineer like everyone else you’ve interviewed, but I also have this other degree, and if it applies or not, give me more money,’” Bruno said. “Whether or not [your liberal arts degree] actually pans out, I do feel like you have that advantage of leveraging another degree coming out of college.” 

McCormick said the meetings will continue this summer. For now, the university has put a pause on accepting EDDP students for the incoming class of 2029.


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