March 4, 2024

Chancellor and executive VP of IU Indianapolis to chart separation from Purdue

The inaugural chancellor and executive vice president of Indiana University Indianapolis started work this month. - Ben Thorp/WFYI News

The inaugural chancellor and executive vice president of Indiana University Indianapolis started work this month.

Ben Thorp/WFYI News

The inaugural chancellor and executive vice president of Indiana University Indianapolis started work this month. Latha Ramchand comes to IU from the University of Missouri.

WFYI’s Ben Thorp sat down with Dr. Ramchand to discuss how she’ll lead IU Indianapolis through its split with Purdue University, as IUPUI officially becomes two.

Ben Thorp: I want to start just by asking, how have your first couple of weeks in Indianapolis been? How are you adjusting?

Latha Ramchand: Yeah, so far, it's been great. I have been visiting as many groups as I can, visiting colleges. Every day we do two colleges on average, the library, the graduate school. This morning, we went to the Madam Walker Center, just getting to know who is doing what and what it is they're doing.

What's inspiring to me is… so many of our people have been here for years, and it's generations of commitment that they bring to this institution, as well as the opportunity in this city and region to really serve the needs of the state and our citizens, I think is very compelling.

Thorp: As I understand it, part of your role is going to be overseeing the split between Indiana University and Purdue University here in Indianapolis. With the official separation beginning in July of this year, what changes might students and the public notice?

Ramchand: Yeah, that's a great question. As far as what we deliver to students, right, it's an education. I don't think anything should change, what will change is specifics if you are in this major or that major.

We are working really hard, and by 'we' I mean people who have been here before I came here, have been working really hard to make sure that as far as the student is concerned, that transition is seamless.

Now, that doesn't mean we have all our questions answered. But we are working with students, working with faculty to make sure that all the gaps are filled in. And really, the goal is to ensure that student's career is not impacted by this realignment.

Thorp: Yeah, you know, I've noticed over the last couple of months, both IU Indianapolis and Purdue in Indianapolis will be working to expand some science and technology program offerings. And it feels like there might be some overlap, how is what Purdue and IU offer here going to differ?

Ramchand: IU is going to be offering these programs in informatics, computing, and engineering. Purdue is working on engineering and technology. And really, it's up to the student to decide where they want to focus on.

And we are giving some of our students the option to decide whether they want to get a Purdue degree or an Indiana University degree, the ones that will graduate after July 1. So I think from that perspective, it's going to be up to the student to choose.

We have expanded our offerings in informatics, we have expanded our focus on biosciences, life sciences, and certainly all the other schools that have always been a part of this institution like the business school, the law school, obviously the goal is only to grow those schools.

Thorp: So what do you think the relationship between IU and Purdue here is going to look like moving forward, collaborative or competing?

Ramchand: Great question. So again, I go back to.. this institution was built, you know, based on the coming together of two great institutions, right?

And those relationships over the last 50 years are strong. Faculty work with faculty, they don't care what your institutional affiliation is, if your research aligns with someone else's research, you tend to partner with them. Students, they see each other as friends, staff members see each other as friends, colleagues, community.

So I don't think those relationships will or should go away. What we're working on is the details. And I think for the most part, what I'm seeing is that there is deep collaboration between the schools. We're meeting almost every week with the folks from Purdue, the academic affairs teams from Purdue.

In fact, just yesterday, I met with the vice provost there, just a good relationship with our folks. In fact, he was the one who brought me Michigan jam. So yes, just a great relationship.

Thorp: Dr. Ramchand, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

Ramchand: Thank you. Thank you.

Contact WBAA/WFYI reporter Benjamin Thorp at


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