Civics literacy requirement

Last modified: 6/12/21 11:45 am

Background. The Purdue Board of Trustees voted on Friday 11 June 2021 to impose a new curricular requirement on all Purdue system students: a civics education requirement. This is an unprecedented and gross violation of shared governance. Best practices of shared governance in higher education give power over the curriculum to faculty, the experts on education. For a Board to mandate a graduate requirement sets a disturbing precedent; what curricular mandates will this group of business leaders impose next? Also distressing is the dissembling of the Board and Purdue administration. Until the agenda was released on Monday 7 June 2021, university leaders had stated that the requirement would apply only to the West Lafayette campus. Although West Lafayette faculty have been aware of the issue for a while, the faculty of regional campuses have been completely blindsided by the Board’s usurpation of power to control curriculum.

Link to transcript of the relevant discussion at the Board meeting.


Link to Purdue AAUP chapters’ letter writing campaign here.


Letter from PFW faculty leaders to Provost Akridge (6/10/21)

Letter from Purdue system AAUP chapters to Trustee Brouillette (6/9/21)

Letter from Trustee Brouillette to Purdue-WL AAUP (5/21/21)

Letter from Purdue-WL AAUP to Trustee Brouillette (5/18/21)


Board of Trustees Agenda for June 11, 2021.

Purdue-WL AAUP chapter page on the civics literacy requirement.

Meet the Trustees (not an educator among them!)


WLFI (West Lafayette station) covered the vote here. (6/11/21)

Purdue Board of Trustees Journal and Courier defense (6/11/21).

Purdue system AAUP chapters’ press release (6/11/21).

Purdue Exponent story from 6/11/21, including information from AAUP press release.

Inside Higher Education story 6/11/21.

The Journal and Courier (West Lafayette paper) opinion piece by three Purdue AAUP chapter presidents. Posted 6/10/21.

The Purdue Exponent, the West Lafayette student paper, published this story on 6/10/21, under the lead “It is deliberately insulting.”

This well-reasoned article from Forbes (posted 6/7/21) explains what is at stake in the civics literacy vote on Friday and how faculty disquiet is connected to concerns about the Board’s unwillingness to abide by Purdue’s own processes of democratic decision making (AKA shared governance). 

Link to 5/3/21 Exponent (Purdue-WL student paper) story here.

Link to 4/22/21 story on Forbes here.

Link to 4/19/21 public announcement at Purdue Today (official university communication website) here.

Link to 4/19/21 Exponent story here.


Efforts are underway at Purdue to change shared governance structures, including the University Senate. An internal report giving a rationale for “transformational change” was released in April 2021.

Main page for the Purdue shared governance task force, a provost initiative, here.

On 6/8/21 Purdue Today announced a second listening session on shared governance. Find out more and register for the next session (6/16/21) here.