LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Gov. Mitch Daniels is still promoting the online
college known as Western Governors University just months before he becomes
Purdue University’s new president.
Daniels has appeared in commercials for the past two years touting WGU, a
nonprofit with a board based in Salt Lake City. He signed an executive order
in 2010 creating an Indiana branch of the online college.
His spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said Daniels “will continue to speak
supportively of WGU” until his second term ends in January.
But the governor, who assumes Purdue’s presidency in January, resigned from
WGU’s national board in June. And on Purdue’s campus, Daniels’ face is
fading from advertisements that once featured him referring to WGU as
Indiana’s eighth public college.
WGU-Indiana chancellor Allison Barber said that change is coincidental, as
are a new series of WGU television ads without Daniels.
She said the new WGU ads focus on students and were filmed in April, two
months before Daniels was chosen as Purdue’s next president.
“The governor is still a supporter, and he still promotes WGU-Indiana,”
Barber told the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/QNRe4B ) for a
Daniels’ appearance in ads helped get the word out about WGU-Indiana, which
this fall reached a milestone enrollment of 3,000 students, she said.
Since his selection as Purdue president, Daniels has stressed to the Purdue
community that the West Lafayette school is not in competition with WGU. The
online college’s mission is to offer degree opportunities to those already
working and first-generation college students.
WGU’s website states that its degrees are competency-based, not credit-hour
based like Purdue’s. And WGU-Indiana’s base tuition for a six-month term
ranges from $2,890 for information technology students to $4,250 for those
in the nursing program seeking Bachelor of Science degrees.
By contrast, Purdue’s tuition is $9,900 this fall.
However, the rapid expansion of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, is
generating a lot of discussion these days in higher education.