Guidance on 2021-22 Academic Year Work Location

Dear Purdue colleagues,

One year ago, the Purdue University community was grappling with how our faculty and staff could safely offer our 45,000 students an in-person learning experience during the most challenging global health crisis in a century. With hope now on the horizon in the global battle against COVID-19, we are embarking on our careful journey back to normal operations for Fall 2021 — and what that will look like for our faculty, staff and, most importantly, our students.

Purdue’s goal is a return to our face-to-face, residential education model this fall. As President Daniels indicated in his video last week, we want to build on the effectiveness of our Protect Purdue measures and technology enhancements, as well as lessons learned from the pandemic, to enhance student learning and success and use these lessons to reimagine how and where we work to deliver on our land-grant missions. 

Many of our colleagues have thrived on the flexibility and protection provided by remote work; for others, a return to campus — either based on operational needs or personal preference — will be in order. Vice presidents, deans, vice provosts and division and unit leaders are being asked to develop unit plans that incorporate the guidelines listed below as we prepare for our fall semester and beyond. It is our expectation that supervisors will discuss work locations and job responsibilities with their direct reports during performance reviews this spring, considering questions such as: “How much work from home can our unit blend with in-office work and get the job done as well or better than before?” And, “If it’s consistent with the effective operation of our unit, what mix of home and office would be best for me and my family?” Please note that all work location decisions are subject to review and approval by leadership and as determined by the provost and treasurer. In addition, consistent with guidance issued by the President and Provost on February 11, all work location plans are subject to change should our public health situation demand a different approach.

As a starting point, we provide the following expected guidelines as we think about on-campus office schedules and the degree of physical campus presence necessary to support in-person learning and the success of our students. 

  • Faculty: Work on campus or a hybrid schedule, with limited fully remote exceptions to be approved through normal work location approval processes.
  • Instructional faculty, staff, and graduate/undergraduate teaching assistants: All course instructors are expected to follow Fall 2021 Instructional Guidance
  • Student-facing staff positions: Work on campus or a hybrid schedule. Fully remote options will be explored and considered based on student/office needs and staff preference. Student services should be delivered both in-person and virtually where unit staffing makes this possible and appropriate, and using remote work to extend our student services beyond the standard 8-5 workday could be convenient for both our students and some of our staff members. Our teams of advisors and staff in recruitment, financial aid, career services and other student support areas should be prepared for essential walk-ins and face-to-face meetings.
  • General staff: Work locations will be determined by area/unit leaders and supervisors based on the nature of work performed, assessment that duties can be executed effectively off campus, the need to have a campus presence to offer services and the employee’s ability and interest to work remotely. Hybrid and remote work will continue to be utilized wherever appropriate and possible.

All Purdue employees are expected to work with their supervisors to have work locations away from the residential campus approved prior to the start of the fall semester. Additionally, all fully remote work requests must be approved by the vice president/dean/vice provost to facilitate cohesive program planning and delivery. Current guidelines for working remotely can be found here.

Units also should evaluate, implement or, in some cases, continue alternative work schedules (flextime, compressed workweek, etc.) designed to deliver the Boilermaker standard of excellence in our essential areas of teaching, research and engagement/Extension.

As we determine the optimal work locations for all members of the Purdue community, we will be evaluating office space needs — both amount and type. Alternative space arrangements such as shared space or hoteling concepts will be utilized where appropriate.

Our processes for assessing high-risk individuals will revert to the university’s standard accommodations process. Individuals with documented medical conditions will receive appropriate accommodations, which may include exemptions from the above guidance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work together. We hope these guidelines and best practices will assist all of us in better navigating — and creating — this new work environment. Knowing that this is a fluid and dynamic process, we appreciate your patience, flexibility and grace as we move together through this grand experiment.

Thank you for continuing to do your part as we prepare for the 2021-22 academic year, taking the important steps needed to protect our Purdue campus and members of the local community.


Jay Akridge
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity 

Chris Ruhl
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer 

Bill Bell
Vice President for Human Resources