Back to Class

Join us on October 1 for an array of classes, free of charge, that capture Purdue’s persistent quest for knowledge. Exclusive to President’s Council members.

RSVP by September 24 by selecting the REGISTER FOR IN-PERSON CLASSES button below, which takes you to the Back to Class registration page!

Can’t make it back to campus? Register here for virtual sessions and enjoy our classes, in real time, from the comfort of your home via our livestream option.


Rawls Hall: 7:30–8:30 AM Registration & Breakfast
Rawls Hall: 8:45–9:30 AM Session 1// See options below
Rawls Hall: 9:40–10:25AM Session 2 // See options below
Rawls Hall: 10:35–11:20 AM Session 3 // See options below


Session One – 8:45–9:30 AM

1. Designing Materials for Next-Generation Telehealth Devices

Advances in bioelectronic devices have improved the quality of care for a wide range of patients. Yet many such devices include rigid, non-conformable components that hinder their ability to be worn comfortably, leading to patient noncompliance. This session will highlight an approach based on the Materials Genome Initiative. It will demonstrate how a holistic effort that combines machine learning with synthetic chemistry, additive manufacturing, behavioral science, and clinical application helps speed the discovery and translation of materials from the laboratory and into the hands of patients and medical professionals with a specific effort concerning “smart” contact lenses for continuous biomarker monitoring being highlighted.

Bryan W. Boudouris // Professor of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering

2. Understanding the Role of Hypersonic Systems—A Holistic View

The mere mention of “hypersonic vehicle” conjures up images of a super-fast missile for which a defense is impossible. In reality, like any technological innovation in military tactics, many underappreciated factors make hypersonic systems potentially more or less revolutionary depending on advancement of other technologies, including autonomy, sensing, and multi-system collaboration. This session will demystify hypersonics and provide a holistic view of the possible futures.

Daniel A. DeLaurentis // Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Director, Purdue Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation; College of Engineering

3. Becoming an Online Educator, Student, or Parent Even When I Didn’t Sign Up for It

This session will focus on the teaching and learning challenges experienced during the pandemic and what K–12 and college educators, students, and parents learned. You also will explore a new repository of strategies and tools that promises to make learning more effective, efficient, and appealing in our post-pandemic school environments.

Timothy J. Newby // Professor of Curriculum and Instruction; College of Education

4. Transformative Texts: Shelley’s Frankenstein

Since the 19th century, every manmade thing that frightens us has been called a “Frankenstein.” Today, that includes robots, clones, artificial intelligence, and genetically modified “frank-en-foods.” But Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein offers more than a prophetic warning against fabricated life forms and new technologies, teaching us instead about what it means to be truly human.

Melinda S. Zook // Professor of History, and Director, Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts; College of Liberal Arts


Session Two – 9:45–10:25 AM 

5. Leading through Adversity

Get an inside look at how Purdue Athletics learned to think creatively to ensure student-athletes, coaches, and staff had everything they needed to succeed during our darkest hour. In addition to exploring the department’s leadership during a pandemic, you will enjoy a preview of the University’s strategy for 2021–22 competition as Purdue makes an enduring impact on Big Ten play.

Mike Bobinski // Vice PresidentDirector of Intercollegiate Athletics; Purdue University Athletics

6. Even Racehorses Get Asthma!

Learn about the causes of asthma in horses and its impact on these animals’ athletic performance. Through this session, you will also explore the latest equine research at Purdue into natural ways for preventing and treating asthma in horses.

Laurent L. Couetil // Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine; Section Head, Large Animal Internal Medicine; Director, Equine Research Programs; and Director, Equine Sports Medicine Center; College of Veterinary Medicine

7. Can We Automatically Measure Every Single Tree on the Planet?

Advancements in digital technology are revolutionizing our society. This lecture will explore how the multidisciplinary digital forestry initiative at Purdue is using remote sensing and artificial intelligence–assisted data analytics to develop automated data acquisition tools and platforms that can fundamentally transform practices in measuring and managing our forests.

Songlin Fei // Professor and Dean’s Chair of Remote Sensing, Forestry, and Natural Resources; College of Agriculture

8. Understanding and Combating Replication and Spread of Emerging Viral Pathogens

Explore how emerging viral pathogens, including coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2), Ebola virus, and others hijack human cell machinery for their own replication cycle. You will learn about efforts at Purdue to combat these viral pathogens with new therapeutics aimed at halting virus spread from cell to cell.

Robert V. Stahelin // Retter Professor of Pharmacy and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; College of Pharmacy


Session Three – 10:35–11:20 AM​

9. How University Residences Adapted to COVID-19

Take a “behind the scenes” look at how University Residences developed and implemented plans during the COVID-19 pandemic. From new room configurations and furniture to programming and student support, hear the story of how Purdue didn’t wait for a plan but forged ahead and created one to help make an on-campus experience possible for thousands of Boilermakers.

Barbara J. Frazee // Assistant Vice Provost; Student Life

10. STEM Through Stories: Building Early STEM Skills Through Children’s Storybooks

Early childhood education programs and families often provide only limited opportunities for children to engage in high-quality STEM activities. Discover work designed to integrate STEM learning into activities that families and teachers already engage in, such as picture-book reading, to create high-quality books, to evaluate the effects of materials, and to disseminate them to practitioners and families. You will also learn about the importance of early STEM learning. In-person participants will receive a free copy of an educational picture book developed by the research team.

David J. Purpura // Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and Co-Director, Center for Early Learning; College of Health and Human Sciences

11. Hearing Aids—Finding the Right Fit

Gain a better understanding about the importance of hearing aids and learn more about the differences in hearing-aid technology and pairing individual need with available options.

Jennifer M. Simpson // Clinical Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; College of Health and Human Sciences

12. Introduction to Construction Management

Take an interactive and interesting look at the world of construction management; use virtual reality headsets to practice jobsite safety; learn about historical construction projects and the women, men, machines, and innovation surrounding these projects; and use reality-TV, home shows to learn the real dos and don’ts of construction. Be prepared to learn, laugh, and participate!

Mark D. Zimpfer // Assistant Professor of Practice, Construction Management Technology; Purdue Polytechnic Institute