WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue President Mitch Daniels figured it would be simple back in January, when the Purdue president went to the University Senate and asked faculty to make quick work of coming up with a way to prove Purdue undergrads had a firm grasp of U.S. civics by the time they received their diplomas.

“To be quite honest, it’s not so simple,” Daniels said Friday, during a break in a Purdue trustees meeting. “And I get that.”

On Monday, faculty leaders will propose a plan that, in essence, takes a deep breath on Daniels’ lament about what he called a crisis in civics education. If approved by the University Senate – a faculty-heavy governing board that reviews major academic changes on the West Lafayette campus – Daniels would have to wait until perhaps the spring 2020 semester to find out what professors believe Purdue should do.

“In the usual, deliberate way we tend to have on the faculty, we really felt we needed more time and more information,” said Natalie Carroll, University Senate chair. Carroll acknowledged that earlier in the semester she’d offered to trustees and the Daniels that she thought it was possible to come up with a plan by the end of this school year.

“But everyone seems to really want to get it right, not necessarily fast,” Carroll said. “Maybe another semester or so will help us get it right.”

In January, Daniels used his usual address to the University Senate to bemoan what he said was the dismal state of Americans’ lack of knowledge about civics and basic government functions. He hauled out surveys and general anecdotes about Americans not understanding the founding principles of the nation, what’s in the Constitution and fundamental facts about U.S. history.

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