Purdue University is changing the name of its College of Technology to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Officials say the new name reflects its “changing and expanded” mission. During a flurry of activity Friday, the Board of Trustees also approved the naming of the nearly $19 million Innovation Design Center in honor of donor Stephen Bechtel.

May 15, 2015

News Release

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (May 15) approved renaming the College of Technology to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute to better reflect its changing and expanded mission.

The college's transformation is a key element of the university's Purdue Moves initiative.

Gary Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, said the curricular and cultural transformation of the college warrants a new name and frame of reference.

“The Purdue Polytechnic Institute provides a 21st century poly-technical education that will prepare students with skills, knowledge and experiences required by business and industry today and in decades to come,” he said. “It incorporates innovative learning environments, integrates humanities with technical studies in a learn-by-doing atmosphere, and offers new options for majors and for earning a degree. As we work to address the needs of today’s economy, we are redefining the polytechnic experience.”

In fall 2014, 33 first-year students participated in the college’s pilot program of its transformed learning experience. Designed by faculty from Purdue’s colleges of Technology, Liberal Arts and Education, and Purdue Libraries, it featured new approaches to teaching, integration of English and communications courses into a redesigned learning environment and schedule, and a focus on design and project-based learning. It also focused on individual competencies that students could master at their own pace, allowing for more individualized educational experiences.

“The faculty of this college deserve enormous credit,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “By revamping their teaching methods so comprehensively, to match the evolving needs of the marketplace, they have refuted the stereotype that higher education cannot be nimble and innovative.”

Faculty involved with this initial venture – considered the educational research and development arm of Purdue Polytechnic – simultaneously developed a proposal for a bachelor’s degree in transdisciplinary studies in technology based on the ideals of the pilot program. Previously approved by the trustees, the competency-based degree is the first of its kind at a research-intensive university.

The research and development group will continue to examine new approaches to learning and the learning environment. The methods that prove successful in their smaller environment will be marked for expansion and use across the Purdue Polytechnic.

In addition to the transdisciplinary degree, Purdue Polytechnic has expanded the number of undergraduate majors it offers to capitalize on industry needs and faculty strengths. Students enrolling in fall 2016, for example, can choose from unmanned aerial systems, audio engineering technology, supply chain management technology, game studies or health-care construction management. In all, students can choose from 36 majors, and more will be added soon.

“Team-based, learn-by-doing activities will be formally integrated throughout the Polytechnic Institute curriculum – from freshman year through industry-sponsored, senior capstone projects and internship experiences. When we combine these with an integration with humanities, students will build their understanding of the complex nature of applying technology to social issues, problems and solutions at varying scales,” Bertoline said.

This fall, all first-year students in the Purdue Polytechnic will experience a curricula that highlights the intersection between their major, design thinking (TECH 12000 course), English composition and fundamentals of speech communication. This approach expands the ideals of the pilot program across all majors and provides a foundation for the types of experiences students can expect throughout their time as Purdue Polytechnic students.

“We have always been impressed with the caliber and capabilities of the college's graduates, and this new broader and holistic view of technology education will result in graduates who are more well-rounded, allowing them to more quickly integrate into and contribute value in our company,” said Chuck Edwards, president of Lenze Americas.

New or expanded programs will focus on providing experiences where students can address real-world issues with the skills and knowledge they gain in the classroom and laboratories. Seniors, for example, will apply their expertise to real-world problems as part of their capstone projects. The School of Engineering Technology has already integrated this practice into its requirements with industry-sponsored projects. Summer and in-semester internships, global experiences, and exposure to commercialization concepts will add to their skill sets what employers say they need most from today’s workforce.

“For more than 50 years, this college has served a unique and valued role to meet the workforce education needs of business and industry in Indiana and across the nation. But those workforce needs have changed, and so too have the ways in which the current generation of students best learn. The economy has irreversibly moved to a thinking economy era where integration, innovation and collaborative problem solving are now key skills of the workforce,” Bertoline said.

One defining featuring of the Purdue Polytechnic, Bertoline said, is the constant exploration of new teaching methods, topics, experiential opportunities and research.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter for our faculty, staff and students,” he said. “While we have created the outline for where we are going, it is exciting to know that we will continually assess our programs and methods to ensure timeliness and nimbleness. It is what our students and their future employers expect and deserve.”

Source: Purdue University

May 15, 2015

News Release

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – On Friday (May 15) the Purdue Board of Trustees approved naming the Innovation Design Center – a student projects facility scheduled to open in 2017 – for Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr., in recognition of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation's leadership gift toward the $18.5 million building.

The Bechtel Innovation Design Center will promote collaboration, creativity, teamwork, problem-solving and management skills in engineering and technology students as they brainstorm, plan and execute capstone design projects and student-led projects.

“This will be an inspiring facility for today's students and tomorrow's leaders,” said Bechtel, chairman emeritus of the Bechtel Group Inc., who received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue in 1946 and an honorary doctorate in 1972. “As a dedicated space for student innovators, it will help place Purdue at the forefront of engineering and technology education and equip students for success in the dynamic, project-oriented environment of the professional world.”

The facility will be located at Third and Russell streets in the student success corridor, where students live and study, and will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Featuring design and prototyping studios, open workspaces, labs, and “magnet spaces” that draw students together, the center will provide for short-term to multi-year activities and support an array of design projects ranging from building solar and electric vehicles to constructing prototype energy-efficient homes to designing bridges, accessible playgrounds and robots.

An advocate for strengthening U.S. technological and economic competitiveness, Bechtel has made a number of significant investments through the S

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