A College of Technology partnership with a Peruvian university is expanding from annual exchange trips to the creation of a new engineering curriculum.
In January 2012, the leaders of TECSUP asked the College of Technology to help them create a new university, focused on applied engineering, that would help South American residents complete their five-year engineering degrees. The new University of Engineering and Technology will be known as UTEC.
The proposal was not a first-time meeting between the institutions. The College of Technology has maintained a long-term relationship with the Peruvian school. Several years ago, the College of Technology helped TECSUP earn accreditation for several of its programs from the ABET accrediting organization. Faculty from the departments of Computer and Information Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology also have maintained relationships with the university.
Don Buskirk (pictured at right), international programs officer for the College of Technology and professor of technology leadership and innovation, has been the main contact between TECSUP/UTEC and Purdue. This fall, he will begin an 18-month appointment in Peru to help develop and implement curriculum for the new university.
UTEC will initially focus on degrees in mechanical engineering technology, electrical engineering technology and energy engineering. Buskirk will work with UTEC faculty and administrators to develop curriculum and course materials and plan for laboratories and equipment that can be used in the classroom and for research projects. Faculty from the College of Technology will also visit UTEC during this time to provide specific academic expertise.
The implementation process will take at least four years, Buskirk said.
“After that, we will take a really good look at how things are working,” he said. “We will evaluate if they are ready to start capstone courses like ours, graduate education, dual degree programs and more.”
Purdue and the College of Technology will benefit from this partnership as well. Students would be able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities at the university and with other institutions in the area. The enhanced South American presence could also provide students and faulty with access to international companies for internships and research.
“Our students are in competition with others from around the world who are not afraid to be in different parts of the world,” Buskirk said. “This is a strategic location for us to help provide global experiences for our students who will be working in a more connected and global environment.”
This is the second time Buskirk has been involved with the creation of an international university. He served as deputy director for Purdue’s Malaysia Polytechnic Development Project from 1994 to 1999.