Opportunities for innovation and improvement abound on the Purdue University campus. That is true for students, for faculty and staff, and definitely for an academic unit like the College of Technology.
Since the day I interviewed for the dean’s position, I have been known as the Good to Great leader. I have been championing the philosophy of Jim Collins, urging everyone in the college to envision what a great College of Technology can look like. This year, we took a big next step in that journey.
We are in the midst of discussing what a transformed College of Technology should be to capitalize on the ever-changing nature of technology and the creativity of our students and faculty. The college-wide conversation has ranged from curriculum, new degree programs, and even different names for the college and departments. I consider this an exercise in shaping and ensuring the future of the college.
Recently New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote about the changing face of higher education. “We’re moving to a more competency-based world where there will be less interest in how you acquired the competency . . . and more demand to prove that you mastered the competency,” he said. The nature of our discipline which blends theory with practice ensures that our graduates have mastered the competency of their respective technology.
While our transformation discussions have centered on change, there are two things we know we won’t change, because they are the foundation of our college: our charge to prepare graduates to have an immediate impact in their careers, and our promise to blend theory with practice through project-based learning.
We will also need to be able to easily differentiate our programs from those offered in the colleges of Engineering and Science. We must show our students and industry where we can stand out from our colleagues in these colleges. Conversely, we must also show them how we can complement and collaborate with programs across campus to add value to their education or sponsored projects.
This issue of Innovation magazine leans heavily toward the types of outcomes our students can expect when they successfully complete our program. The percentage of Technology students employed or continuing their educations six months after graduation is among the top at Purdue, and average starting salaries are extremely competitive. Our hope is that the college’s transformation will help others fully understand the potential of our programs and the abilities of our alumni.
Gary R. Bertoline
Dean, College of Technology