Defining Moment #1: Graduate program sees steady growth

Return to "Defining Moments" main page. The graduate program within the College of Technology continues to grow and mature as the college places additional emphasis on research as part of the educational equation. In addition to the umbrella master’s degree in technology, the college now offers five master’s degrees that are program-specific: aviation and aerospace management, building construction management (approve Fall 2011), computer and information technology, computer graphics technology and industrial technology. In addition, the professional education arm of the college – the Center for Professional Studies in Technology and Applied Research (ProSTAR) – has expanded its degree offerings and its enrollment since it launched three years ago. Students now have the choice of three types of learning environments (depending on the degree): traditional, residential graduate studies; weekend master’s program, which blends distance learning with three weekends on campus each semester; and 100 percent distance learning. Each has a specific target audience without much overlap. The most recent addition to the degree line-up is a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree option that allows students to complete both degrees in five years. “Admissions requirements for this option are high,” said James Mohler, interim associate dean for academic affairs and diversity. “Many times, these students are already thinking about graduate school. We are providing opportunities for our best and brightest students to walk away with two degrees and have some experience in research.” This growth is precipitated by a number of factors. First, the global workforce continues to grow more technically savvy. In order to stay competitive in a global economy, especially in the STEM disciplines, Mohler said, we need to focus on education. “Internationally, most students who complete a bachelor’s degree go on to get at least a master’s degree, if not a Ph.D.,” Mohler said. University goals for graduate enrollment include steady growth. Technology’s goal for 2014 enrollment across all graduate programs is 600. Finally, increased research requires increased work for research assistants as well. “There’s a lot more opportunity for growth in research in technology fields,” Mohler said. “Previously much this research was done in the military or elsewhere. Now it is more applied and theoretical and it has moved to academia. There’s big potential for growth in energy, sustainability, and anything cyber-related.” The college has offered a master’s degree program since 1995 and a PhD program since 2002. Graduate student enrollment, including ProSTAR

  • 2011-12: 454
  • 2010-11: 499
  • 2009-10: 450
  • 2008-09: 361

The Future of CoT graduate studies:

  • The goal is to have all program-specific master’s degree in each program by Fall 2013.
  • The college has started posting student directed projects and theses on the Purdue Libraries ePubs site.

(Photo: Jennifer Kirschner, who earned a professional flight bachelor’s degree and worked as a flight instructor for four years, sits in one of the University’s new Cirrus flight simulators. She is in the Ph.D. program studying human factors in aviation.)