Message from the dean

Originally published in the 2015 edition of Innovation magazine

Perhaps the most visible part of the college’s transformation was approved at the May meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees. The board approved our proposal to rename the College of Technology to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. The completed and planned improvements to our curriculum and culture are so profound that a name change was warranted. It is one milestone of many we have achieved already this year in the college’s ongoing transformation. Those changes are addressed in greater detail in the cover story of this magazine.

In fact, the college has always been transforming. The School of Technology was created in 1964 to meet the specific needs of industry and to consolidate multiple programs that had an application-oriented curriculum. From the moment of our inception through today, we have continued to address gaps in education, needed skills for the workforce, and new technologies as they have arrived (and sometimes declined). Because of this history, the College of Technology will always be recognized as the foundation of Purdue Polytechnic. We remain one of the 10 academic colleges at Purdue, but with a very distinctive name. Our current departments and degree programs will continue, and they will be supplemented with many new majors.

At this time in our college’s history, we have been provided an extraordinary opportunity by President Mitch Daniels and the Board of Trustees to fulfill workforce needs and offer students an even more vibrant, engaging, and effective learning experience. And, in doing so, we will emerge as a national leader. We are positioned to build upon the strengths of our programs, influence our peers in higher education, and gain state and national attention as we address and overcome challenges being raised by industry and the public.

In fall 2014, our efforts were recognized by the Lilly Endowment Inc., when it awarded the largest foundation grant to Purdue to support student design space and the largest cash grant ever to the college to support the curriculum transformation. I believe our innovative approach to STEM education will resonate just as strongly with other potential partners.

I am honored to be part of this innovative and far-reaching transformation. My goal is always to strengthen opportunities and outcomes for students, and we have made an impressive start to our endeavor. Follow along online as we achieve more milestones over the coming months and years.

The world today is very different than it was in 1964.

  • The digital revolution has replaced the industrial age.
  • The economy is driven by technology development and innovation. In our global economy, millions of jobs have left the U.S., never to return.
  • The nation needs graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines who are creative problem solvers able to work in teams, communicate effectively, integrate technologies and are makers.
  • Students have changed in terms of their motivations and how they learn.
  • The expectations for higher education have evolved, in part to address accessibility, affordability, and the need for degree programs that prepare graduates for high-wage, high-skill jobs and lifelong learning.

Gary R. Bertoline, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Dean
Purdue Polytechnic Institute

People in this Article: