Message from the dean

Originally published in the 2016 edition of Innovation magazine

In January, we unveiled a new video for the college titled “Technology Legends and Polytechnic Leaders.” In just 90 seconds, it tells our story and sets the stage for the great things to come. One line in the script is particularly powerful to me: “Relentlessly building the future. It’s our unique role at Purdue University.”

With each new development in our ongoing transformation, we are building the future of higher education, not only at Purdue University, but also as an example for other colleges and universities to learn from and emulate.

The first time I watched the video, it reminded me of an attribute many in industry have suggested is important for today’s graduates: grit. It’s not a new idea or term.

In “The Wright Brothers,” author David McCullough recounts the grit and determination Orville and Wilbur Wright exhibited as they tried to prove to the world that flight in a man-made aircraft was possible. More recently, in 2013, psychologist Angela Duckworth delivered a popular TED talk on grit as a predictor of success.

With this in mind, and because our faculty and staff have purpose and grit, I know the transformation of our college will be successful. While it would be easy to fall back into our comfort zones or simply engage in incremental change, we are instead focused on our long-term goals. When we succeed, the graduates of our programs also will be transformed through their learning experiences and possess the grit necessary to be legends and leaders in the digital age. Throughout our transformation, we will stay true to our vision to be “pioneers of learn-by-doing and use-inspired research.”

We achieved one of the biggest milestones of our transformation this spring when the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting agency, gave final approval to our transdisciplinary studies in technology degree program. The degree combines individualized plans of study, close faculty mentoring of students and a competency-based approach. We believe it’s the first of its kind for traditional learners at a public research university. The approval opens the door for additional programs across campus, not just Purdue Polytechnic, to offer competency-based degrees.

You can see more stories of grit and determination in this edition of Innovation magazine, throughout our website and on our social media. In addition to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, we recently added a LinkedIn page. After you have caught up on the college’s news in Innovation, I urge you to watch the Technology Legends and Polytechnic Leaders video on our YouTube Channel. And then go about your day with a renewed sense of purpose — and a little more grit.

Boiler up!