In fall 2018, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute set all-time records for total enrollment at its West Lafayette location for the second consecutive year. The college’s growth has been fueled by its transformed learning environment, its popular new majors, and Purdue University’s overall record enrollment.
In 2013, President Mitch Daniels challenged the college to transform the undergraduate learning experience. How students learn, what they know and aspire to be, and where they get their information have all changed in the 21st century. The changing needs of companies and communities in an increasingly global economy also informed the college’s transformation.
The Polytechnic’s learning environment now better serves the evolving needs of students and society, said Gary Bertoline, dean of Purdue Polytechnic.
“We recognized the need to create a learning environment which is better aligned for the digital age,” Bertoline said. “Employers overwhelmingly say they want graduates who are ready to contribute and who are well-rounded team players. We now have a 21st-century learning experience that readies graduates for lifelong success and provides employers with the adaptable employees they need.”
In fall 2018, more first-year students enrolled at Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus than at any point in its 149-year history. Across the entire University, Purdue Polytechnic was one of the colleges with the strongest gains in new beginners.
The college’s renewed popularity signals the need for continuous change, Bertoline said.
“Transforming our curricula was no small feat for our faculty, and I’m grateful for their tireless efforts,” he said. “Students are showing their recognition of new opportunities in Purdue Polytechnic by enrolling in record numbers. We should feel both validated and challenged by this accomplishment.
“Our ongoing job is to prepare graduates who are ready for constant reinvention — in their careers, in their lives and in the world. Being adaptive is the new normal.”
Purdue Polytechnic’s new record of 4,757 students in West Lafayette represents an 8.7 percent increase over 2017’s record of 4,377.
The college has posted enrollment gains every year since the beginning of its transformation in 2013. This latest enrollment record reflects an 81.7 percent increase in new beginner undergraduate students, a 52 percent increase in graduate students and higher retention rates over the last five years – all of which outpace the University’s average for the same time frame.
The college now has 163 Ph.D. students, an increase of 8.7 percent over last year’s milestone.
During the period of 2006–2013, total enrollment had decreased from 4,346 to 3,640. Two years of record enrollment signifies a full reversal of that earlier decline.