Purdue collaborates with Ivy Tech for new degree option

Responding to needs in the food production industry, Purdue University has partnered with Ivy Tech Community College to create a bachelor's degree program concentration focused on food and foodstuff supply chain technology.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Chad Laux, assistant professor in the College of Technology’s Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation, the new concentration will be part of the engineering technology degree program offered at the college’s Statewide Technology locations.

“The food and foodstuff industry can be divided into professionals and technical workers, and we can serve them both with this new concentration,” Laux said. “One of the most important things is food traceability and safety. Our students will need to know about quality management for a supply chain.”

Ivy Tech and Purdue are both accepting students in their respective engineering technology programs. Students who complete the Ivy Tech associate’s degree in ET will be able to seamlessly transfer to one of the Purdue Statewide Technology locations to complete their bachelor’s degree. Two new courses, offered through Purdue’s Department of Food Science, will be incorporated into the degree program. Two other College of Technology faculty are involved with the program.

Rick Homkes, associate professor of computer and information technology at the Kokomo location, will work on creating the plan of study for the new program. He also will assist with the creation of the transfer agreement between Ivy Tech and Purdue. Pat Connolly, professor of computer graphics technology, will lead efforts to create a virtual learning community that will connect students of the program and keep them engaged.

Laux said his experience teaching at the Statewide Technology location in Anderson was beneficial as he worked on this grant proposal. “At Anderson, I learned about the characteristics of our students and how Statewide Technology operates. I appreciate how important the system is,” he said. “We are lucky to have the statewide system as an extension of our engagement and academic efforts. It's a unique model.”

Read the full Purdue news release about the program.

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