Purdue Polytechnic wins $500,000 award for competency-based degree

Purdue President Mitch Daniels, from left, and Gary Bertoline, dean of the College of Technology, listen as student David Tishmack speaks at Thursday’s (Sept. 4) announcement. Tishmack is a first-year mechanical engineering technology student in the Polytechnic program. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

With students excited about a new approach to learning and a college dean focused on transforming education, Purdue University president Mitch Daniels awarded $500,000 to the College of Technology and Purdue Polytechnic Institute to create the University's first competency-based degree program. The announcement was made during a Sept. 4 news conference on campus.

Daniels said that Purdue is committed to advancing competency-based education, which is one important element of many innovative features of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

"I'm very pleased to announce that Purdue Polytechnic Institute has created a dynamic, integrated degree program proposal that will allow students to move as fast as their ability and diligence will permit, reducing their time to degree and their costs as they do so," he said.

The two student speakers shared the president's excitement. Student Anna Bowen, a first-year computer and information technology major, said she is excited to go to class every day.

"I wanted to join Purdue Polytechnic Institute so I have more control over what I learn. I get to apply the knowledge I learn to the real-world," she said.

David Tishmack, a first-year mechanical engineering technology major, praised the empowerment he feels in the program.

"The environment is fantastic to build our motivation to learn," he said.

The focus on competency-based education is only one of the goals of the larger transformation of the College of Technology, which was also discussed at the event.

"Starting with a competency-based, learn-by-doing degree that is integrated with the humanities, the transformation will soon touch all parts of the College: curricula, learning/teaching methods, learning spaces, student assessments, use-inspired research, community and industry engagement, and nearly every fiber of the college’s culture," said Gary Bertoline, dean of the College of Technology. "This competency-based degree program is a transformative sTem education model that will put Purdue at the forefront of competency-based learning and technology education."

Read the full Purdue University news release about the competency-based degree and college transformation.

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