The Purdue University Board of Trustees has approved the creation of a new Division of Military Science and Technology to be housed in the College of Technology. The division will be the administrative home of the three campus ROTC programs. Mat Sutton, associate department head and professor of technology leadership and innovation, will lead the division, serving as liaison between the ROTC branch leaders and the college.
“I will be the primary interface between the ROTC programs and the college Faculty Senate regarding curricular matters within the college. From a broader perspective, I see myself as an advocate for ROTC programs and courses across campus, particularly in regard to providing possible paths to meet university embedded outcomes,” Sutton said.
The extra academic representation was a benefit ROTC leaders were interested in pursuing as plans were discussed for the new division. The courses ROTC students take are often above and beyond their regular degree programs, which can extend the time necessary for graduation compared to their peers. The ROTC programs will work toward aligning their courses to the University’s required outcomes, making them more attractive for meeting embedded outcomes, which are core outcomes for specific degrees.
The focus on leadership in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation (TLI) curriculum was also an attractive feature.
“We think that aligns well with the leadership focus of ROTC, and we anticipate some synergies in course work and student load that we can work with in the technology leadership curriculum,” said Lt. Col. James Scrogin, branch commander for Purdue’s Army ROTC.
As the military strives to increase its number of commissioned officers with a STEM background, Scrogin said, having a home in the College of Technology can help with recruiting STEM students and providing more exposure to STEM classes.
“This new partnership opens exciting possibilities for students in the College of Technology and across campus,” said Gary Bertoline, dean. “We have already started discussing new course options and targeted minors that could provide leadership development for ROTC cadets and other students seeking leadership skills.”
The College of Technology enrolls the second largest number of ROTC students at Purdue, just slightly fewer than the College of Engineering.
Bertoline said the creation of the division went smoothly because of the support of the college's faculty and the cooperation of several campus personnel: Mat Sutton, associate department head and professor of technology leadership and innovation; Dale Whittaker, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs; Howard Taylor, acting associate vice president for student affairs; James Mohler, associate dean for academic affairs and diversity in the College of Technology; Col. Seth Bretscher, Air Force ROTC; Lt. Col. Jerry Hubbard, Army ROTC (now retired); and Capt. Troy Mong, Navy ROTC.