Preparing the 21st Century Technologist
My next few blogs will be excerpts from a document I created when I interviewed for the position of Dean of the College of Technology. That full document can be found on this site under the tab labeled Documents and Presentations. The full document is titled “Future College of Technology.”
The College of Technology has made great strides since its creation in 1964. From our humble beginnings we have grown to be the third largest college at Purdue with 10 locations around the state of Indiana. Much has been accomplished in the past 46 years establishing the College as a national leader in technology education. Through this growth period, the college remains committed to quality undergraduate education, while also cultivating a climate of excellent graduate education and impactful research. However, in some ways we are being constrained in our further development and full potential by our past, as well as the public and academic perception of what “technology” is or should be. Instead we need to step beyond this and re-define ourselves, which will lead us to be viewed as a valued discipline that has a positive impact on society.
As the nature of technology evolves, so too must our college if we are to continue providing timely and relevant programs that meet the needs of employers both today and tomorrow. Technology is a pervasive feature of our contemporary culture but it is more than that; it is a defining feature of the human condition.
We need to move beyond the narrow definition of Technology as artifacts, systems, and processes to a much broader meaning that includes leadership, innovation, commercialization, emerging technologies, entrepreneurship, applied and use-inspired research, industry engagement, professional training and education, sTem education, computational thinking, and system integration.
It is time for the College of Technology to step out of the shadows of our history and the public perceptions of “Technology” and start down the path to redefine the College of Technology and what it means to be a student, graduate, faculty, and staff of our programs. It is time for the College of Technology to lead this nation in the definition and preparation of the 21st Century Technologist. This can be accomplished through a shared vision that goes well beyond our individual needs and the needs of any single department or program. The College has an opportunity to be the thought leader for the nation in preparing graduates that will become the engine of change necessary to revitalize and grow the economy of Indiana and the nation. This higher purpose and shared vision will be our focal point for everything we do and every decision we make; the definition and preparation of the 21st Century Technologist.