Defining Moment #2: New Statewide degree program exceeds expectations
Written by TechPurdue // May 15, 2011 // Alumni & Friends, Anderson, Annual Report 2011, Business & Industry, Columbus, Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Kokomo, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend // No comments
The first year for the new bachelor’s degree in engineering technology is complete, and college faculty, students and administrators see nothing but potential for the program.
Offered at four Statewide Technology locations (South Bend, Kokomo, Anderson and Richmond), the new degree program was developed with flexibility and local needs in mind.
“The flexibility and breadth of the program is a big selling point,” said Duane Dunlap, associate dean for statewide technology. “Small and medium-sized enterprises need someone who can do more than one thing, such as electric systems, mechanical systems, database systems, LEAN, Six Sigma, etc.”
In addition, the 2011 Skills Gap Report by the Manufacturing Institute reports that the number one skills deficiency among current employees is problem-solving skill, making it difficult for current employees to adapt to changing needs. Dunlap believes the college is uniquely qualified and situated to serve those industry needs.
“If we’re to be a value-add in the community, we have to think about what are we doing in Indiana to keep jobs or to create new economic opportunity that didn’t exist before, or improve the quality of life in the communities that we serve,” he said.
The engineering technology degree allows students to customize a concentration during their final two years of the degree. Students in Kokomo, for example, may want to focus on electric vehicles or alternative energy; South Bend student can choose to concentrate on nanotechnology so that they can impact their local economy.
The degree was created through existing courses in the curriculum, spanning six academic disciplines. Some of the concentrations may require additional courses that will be developed.
The degree was also planned to create a seamless experience for students who start out at Ivy Tech Community College and transfer to Purdue’s College of Technology to complete their bachelor’s degree work.
“Manufacturers see education as important with students moving to an AS degree and then a BS degree. There is no other model out there like this,” Dunlap said. “It is the easiest transfer we have.”
Faculty and administrators from the two institutions have been invited to National Manufacturers Institute annual conference to talk about the statewide model on collaborating with regards to manufacturing education.
Because 82 percent of Statewide Technology graduates stay in the community where they study, BSET is expected to provide local businesses and industries with employees trained for their needs.
“The fact that initial enrollment was 60 percent above what we had expected shows that we are meeting a need. This four-year engineering technology program is designed to provide a skilled work force geared to the industries based in a specific region,” Dunlap said.
The BSET program builds upon six core College of Technology technical disciplines: computer graphics, computer and information technology, electrical and computer engineering technology, industrial technology, mechanical engineering technology, and organizational leadership and supervision. See a suggested plan of study.
The curriculum was developed over two years with input from community and business leaders, county and city officials, state work force development personnel, and faculty.
Donors have also recognized the value of the degree program. A scholarship in Richmond has been created, at the behest of the donor, for use by students in the engineering technology program.
Now and in the Future
- Fall 2011 enrollment: 63 degree-seeking students
- A new concentration in food and food stuff supply chain technology, which will serve several employers along the I-69 “food corridor” in Indiana. Read the full story.
- A new concentration in nanotechnology has been approved for South Bend.
- A new concentration in medical technology systems has been approved in Richmond.
- The degree program will have its first graduates in May 2012.
Would like to do:
- Add the program in New Albany with a construction management concentration focused on estimating and bidding
- Add the program in Columbus with a manufacturing leadership concentration