Purdue Polytechnic seeks to customize program

Purdue Polytechnic plans to offer a new bachelor of science program allowing companies to tailor degrees to specific job requirements.

Officially billed as the “bachelor of science in multi-disciplinary technology,” the program allows a mix and match of a series of courses, in order to meet a business’ educational needs for its employees. For example, a company in need of testing experts could tailor its degree requirements to focus heavily on metrology and the science of measurements, said Joe Fuehne, Columbus Purdue Polytechnic director.

A different company might need product designers, choosing to focus more heavily on engineering and design courses.

While the new degree was approved by the Purdue University Board of Trustees on April 8, the Indiana Commission for High Education will not consider approval of the degree until its regular June 9 meeting in Indianapolis.

This program is not aimed at most students, for whom a more general degree may be a better option, said Deba Dutta, Purdue University provost and executive vice president of academic affairs and diversity.

About 15 to 18 percent of Purdue Polytechnic students require this kind of specialized training as part of their employment, Dutta said.

The degree program will also allow companies to include additional certifications within the degree program, so that students will earn other credentials as they earn their degree, he added.

The program would be offered through blended and online methods at the Purdue Statewide locations and their extensions, which include Anderson, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

These industry-led degrees will not be entirely without academic oversight, said Gary Bertoline, Purdue Polytechnic statewide network dean.

Regardless of specialization, all students must still complete Purdue University’s required core curriculum, just like any other student, Bertoline said.

All degree programs also require approval and oversight from faculty, he added.

Cummins Inc. has not yet weighed in on exactly the types of degrees it would like to create, Fuehne said.

However, Fuehne has already spoken with testing staff at Cummins about the possibility of starting with a degree focused on metrology.

While this would be a first step, companies may also request more options such as machining or automation, Fuehne said. The possibilities are nearly endless, he added.

These specialized industry-driven degrees will only be available through Purdue Polytechnic programs and are not offered on the university’s main campus in West Lafayette, Fuehne said.

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What: Purdue Polytechnic open house

When: 4:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Advanced Manufacturing Center for Excellence, 4444 Kelly St.

Who: High school students and recent graduates considering enrollment at Purdue Polytechnic Columbus. Parents and the general public are also welcome.

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To learn more about Purdue Polytechnic, visit