Daniels talks new competency-based degree

The College of Technology at Purdue is receiving a half-million dollar prize from Purdue President Mitch Daniels.
The College of Technology at Purdue is receiving a half-million dollar prize from Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A new degree has been established at Purdue University. It’s one designed to allow students to move at their own pace, while mastering certain concepts and skills. University leaders hope it will better prepare them for the working world.

As students get back into the swing of things for the fall semester, Purdue’s College of Technology unveiled a new competency-based degree Thursday.

“It’s a much deeper kind of learning that’s going to occur, but the key is students will get credit for what they learn. It’s based on what they are passionate about learning,” said Gary Bertoline, dean of the College of Technology.

In January, President Mitch Daniels challenged each department to create a three-year degree, as well as a competency-based degree. The College of Technology, which is newly redesigned as Purdue Polytechnic Institute, was awarded $500,000 for creating the competency-based degree.

Daniels said the degree will be awarded to students who can prove they have met the criteria. He said it will move away from a fixed calendar.

“There’s a lot of interest in higher education right now in getting away from the old agrarian calendar and allowing students to move at their pace,” said Daniels. “They can save money if they move faster, and really what matters in the end is did they master the subject matter or didn’t they?”

Daniels said the idea for the degree really came from potential employers.

“The outside world, the world of business and industry and even the non-profit sector, is really asking for proof that students coming to them for employment really are ready,” said Daniels.

The degree could be introduced as early as next fall. However, the university already has 36 students taking required courses to complete the degree.

Last month, a $500,000 prize was awarded to the Brian Lamb School of Communication for creating a three-year degree.

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