Purdue Launches Competency-Based Bachelor’s Degree

CLEARED FOR TAKE-OFF: On Tuesday Purdue University announced it gained final approval for its first competency-based program. The Higher Learning Commission, the university’s regional accreditor, signed off on a new bachelor’s degree in “Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology.”

Purdue Polytechnic Institute, one of 10 colleges at Purdue University, designed the program to combine technical education with the humanities and business. Students pursuing the degree must demonstrate expertise in eight “primary competencies”: design thinking, effective communication, social interaction on a team, ethical reasoning, and innovation and creativity. Students will develop e-portfolios to showcase mastery of the competencies, which are also added as course credit to their academic records. Faculty meet individually with students to develop “personalized plans of study” and to serve as mentors throughout the duration of the program.

The university cites demand from employers for graduates with not only technical prowess, but also “skills for a thinking economy” as reason for the program development. The degree has been in development since 2013 and was piloted in fall 2014 with a cohort of 36 students.

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