New majors ready Polytechnic students for latest careers

October 1, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It's a new academic year, and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute is at the forefront in offering several new areas of study for students.

Six new majors have been created in three of Purdue Polytechnic's academic areas for the fall semester.

The additions are audio engineering technology in the School of Engineering Technology; aerospace financial analysis and unmanned aerial systems in the Department of Aviation Technology; and effects technical direction, human centered design and development and visual effects compositing in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology.

In addition to the newly created majors, more than 20 former areas of concentration, ranging from airline management and operations to animation to robotics engineering technology, have been elevated to full majors. The areas extend across the college's six schools and departments, including the School of Construction Management Technology, the Department of Computer and Information Technology and the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation.

The influx of new majors puts Purdue Polytechnic in line with the university's Purdue Moves initiative, specifically with regard to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Leadership and Transforming Technology.

Mihaela Vorvoreanu, associate professor of computer graphics technology, said the new major in human centered design and development addresses a major job market need in the field of user experience (UX).

"UX is rapidly growing and is in dire need of qualified professionals," she said. "There are few opportunities for rigorous undergraduate education in UX. We are proud to be one of the pioneers of academic UX education."

The new major puts humans at the center of the process by working to design computer systems that are easy for people to learn and use.

The career choices of computer graphics alumni were the idea behind the newly created effects technical direction and visual effects compositing majors. Carlos Morales, associate professor of computer graphics technology, said many alumni in recent years were moving on from animation studies to work in both areas as part of Hollywood movie crews. Adding the majors offered greater concentration in both areas of study.

"If you have seen a summer blockbuster, you have seen our students' work," he said.

In animation and visual industries, the effects technical director works to simulate natural phenomena, ranging from large-scale destruction to the steam rising off of a cup of coffee. Visual effects compositing handles the digital enhancements of movies, including color correcting and object removal.

The new audio engineering technology major deals with society's critical relationship to sound. From mechanical and electrical design through theater sound implementation, students will focus on how audio technology hardware works and why, as well as how to apply it in a variety of spaces, ranging from large performance theaters, a studio or state-of-the-art lab.

Davin Huston, clinical assistant professor for the School of Engineering Technology, said the major offers a wide variety of careers in all industries given how sound affects us all.

"These students will go on to become the next generation of sound engineers, acousticians or even the experts in automotive noise and vibration," he said.

In the Department of Aviation Technology, the aerospace financial analysis major looks at the business side of aviation, with exposure to aviation management and a focus on its financial aspects. Students majoring in unmanned aerial systems will be equipped to be leaders in this new field. Studies include looking at different aircraft and how they are made and work. Safety regulations and the possibilities created by the unmanned aircraft also are examined.

Both of the new aviation majors were created after analyzing industry trends and determining students' needs for an educational focus on these topics, said Casey Hendrickson, recruitment, placement and events coordinator for the Department of Aviation Technology.

Purdue Polytechnic will continue to monitor technology needs and developments in the workforce and offer new majors to prepare for them. The college is proposing additional majors in the areas of cyber security and mobile application development in upcoming academic years. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, 

Sources: Mihaela Vorvoreanu, 765-496-7709, 

Davin Huston, 765-490-7307, 

Casey Hendrickson, 765-494-9967, 

Carlos Morales, 765-494-7204, 

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