As an institution, how would you define 'maker culture'?

Our tagline, “We are Purdue. What we make moves the world forward.” is more than a slogan. It is what we do – every day - and have for almost 150 years. It reflects the strengths of Purdue University: energy, optimism, enthusiasm, curiosity and reliability. These same attributes are the define a Maker Culture and are part of what makes these types of institutions successful at educating the brightest to push the boundaries and develop innovative technologies. 

How does your institution foster maker culture?

Our website is replete with examples of Purdue University’s Maker Culture. The Maker Culture has infiltrated Purdue since inception, and we use several recognition, or “Maker programs” to highlight these individuals and their achievements.

When we seek opportunities to celebrate and showcase innovations, and even create opportunities to identify and share the stories of students, staff, and faculty via the Change Makers program.

Our students are creative, motivated, and forward thinking and go onto leadership positions in industry. Our staff are extraordinary and are the backbone of the institution. They look for ways to promote our maker culture, and in return we recognize then for their great achievements and dedication through our Momentum Makers program.

Another way we recognize students, staff, and faculty who turn ideas into innovation improving lives, sustaining the environment, building economics, and turning ordinary into extraordinary is the Difference Makers program.

Students who have learned, grown, been inspired and chosen to give back are termed Example Makers. Spirit, Legacy, Music, Policy, Discovery, and Culture are a few additional examples of the Maker Culture that is mainstream Purdue University.  

Purdue modified its policy on ownership of University course-generated intellectual property created by students. The University claims no ownership rights to course-generated intellectual property provided that student innovators made use of resources routinely made available in administering a course and all students were equitably enrolled in the course, students are not paid by Purdue University and there are no preexisting obligations for Purdue in connection with such course-generated intellectual property.  

How are you approaching maker education with your current or future curricula?

Maker education at Purdue has been transformed through a series of on-campus initiatives. In 2012, Purdue University completed a self-assessment through the Foundation of Excellence program. This initiative ultimately resulted in a restructuring of the Office of the Provost to best facilitate the student experience at Purdue. Of particular importance to the University was knowledge gained regarding the importance of student-professor interactions early and often throughout their college careers.

Purdue has also adopted a core curriculum a set of common learning outcomes required of all undergraduate students. The core curriculum consists of two levels of learning outcomes: foundational and embedded. All undergraduate students must meet the foundational learning outcomes, which are the same for all students, regardless of discipline or major. Embedded learning outcomes are included in the core requirements of particular degrees or plans of study and are addressed within discipline-specific programs and majors.

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours satisfying the specific foundational learning outcomes. There is no credit requirement for embedded learning outcomes, which will be assessed at the college/school level.

Purdue recently constructed the Discovery Learning Resource Center. The Discovery Learning Research Center is uniquely configured to support research that enhances our understanding of the learning process by designing and assessing innovative educational programs and interactive learning technologies.

In Spring 2015, construction began on an Active Learning Center. The Active Learning Center will encourage the best of new classroom teaching and learning methods. It will create a learning commons for the 21st Century - a blend of centrally scheduled teaching spaces, library/information services, formal study spaces, collaborative work areas and informal learning spaces. It was conceptualized and developed by all University partners working together to provide a unique and critical learning facility.

Purdue is also in the process of modifying an entire college (College of Technology) to create the Polytechnic Institute which is focused on changing the current way students are educated. In addition to learning the standard didactic course work, they students will be required to become proficient in various “soft skills” that are important for students to be successful when they leave the university. Additionally the students will be required to participate in various experiential learning opportunities that involve industry mentoring and interactions in the classroom and workplace. 

What are the key programs, initiatives or classes that support the development of maker skills?

Purdue University approaches maker education in various ways. Arguably the flagship program is Purdue’s Certification in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, operated through the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Discovery Park. Established, in 2005, this program has become one of the largest entrepreneurship programs in the country. Offering students an academic credential similar to a minor, the program attracts motivated students from all academic disciplines with foundational courses in entrepreneurship as well as a number of discipline-specific and experiential courses. The program serves over 1.500 students annually and at the end of academic year 2013-14 had a cumulative enrollment of nearly 5,000 students. Exit students indicate 20% of students report to be involved in a venture of some kind, 805 are likely to be involved in a future startup, and 96% believe the skills and knowledge gained will be useful in their future careers.

Purdue University houses the Center for Instructional Excellence, promoting faculty development and instructional excellence at Purdue. Currently, The Center for Instructional Excellence is conducting a four-year study of why active-learning strategies help student retention, success, and completion rates, with a $2.3 million-grant to Purdue from the U.S. Department of Education.

A signature program of the Center for Instructional Excellence is IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation). The overarching goal of IMPACT is to achieve a greater student-centered learning environment by incorporating active and collaborative learning as well as other student-centered teaching and learning practices and technologies into large enrollment foundational courses. The creation of a student-centered learning environment will foster student engagement and student competence, as well as increased attainment of course-specific learning outcomes.    

How are your students involved in making? Are there maker groups or organizations on campus organized by students?

Students were involved in each segment of the Foundations of Excellence process at Purdue, culminating in reorganization of our support of student learning.

One recent advancement in student involvement at Purdue is The Anvil. Created in 2013, The Anvil is the largest student-run co-working space in the country. Since its inception, the Anvil, open 24/7, has conducted more than 80 events per year, enrolled 130 members, and launched 15 student start-ups. Some of the start-up companies are candidates for Mira Awards. The Mira Awards, Indiana’s technology and innovation awards, were initiated in 1999.

Purdue held its inaugural Boiler Mini-Accelerator Competition in spring 2014. First, second, and third place winners earn $5,000, $3,000 and $1,500, respectively. First and second place teams receive free or discounted professional services through Purdue’s entrepreneurial programs.

One of Purdue University’s signature programs is EPICS. EPICS is an innovative engineering-based design program where students develop the broad set of professional skills needed in today’s global economy as they address needs within their local or global community. Conceived in 1995, the Purdue EPICS course has an enrollment of more than 400 students each semester. Features of EPICS include lasting, multi-year partnerships with community service or education organizations, service-learning, multidisciplinary undergraduate teamwork, vertical integration involving first year through senior students and academic credit. EPICS has been expanded nationally and internationally. As appropriate, teams across multiple EPICS universities engage with a local community partner to solve real-world problems.

The inaugural Purdue Electronic Vehicle Grand Prix was held in 2010. The event was supported through a federal grant for creation of the Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium including students from Purdue, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, The University of Notre Dame, and Indiana University Northwest. To compete, students joined multi-disciplinary teams to design and build energy-efficient go-karts. Using the principles of industrial engineering such as supply chain, production control, and business acumen, the teams also had to obtain materials, schedule assembly operations and market the go-kart event on Purdue’s campus and throughout Indiana. Since its inception, this event has evolved into the Purdue International evGrandPrix, involving universities and communities from the United States, Great Britain, China and Canada. It is now held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500.

Give a snapshot overview of the primary facilities, technologies and tools that campus makers have or will have access to?

One example of the importance of the maker culture to Purdue is the recent announcement the that Lilly Endowment is giving money to Purdue to build the Innovation Design Center, which is a dedicated working space for students to work on all-assortment of projects. It is a joint endeavor between the Colleges of Technology and Engineering. There are a number of other spaces, labs and programs all geared to assisting students, but the Innovation Design Center is the “crown jewel” that proclaims to all how important the “maker culture” is to Purdue.

How does your school engage with the maker community at large?

Purdue is one of the most engaged universities in the United States. Twice receiving the elective Carnegie classification as a community engagement university (2008, 2014) and a 2014 recipient of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) Innovation and Economic Development University designation, Purdue was the first and only University to receive the Peter C. Magrath Award for Engagement (2006). In 2014, Purdue won one of four APLU W. K. Kellogg Foundation Awards for its Purdue Pharmacy Kenya program.

Purdue University is also significantly engaged with P-12 education throughout the State of Indiana. Through programs including agricultural extension, Purdue has a presence in 2,300 of Indiana’s 2,700 schools. Purdue University coordinates the multi-university Indiana Science Initiative I-STEM program. This program provides STEM-based educational material for in-classroom exploration in 136 Indiana schools.

Annually, the Purdue University Office of Engagement supports 225 student service learning projects ($500-$1500 per project) with 150 community partners. Through organizations including but not limited to Purdue’s Technical Assistance Program, partnerships exist with over 1,000 Indiana businesses, healthcare organizations and other community partners.  

What partnerships (informal or formal) do you have with makers and/or community organizations outside of campus?

Purdue University currently is engaged with 1,086 private sector entities funding 1,759 grants, contracts and sub-agreements totaling $79,847,886 in sponsored research funding.

Purdue Extension provides the foundation for formal as well as informal organizations throughout Indiana’s 92 counties. Extension’s 242 employees offer services encompassing agriculture and natural resources, health and human sciences, economic and community development and 4-H youth development. Purdue University extension delivers practical, research-based information that transforms lives and livelihoods.

Purdue maintains a number of partnerships with makers and community organizations. These include NWSC Crane (a short command of the US Navy), the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (with constituents BioCrossroads, Conexus, Energy Systems Network, AgriNovus Indiana and Techpoint), the Indiana Automotive Council, the Indiana Defense Council, to name a few. BioCrossroads advances Indiana’s signature strengths in life sciences. Conexus promotes the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics. Energy Systems Network is an industry-driven economic organization focused on bringing energy technology solutions to market. AgriNovus Indiana is a catalyst in the food and agriculture industry. TechPoint is the voice and catalyst for Indiana’s technology companies and overall technology ecosystem.

The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) seeks to pioneer new ideas and strategies contribution to regional collaboration, innovation and prosperity. Founded in 2005, the Center partners with public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations to identify and enhance the key drivers of innovation in regions across Indiana, the U.S. and beyond. PCRD has a rich history of working with state and regional organizations including the Indiana Association of Regional Councils, the Indiana Economic Development Association, the Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and the Indiana Office of the USDA Rural Development Agency, to name a few.

The Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center (MEP), part of TAP, has been awarded $13.79 million in federal funding over the next five years to serve the competitive needs of small and mid-sized manufacturers in Indiana. MEP currently serves approximately 100 business annually. The increased funding will enable expansion to coverage of 400 mid-sized manufacturers in Indiana. This will facilitate contact with approximately 20% of Indiana’s manufacturers each year.  

What has been the impact of maker culture on your campus?

In addition to the aforementioned, 2014 brought record-breaking numbers in commercialization to Purdue University. This was highlighted by 156 U.S. and global patents, 120 licensing agreements for Purdue intellectual property and 24 startup companies.

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

There are many stories that we can share. As mentioned, last year alone 24 companies were started based upon Purdue’s technology. Some of these were started by our faculty, others were started by the very students who invented the technology either as part of a class or as part of their master/dissertation work. For instance, in our industrial design class, several of the students’ designs are going to be used by Kimberly Clark Professionals for their products.

As featured in a recent news article, Drug Free Therapeutix chief science officer Matthew Ward said Purdue has a culture unlike another other universities. He talked about how the ecosystem offered resources and mentored students that helped him and many others start companies and move innovation forward.