Phillip Dunston named new director of Office of Professional Practice
Phillip S. Dunston is the new director of the Office of Professional Practice (OPP) at Purdue University. The appointment was effective April 1, 2023.
Dunston holds joint appointments in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and in the Division of Construction Engineering and Management and joined the faculty at Purdue in 2002.
OPP provides work-integrated learning opportunities in experiential education, professional practice and technical skill training. In Spring 2022, OPP engaged more than 8,500 students through Co-op fairs, program information sessions, professional practice courses, workshops and more.
OPP manages a Co-op program, internships and Learning While Working, which gives students an advantage in career readiness with real-world, hands-on learning and training during their time at Purdue. OPP also supports students in its Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE), which provides students with international studies and work opportunities.
“I’m finding the Office of Professional Practice to be an exciting environment where a dedicated and creative team is delivering professional development and experiential learning programs, both domestic and international, that truly enhance the value of a Purdue University degree for participating students,” said Dunston, who replaced Luna Lu as OPP’s director as she transitioned to a new role as associate dean of the faculty. “We are partnering with other units to establish platforms for Purdue students to excel in exciting growth areas targeted by Purdue and creating mechanisms for data capture and analytics to gain insights on the quality of our students’ work-based learning experiences.
“The pathway is bright for increasing Purdue’s footprint and elevating our leadership in this arena of higher education.”
Having benefitted from both co-op and internship experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student, Dunston endorses experiential learning options for students. His construction engineering research and years in CEM, which requires three internships for a degree, have allowed him to interact with designers, general and specialty construction contractors, and owner firms in the heavy civil, industrial and healthcare sectors of the construction industry.
Dunston also was recently appointed to another new role. On Jan. 1, 2023, Dunston was named Dean’s Faculty Fellow for HBCU engagement. He’ll work with associate deans and heads in the College of Engineering to grow partnerships between Purdue Engineering and HBCUs for collaborative research and talent development.