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Q&A: The San Jose State of packaging education

Herb Schueneman, CPP, is Packaging Program Director at San Jose State University. A 1969 graduate of the Michigan State University School of Packaging, Schueneman has been a member of the California school’s faculty since 1985.

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PW: What’s new in the SJSU packaging program?

Schueneman: We now offer an engineering curriculum and a true engineering degree credited by the Accrediting Bureau of Engineering and Technology (ABET) that’s not part of a technology, applied arts, business, or other curriculum. We believe this is the first time this particular degree has been offered by any accredited university within the United States. We feel that this is what industry has been demanding from the packaging education system for quite a while, and that’s exciting!

PW: What is the primary concern of educators?

Schueneman: The single biggest concern from university instructors is always the same: funding. Securing sufficient funding for current programs is tough enough, and securing funding for expanding programs or improving them or improving the facilities is even more demanding. Educators are, by nature, teachers and not necessarily good marketing people. The reality, however, is that marketing and fund-raising are a huge part of any job, especially this one.

PW: How can the packaging community better assist universities and students?

Schueneman: The quality of the packaging graduate is of utmost importance for every packaging professional. Yet, keeping the program technologically up-to-date is a nearly impossible task. If, however, industry people assisted in this task by offering up-to-date technological information in their specific area of expertise, it would be a huge help for the program. I strongly encourage packaging technologists and other industry professionals to offer their services to universities teaching packaging-related curricula. I also encourage university administrators to open their curricula so that these knowledgeable experts from industry can be used in their packaging program. —RL

For more of this interview, see:

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