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Academia Industry Collaboration

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovative College-Industry Partnerships for the Future

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.122.1 - 25.122.12



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Paper Authors


Waddah Akili Iowa State University

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Waddah Akili has been in the academic arena for more than 37 years. He has held academic positions at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Penn. (1966-1969), at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1969-1987), and at the University of Qatar, Doha, Qatar (1987-2000). Akili’s major field is geotechnical engineering and materials. His research work and experience include characterization of arid and semi arid soils, piled foundations, pavement design and materials, and concrete durability. His interests also include: contemporary issues of engineering education in general, and those of the Middle East and the Arab Gulf States in particular.

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Academia Industry Collaboration in the Arab Gulf States: Divergence or Convergence? AbstractThe paper focuses on the current stance of industry-academia relationships in the ArabGulf States( Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), andargues that meaningful, long-lasting relations have begun to develop. But, there is muchmore that can and must be done. The paper calls for increased “relevancy” of engineeringeducation, with greater industry-academia collaboration on many fronts. It was inspiredby a round table discussion, where engineering graduates of Region’s colleges havesuggested ways to start developing viable and enduring connections between localindustries and the academic institutions of the Arab Gulf States. Strategies to helppromote the collaboration effort are outlined. In particular, activities (plans, andscenarios) perceived as effective in closing the gap between academia and industries aredescribed. Training, capstone courses, consulting by faculty and joint research projects,aimed at serving the interest of both parties (academia & the industrial partners) are alsoaddressed.The paper sheds light on: the mission, the nature, and relevant benchmarks of thiscollaborative effort. Slanting curricula and programs toward industrial relevance and the“practice”, regarded by many as a step in the right direction, will help equip graduateswith the “tools of the trade”, thus lessening the burden on the industry in the locale, inhaving to spend time and effort preparing and training employees at the start of theircareer. If engineering faculty and program planners, would slant curricula and programsmore in the direction of “industrial relevance” and the “practice”, it would help a greatdeal in equipping engineering graduates with the “tools of the trade” thus lessening theburden on the industries.In this endeavor, the authors draw on their own experience as: faculty members,administrators, and industry personnel in the Arab Gulf States; in addition to views andsuggestions of: colleagues, students, graduates, and business leaders in the Region. Thepaper presents some differing views on the potential collaborative roles for academia andindustry and their interrelationships. Our objective is to further motivate Region’seducators and their institutions to collaborate with local industry and move toward greaterrelevancy into engineering education.

Akili, W. (2012, June), Academia Industry Collaboration Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20882

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