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Bring Realism Into The Classroom Through Your Consulting

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.124.1 - 3.124.6



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Paper Authors

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Richard E. Pfile

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William R. Conrad

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1348

Bring Realism Into the Classroom Through Your Consulting

Richard E. Pfile Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology William R. Conrad Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology

Indiana University-Purdue University at IUPUI Indianapolis, Indiana


The half-life of an engineering degree is said by some to be approximately five years. In a teaching career that may span twenty or thirty years, consulting and applied research are necessary to keep up with the many changes that take place in technology. Skills learned from projects can be applied as case studies in the classroom or as exercises in the laboratory. Several models for successful applied research centers are presented.


The mission of a technology program is to produce graduates who are ready to be productive in the workforce when they graduate. Besides teaching general principles and concepts, it is imperative that students are introduced to technology used by industry. This is fundamental to the mission of technology.

Although industrial experience is a precondition for technology faculty to be hired, in many fields the half-life of an engineer is five years. Faculty need to be continually exposed to the best practices of industry. Just as their counterparts in industry, the faculty need to be lifelong learners1. One of the best ways for a faculty member to maintain technical currency is to become involved in industrial projects as a consultant or in a school center that conducts applied research. Besides keeping faculty members’ technical skills up-to-date, involvement in applied research and consulting renders other benefits such as: (1) providing real-world case studies to be used in classrooms and laboratories, (2) strengthening relationships between the school and industry which can boost corporate donations to the school and enhance student placement, (3) educating employers about technology education, (4) generating income and prestige for the school, and (5) educating professors about employment opportunities available for students in the local area. While the benefits of involvement in applied research and consulting are multifaceted, the most important benefit is the confidence and credibility it allows instructors to


Pfile, R. E., & Conrad, W. R. (1998, June), Bring Realism Into The Classroom Through Your Consulting Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--6943

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