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Collaborative Teaching And Learning

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.129.1 - 4.129.9

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Daniel Davis

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

Session 1321

Collaborative Teaching and Learning

Daniel Davis University of Hartford


In 1991, the National Research Council (NRC) identified the lack of training and education in design as the principal cause of declining competitiveness of American industry. In reviewing undergraduate engineering curricula, the NRC wrote: (University) curricula as a whole lacked the essential interdisciplinary character of modern design practice and did not teach the best practices currently in use in the most competitive companies.1 As it turns out, many who teach design have little direct experience. Overall, only about one-half of engineering faculty have had some work experience in industry2 and are typically unaware of the most recent design techniques. Agreeing with the NRC’s analysis, participants of the Engineering Coalition of Schools for Excellence in Education and Leadership (ECSEL) found that faculty without experience in industry typically are less prepared to teach design. 3 Added professional experience is clearly an important factor in the growth and development of a faculty member.

Collaborative teaching and learning refers to faculty who are teaching at a university and learning while working in industry. Research has shown that cooperative settings produce positive results in elaboration of ideas, analysis, and problem solving.4 This conclusion, while drawn during research on students could also apply to faculty. Many professions require continuing education credit to maintain licensing or other certifications; it is only logical that educators should require the reciprocal of themselves. There is tremendous value in life-long learning that builds a collaboration between education and practice. The two should be integrated, continual, and less fragmented. The obligation the faculty takes on is to prepare students for their profession. They should do this by staying abreast of current developments in industry as well as academia, and allowing this knowledge to influence what they teach and how they teach it. Collaboration with industry provides sound and practical solutions for faculty growth. Moreover, using industry to meet the professional development needs of faculty is a highly viable solution.5

I. Introduction

The half-life of an engineer’s technical skills - how long it takes for half of everything an engineer knows about his or her field to become obsolete - is strikingly short. According to the National University Continuing Education Association, for mechanical engineers it is 7.5 years; for electrical engineers it is 5 years; for software engineers, a mere 2.5 years.6 Keeping in mind the pace of change and growth since these estimates were developed almost 10 years ago, these half-life figures are undoubtedly even shorter today. So as technological changes gain momentum, architectural and engineering professionals must be prepared to treat their careers as

Davis, D. (1999, June), Collaborative Teaching And Learning Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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