June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Continuing Professional Development
14.529.1 - 14.529.10
Embedding Faculty into Industry: Understanding the Real World Expectations of Our Graduates
Engineering technology students face intense educational demands in school. Their faculty, challenged to develop coursework that balances theory and applied principles, endeavor to create an environment that mirrors the rigor of real-world industry demands. As job descriptions continue to broaden under a constantly evolving tsunami of technology, hardware, and software solutions, professors have less time to ensure that information disseminated to their students parallels the current needs of their industry partners. This problem is commonplace for many faculty, whose goal is to offer the most relevant classroom experience possible to their students. One solution may be overtly obvious; faculty should embed themselves in the industry fields where their students will ultimately gain employment.
In the summer of 2008, the authors took part in the Faculty Education Program hosted by Rhythm + Hues in Los Angeles, California, a world leader in realistic, three-dimensional animation and special effects for the film industry. Digital production in Hollywood represents an innovative front of technological problem solving. In this arena professors can evaluate the relevancy of their technological curriculum, as well as the context of their own craftsmanship, by participating in summer embedding programs with intense production environments.
This paper details the experiences and lessons learned through a comprehensive explanation of the Rhythm + Hues Faculty Education Program. Furthermore, the authors describe how this model can be applied to strengthen the professional and pedagogical development of other faculty, regardless of their engineering technology discipline.
Faculty today are often inundated with responsibilities that span advising to research. Time is scarce, and anyone who teaches technology courses quickly understands the challenge of remaining current with best practices in theory and application that are utilized in industry. An arduously developed classroom lecture, demonstration or exercise can, and often does, become extraneous in mere weeks with the advent of a new software suite or technology. The constant cycle of developing new teaching materials to replace outdated versions can be a daunting change. When discussing the creation of an innovative educational environment, Maier and Weidner write, “As a general matter, innovation represents change, and there is usually built-in resistance to change.”1 Engineering technology faculty are a part of a field that must embrace change. However, this “built-in resistance” often stems from the reinvestment of the time required to master new technologies and maintain quality-learning environments in the classroom. Therefore, increased value is placed upon the instructor’s technical expertise and dissemination as students become more technologically sophisticated.
Is the mastery of contemporary technological theory and application alone enough to adequately prepare students for the workplace? Is there a fundamental disassociation between what is being
Baldwin, D., & Ludwick, J., & Marshall, K. (2009, June), Embedding Faculty Into Industry: Understanding The Real World Expectations Of Our Graduates Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5189
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