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Faculty Internships

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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

4.262.1 - 4.262.6

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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey A. Griffin

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Rick L. Homkes

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

Session 1375

Faculty Internships

Jeffrey A. Griffin, Rick Homkes Purdue University


What is a faculty internship? What is the motivating force for the university, the faculty member and the company to enter into a faculty internship? University faculties have been facing the challenge of maintaining currency in knowledge and skills for decades. This has been particularly difficult for faculty in technical fields. While many colleges and universities have required students to gain hands-on and up-to-date experience through internship and cooperative education activities, this practice has not been widely embraced by faculty members themselves. The need, however, is self-evident for faculty teaching in the applied engineering areas. But how are professional relationships established to enable a formalized internship program for faculty? What are the advantages of internship participation for both the faculty and the corporation? What are the steps in developing a faculty internship program? How can the “real world” experience be incorporated into the classroom setting to enhance education? These questions illustrate the critical issues surrounding the design of such a program. Through careful planning and design, however, the corporate world and the academic world can form a partnership to create benefits for both arenas. A literature search and the personal opinions of several faculty members who have completed faculty internship programs are used to describe how this planning and design can work.

Motivating Forces

As full-time employees of a university, faculty members expressing interest in working in industry for a short period of time might not receive a warm welcome in their dean’s or department head’s office. Certain questions may be asked. Why do you want to work in the summer when summer teaching is available? Are you putting this internship / co-op experience / consulting ahead of your regular job? Are you trying to double-dip pay and benefits? While these questions may be asked, it is in the best interest of the university to not only allow, but to promote these external activities. Quite simply, those of us interested in teaching engineering and technology have to continually be refreshed by doing engineering and technology. Since many of us are tenured, and not required to go out and continually re-skill, our deans and department heads have to ask, “What might be done to enhance the vitality of existing faculty in whom resources have been invested and to whom institutional commitments have been made?”[1]. Some older research suggests that encouraging faculty to return to industry for pay helps the university in several ways including:

Griffin, J. A., & Homkes, R. L. (1999, June), Faculty Internships Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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