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Faculty With Industrial Experience Bring A Real World Perspective To Engineering Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Leadership Perspectives in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.737.1 - 12.737.10



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Paper Authors


Donald Richter Eastern Washington University

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DONALD C. RICHTER obtained his B. Sc. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He holds a Professional Engineer certification and worked as an Engineer and Engineering Manger in industry for 20 years before teaching. His interests include project management, robotics /automation and air pollution dispersion modeling.

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William Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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WILLIAM R. LOENDORF obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, and M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds a Professional Engineer certification and was previously an Engineering Manager at Motorola. His interests include engineering management, real-time embedded systems, and digital signal processing.

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

Faculty with Industrial Experience Bring a Real World Perspective to Engineering Education


This paper addresses the advantages, experiences, and course enrichment that professors with industrial experience bring into the classroom. The two authors, who together represent nearly 50 years of full time engineering practice, discuss how they have presented material to students that allow them to share in those years of practical experience. Engineers that have worked full time in industry and returned to the university to pass on their knowledge and experience bring a depth of real world case studies that they lived through. These practitioners bring an entirely different perspective to the classroom. Although research is valuable, the traditional progression through B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. Degrees directly to teaching should not be the only perspective students receive. The vast majority of students will begin careers in industry after graduation and therefore would benefit from the experience and lessons learned from those who have really encountered the problems while functioning as a full time practicing engineer. The theory is the same but the practical execution and frame of mind are different than that of the researcher.

Today’s students need both perspectives if they going to be able to compete in the highly competitive global economy. The student of today needs to be more job ready and know more then just theories if they are to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. Exactly how this unique perspective has helped to shape the curriculum at Eastern Washington University’s (EWU) Engineering Technology Programs will be described. Engineers who return to the classroom are also able to relate with industrial partners more easily. They “talk their language” and can therefore help forge additional bonds with industry. Examples of these alliances along with how students and employers have responded to the curriculum changes are also explored. Students have indicated that as a result of including these real world engineering experiences in the curriculum they became more job ready and were actually receiving job offers as a result. Finally the paper will present the authors reflections for the future and how they intend to stay in touch and keep the pulse of a changing industrial landscape.


Graduates of engineering programs today are expected to be productive from their first day on the job. This implies a very limited transition period from student to engineer as well as an accelerated learning curve. After all the educational process doesn’t end at graduation, but rather it is actually just beginning. For many students this translation process can be an extremely challenging, frustrating, and difficult time. One of the objectives of the educator should be to make this a much more transparent and seamless process. One method to achieve this goal has been successfully utilized. Preparing the students for this conversion can be more readily accomplished when faculty members have actual real world engineering experience.

Richter, D., & Loendorf, W. (2007, June), Faculty With Industrial Experience Bring A Real World Perspective To Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2315

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