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Incorporating Industry Based Research Into An Undergraduate Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

EM Skills and Concepts in the Real World

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.685.1 - 8.685.10



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Paper Authors

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Terry Collins

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Alisha Youngblood

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

Session 3142

Incorporating Industry-Based Research into an Undergraduate Course

Terry R. Collins, Alisha D. Youngblood, Manuel D. Rossetti University of Arkansas

Abstract There are many benefits associated with including industry-based research into an undergraduate engineering curriculum, but often academic and industry participants have different perspectives on project deliverables. This paper features a case study where senior-level students collect and analyze data in a retail environment, develop conclusions and recommendations for the organization, and present their findings to corporate executives. The paper discusses what techniques worked well for all involved parties, as well as. what changes should be made to make the learning experience more productive.


As with any engineering discipline, the interaction between industry and a senior-level engineering course offers many value-added experiences for the students and the sponsoring company. It gives students the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team to solve real- time problems in an ever changing industry environment. Students are also given exposure to corporate protocol in a project-driven environment. However, the most important attribute from a student perspective is the unique opportunity to experience a transition phase from an academic (classroom) setting to the aggressive and competitive industry environment.

The industry sponsor also benefits from the collaborative research efforts with undergraduate students. One clear goal for the sponsor is to identify future employees for the company, and there’s no better means to evaluate a potential employee than to observe a student’s performance in a semester long project. Individual and team relationships are developed between the student and company sponsor, which in many cases results in full-time employment opportunities upon the student’s graduation. Finally, the sponsor has a sizable resource of 50 to 60 senior-level engineering students to perform a study where large sample sizes are necessary in obtaining credible data for analysis. In almost all cases, the technical support staff of a sponsoring company simply does not have the people resources to undertake a comprehensive study.

This paper will focus on the “Industry Experience through Special Course Projects (IE-SCP)” approach used to complete research projects for the Center for Engineering, Logistics, and Distribution (CELDi) at the University of Arkansas. CELDi is an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center which conducts sponsored research in all areas of Industrial Engineering, but primarily in the area of distribution and logistics. The Industry Experience

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Collins, T., & Youngblood, A. (2003, June), Incorporating Industry Based Research Into An Undergraduate Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12093

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