June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
College Industry Partnerships
26.954.1 - 26.954.13
Industrial Advisory Board Open Forum(university) uses its engineering industrial advisory board in a unique fashion which is helpfulfor its students, fun for the board members, and useful for the faculty and university. During oneof its regular Industrial Advisory Board meetings, (university) arranges an Open Forum Panelwhere students are encouraged to ask board members any questions they may have. Thesequestions cover a very broad range of student interests including for example how to get aninternship, what industry is looking for when hiring new graduates, the utility of getting aprofessional engineering license, and how to prepare for admission to graduate school. When aquestion is asked, any board member may respond and often multiple responses are given sostudents may get different perspectives to consider. Students also have the opportunity to askquestions of individual board members at the conclusion of the open forum.The students benefit from this forum because they can ask questions of very experiencedprofessionals. Of particular interest to many students is getting a job upon graduation and boardmembers can offer some sage advice as many have been involved in the hiring process for manyyears. All students are required to attend this approximately one hour forum so all can benefitfrom the discussions. Students who are just beginning their academic journey benefit by gettinginformation that can help them get internships and take appropriate elective courses. Moreexperienced students can focus on what is of interest to employers and graduate programs. Theseforums can be particularly helpful in dispelling potential student myths. For example, studentssometimes believe they will be primarily doing calculations as an individual for an employer andthat communication and teamwork skills are not that important. Invariably this topic comes upduring a forum and board members consistently and vigorously emphasize the importance ofwritten and verbal communication skills and working effectively on multidisciplinary teams.The board consists of a broad mix of members from both academia and industry, about half ofwhom are alumni of the school. Most have considerable experience and many are involved inhiring interns and new graduates and supervising graduate students. Some have advanceddegrees and some are licensed professional engineers. Experienced professionals are ofteninterested in giving back to their professions and serving on an advisory board is one such way.These open forums are particularly satisfying for board members who have the opportunity togive seasoned advice to those who will be entering the profession in the near future. Thisincludes sharing how careers can change dramatically over time.Faculty benefit by hearing feedback on a range of issues which can be helpful as they providefuture guidance to their students. Advisory board feedback can also be used in the periodicreview of program educational objectives as required for ABET accreditation. Students receiveadvice regarding career matters as required by ABET.These forums are a powerful example of college-industry partnerships. The paper will describethe forum in more detail, give suggestions for alternate formats, and provide recommendationsfor effective implementation. A relatively minimal investment of time has the potential toprovide life-changing advice to students.
Baukal, C. E., & Song, T., & Holmes, W. C., & Crouse, K. A., & Lee, Z. J., & Geiger, C. D. (2015, June), Industrial Advisory Board Open Forum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24291
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