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Industrial Partnership For The Enhancement Of Engineering Technology Education

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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

4.315.1 - 4.315.7

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Saleh M. Sbenaty

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Industrial Partnership for the Enhancement of Engineering Technology Education

Saleh M. Sbenaty Middle Tennessee State University


Preparing and increasing the number of technology students in order to meet demands in the 21st century through industry-based case studies curriculum development approach is one of the goals of a two-year National Science Foundation, NSF, grant titled “Tennessee Exemplary Faculty for Advanced Technology Education, TEFATE.” A coalition of five teams, each is hosted by a two-year technical college and includes university, high school, and industry partners. In addition to the PI and industry partners, each team includes faculty with specialties in engineering, computer, math, basic science, English, and business. Throughout the grant period, the team members attended various workshops, seminars, and discussion groups emphasizing the importance of industry-based case study approach in technology education. Industrial site visits and internships were also used to familiarize the faculty with the technical need of major area industries as well as to identify potential problems for technical case studies. The grant has resulted in twenty five cases that were prepared and now are being tested by the participating as well as other institutions. These cases provide the student with exciting work- based problems using up-to-date applications, as well as build the foundation knowledge in technology, mathematics, science, and communication. The grant has paved the way to a three- year extension by NSF titled “South East Advanced Technological Education Consortium.” The author is a member of the TEFATE teams and his experience is described here.

I. Introduction

The fast introduction of new technology in the workplace has greatly affected the daily operation of most industrial institutions. Automation, telecommunication, and computer applications have resulted in higher efficiency, reliability, and/or lower production cost. In face of this fact, however, companies currently encounter a new challenge: stay technologically current or risk falling behind the competition! A recent study by The US Department of Commerce indicated the following: firms that do not use advanced technology are less productive, pay lower wages, and offer less job security than similar firms that do. On the other hand, the implementation of new technology is often slowed down by the unavailability of skilled workers. This was expressed in letters of support by various officials form major area companies such as BellSouth, Xerox, Time-Warner Cable, Eastman Chemical, NORTEL, Phillips Consumer Electronics, Fujitsu Business Communication Systems, MCI, Technology 2020, Genesis Communication, and The Bevill Center for Advanced Manufacturing Technology.

Therefore, it is essential, particularly in small or medium size companies, that entry-level technical employees possess the required skills in order to be productive as soon as they join the

Sbenaty, S. M. (1999, June), Industrial Partnership For The Enhancement Of Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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