June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
College Industry Partnerships
22.862.1 - 22.862.12
Industry Adjuncts: Lessons LearnedAbstractSome have described adjunct instructors with significant industrial experience as “Professors ofPractice.” These adjuncts can provide many benefits to both students and institutions. Forexample, students can see how theory is applied in actual practice and institutions can offerelectives in subjects where the existing faculty may not have specific expertise. However,teaching part-time while working full-time can be challenging, especially given the increasinglyglobal nature of many industrial organizations where frequent travel is often required. Thispaper describes an engineering equipment manufacturer that has partnered with two localuniversities to provide adjunct instructors. The industry adjuncts teach several mechanical andchemical engineering courses, some of which are required and others which are electives. Thebest and most experienced industry instructors are often the busiest. Both universities have madesome important accommodations that make it easier for those busy adjuncts to more effectivelybalance work and teaching. For example, both universities have adjusted the meeting times forthe courses (e.g., early morning, over lunch, late afternoon) to be more convenient for workinginstructors. Another important aspect of this teaching arrangement is that multiple instructors areused for each class to give the instructors more scheduling flexibility and reduce the workload onany given instructor. While multiple instructors can add some complexity for the students, thebenefits can be significant for both the students and the instructors. The course content is animportant consideration for industry adjuncts. There are two types of courses that are generallyeasier for industry adjuncts, both of which require relatively minimal preparation time. The firsttype is where much of the content already exists. This usually means using a standard textbookwith prepackaged materials such as PowerPoint slides, a solution manual, and sample exams thathave been prepared by the textbook company and/or by previous full time faculty who havetaught the course. The second type is where the topic is in the specific area of expertise for theinstructors where they already have much of the content developed. In this particular case, oneof the courses taught by the industry adjuncts is on experimental methods which happens to be acore competency of the company which has a world class combustion test facility. The adjunctswere given some flexibility in designing that course according to their specific expertise, whereboth instructors have written books related to experimental methods. Some other suggestionsinclude smaller classes to minimize the time required for grading and meeting with studentsoutside of class, close proximity between the company and the university to minimizecommuting time, and access to university resources (e.g., copier, whiteboard markers, etc.)outside normal working hours. This paper will discuss the benefits and challenges along withsome of the lessons learned when industry provides adjunct engineering instructors, includingsome recommendations on how to enhance this type of relationship for both the adjuncts and theinstitution.
Baukal, C. E., & Price, G. L., & Matsson, J. E., & Bussman, W., & Olson, S. M. (2011, June), Industry Adjuncts: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18144
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