June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.731.1 - 15.731.10
Industry Instructors for a Specialized Elective Course
The University of Tulsa (TU) offered an elective course entitled “Combustion Engineering” for its chemical engineering students in the area of combustion technology taught by John Zink Co. LLC (JZ) which is a world-renowned supplier of industrial combustion equipment, such as burners and flares, to the process industries. This arrangement had many benefits for both organizations. TU could offer a course to their students in an area that was not a specific strength of its faculty. TU students had the benefit of learning professional practice from experienced industry engineers. JZ had close access to top senior and graduate chemical engineering students that were potential interns and permanent hires. JZ also benefitted from high quality student final project research reports and presentations in topic areas suggested by and of interest to the instructors. The main area for improvement for future classes is better coordination among the instructors for the quantity and difficulty of homework and exam problems, better consistency on grading projects, and eliminating unnecessary duplication. The main disadvantage of this instruction format is the difficulty establishing a relationship between students and multiple short-term instructors due to the short contact time. Student end-of-course assessments were very positive. This course will now be offered annually as a chemical engineering elective. This paper discusses the details of the course including the benefits, challenges, and lessons learned for this college-industry partnership.
There are many ways that industry and academia can collaborate to educate engineering students. Industry can provide individual instructors to teach existing courses as adjuncts or visiting professors.1 McMasters and Komerath (2005) describe a program developed by Boeing called “Boeing Fellow on Campus Program.”2 In that program, Boeing employees acted as adjunct or visiting faculty at universities where Boeing recruited engineering graduates. For those universities located at a distance, the Fellow actually temporarily lived on or near the campus during the course. However, that arrangement proved to be unsatisfactory for the employees and the program was eventually discontinued.
Industry can help provide new course content, for example for emerging technologies, which can be taught by academia.3 Adjunct instructors from industry can temporarily replace faculty on sabbatical or on leave,4 help handle temporary increases in student course enrollments,5 relieve full-time faculty so they can do research,6 or co-teach with full-time faculty to help bring professional practice into the classroom.7 For example, Texas Instruments helped co-teach a heat transfer course with the University of North Texas and provided students with examples of electronic cooling problems and devices used to solve them.8 This was outside the scope of the typical heat transfer course and gave students a specific example of how the course materials were applied to actual industrial problems. Adjunct instructors can also teach specific topics in a course where
Baukal, C., & Colannino, J., & Bussman, W., & Price, G. (2010, June), Industry Instructors For A Specialized Elective Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15676
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