June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Cooperative and Experiential Education
This work-in-progress paper focuses on efforts related to the Student Experiential Education (SEE) Initiative in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. The SEE Initiative was founded in Spring 2018 and is currently in its first year of implementation. The initiative aims to more effectively integrate professional insights and industry-related connections throughout students’ experience in the department.
The SEE Initiative approaches the goal of increased industry/academia integration from two angles. The first approach focuses on finding opportunities to pull industry into education. This approach includes hosting alumni panels in core classes, using alumni/industry volunteers for required student informational interviews, planning networking events hosted on-campus, and integrating industry-focused modules and sample problems across the curriculum. These components were selected to bring industry/professional connections into the curriculum in places where students sometimes struggle to connect academic concepts to outside practice, especially early in their academic career and in foundational core courses.
The second approach of the SEE Initiative is to push students out into industry/professional environments. The primary goal of this component is to increase the percentage of the department’s students who complete an internship from the current rate of 44% for students graduating in AY 17-18. By bringing students into ongoing contact with industry professionals through the pull component of the initiative, the goal is to build a department culture where internships are viewed as a typical component of an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering program and an important step in a student’s professional development. To that end, the department has employed a new cohort of Student Apprentices to be peer mentors and role models -- providing advice and encouragement to students considering internships, and demonstrating the value of their own internship experiences.
Initial observations and data will be shared from the SEE Initiative’s first year of implementation, along with future directions and lessons learned that may be of value for those interested in implementing similar efforts at their institutions.
McConnell, K., & Steinbrenner, J. E., & Knight, D. (2019, June), Push and Pull: Integrating Industry Across the Student Experience Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33215
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