June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1247.1 - 12.1247.16
REWARDS AND CHALLENGES OF UTILIZING UNIVERSITY RESEARCH/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CENTERS FOR ENHANCING ENGINEERING EDUCATION Abstract
Most professional disciplines have an integrated residency period for their students before they graduate. This is certainly true for medical and law schools. In engineering, however, this practice has not been formalized. Some schools accomplish this task by their co-operative engineering education programs. In some other schools, students gain experience in summer internships. However, in most universities these programs are optional and, where conducted, take place with minimum contribution from the university professors and professionals.
At the same time, due to expectations from universities to play a more direct role in the regional economic development many universities have established research, technology transfer and technology commercialization centers to serve this purpose. These centers partner with the federal government and local private industries to assist the regional industries to develop new products and processes for the partner industries to implement. The ultimate hope is to bring along the technological innovation to the region and create additional jobs and economic development for the region.
Having these centers owned and controlled by the university, like teaching hospitals that are operated by medical schools, provides a great opportunity for advancing engineering education. Consequently, it is no surprise that some (though not as many as there should be) colleges of engineering have taken advantage of this opportunity. These colleges have established an internal internship program through which engineering students are hired as part-time interns and work as a full fledged engineers on projects contracted with the industry. Although the advantages of operating these centers in terms of the quality of graduates have been positively proven by several centers, the challenges in establishing, maintaining, successfully financing, and efficiently operating them have been great obstacles for other universities to follow.
This paper is a compilation of observations from the authors regarding the challenges and rewards to set-up and operate a research/economic development center in a manner that enhances the education of engineering students. The authors have been actively involved in developing and operating the two centers that are operating successfully in two different universities, Kansas State University and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Azadivar, F., & Kramer, B. (2007, June), Rewards And Challenges Of Utilizing University Research/Economic Development Centers For Enhancing Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2126
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