June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
College Industry Partnerships
26.1351.1 - 26.1351.9
Sabbatical Leaves with Industry: Three ExperiencesOne approach to developing and strengthening relationships between universities and industry isto have tenured faculty members engage in one-to-two semester sabbatical leaves at an industrysite. Personal relationships between the faculty member and managers/engineers at the host siteare developed; follow-on contracts and publishable results often benefit the faculty visitor;introductions to other faculty members with specific expertise can benefit the industrial host.In contrast, most sabbatical leaves involve leaves of absence for an extended visit to anotheracademic institution or a government laboratory. The intent is often to collaborate with a hostresearcher or team, to utilize specialized facilities (libraries, equipment), or perhaps to develop anew research interest. If one is funded, it is usually a grant and the researcher has extensivelatitude in what activities to pursue. Publication of research is a secondary goal, and involvementof graduate students is generally not considered.The author participated in three sabbatical leaves with industry during the 21 years 1990-2010:the first two for an entire academic year (9 months) with half salary & benefits paid by thecompany, and half paid by the university; the third leave for one semester with a industrymember group, fully paid for by the university. In all three leaves, travel and housing expenseswere not included because the location of the sabbatical leave site was within one-hourcommuting distance of campus. The main objectives of each sabbatical leave will be discussed,and included training of managers and engineers in areas of faculty expertise, coordinating andfacilitating improvement teams, learning new areas through reading and observing, andpreparing course materials in these areas.Results were: Funded contracts worth $246,000 with the two industrial companies, split almost evenly between the sabbatical leave contract and follow-on contracts. Courses developed after sabbatical ended, for example graduate-level courses in quality engineering, supply chain modeling, and safety engineering. Eighteen refereed publications related to the sabbaticals, split almost evenly between journal and proceedings articles. Five MS Non-thesis Research Project Reports (in lieu of master’s thesis). Three faculty colleagues were introduced to and funded by one of the sabbatical leave hosts. Contacts at the three organizations to meet various university needs: Contacts for co-op, intern, and permanent job opportunities; contacts for senior design projects with industry; contacts for guest speakers to class or student society meetings.The conclusion is that in general, the host company/institution must see some benefit in thesabbatical leave experience, in order for contracts to be awarded; however, for a one-semesteruniversity-funded visit, there is little or no expectation that the faculty visitor will activelyparticipate in the work of the organization. The payoff in terms of funding, course development,publications, involvement of student and faculty colleagues, and industrial contacts can besatisfying to both the faculty member and his administrators. The recommendation is to considersabbaticals with industry in order to provide a boost to one’s career at important intervals, asdocumented here.
Batson, R. G. (2015, June), Sabbatical Leaves with Industry - Three Experiences Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24688
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