June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1420.1 - 11.1420.10
Utilizing Collaboration for a Real World Engineering Education
It is becoming increasingly difficult for educational institutions to offer quality engineering programs. The costs associated with laboratory and related equipment continues to escalate while the funding for the programs remains stagnant or is declining. This leads to a mounting budget shortfall. The outcome is a widening gap between what is required to effectively offer a leading edge engineering program and the resources currently available for instructional purposes. This dilemma directly affects the capability of engineering schools to train and graduate engineers with the abilities to work on state-of-the-art projects in a highly dynamic and increasingly competitive technical environment.
While new technological developments have in many ways created this dilemma, they may also offer the solution to deal with the increasing budget gap in an effective and timely manner. That is, not the technology itself but the businesses that design, develop, and manufacture it along with associated peripheral organizations. The solution is to establish and utilize a series of collaborative arrangements with a variety of partners, some immediately obvious and others rather obscure.
This paper focuses on essential partnerships, cooperative agreements, and other opportunities that must be utilized by engineering programs in order to transform their graduates into a competitive force in the global engineering marketplace. It concentrates on the efforts undertaken at Eastern Washington University’s Department of Engineering & Design. These include collaborations with government agencies, industrial firms, professional societies, and charitable foundations. Engineering programs that have successfully implemented and employed these techniques are able to graduate engineers prepared to prosper in the highly competitive global environment while those that haven’t are struggling with limited resources and budgets.
The Department of Engineering & Design (E&D) at Eastern Washington University (EWU) was at a crossroads. It was housed in an aging building that was full of equipment from bygone days. Cheney Hall had served the Department well for over forty years but times had changed as well as the needs of the students, faculty, and staff. In fact, both the Department’s name and mission had changed a number of times throughout the years. Beginning as an industrial arts facility and moving into technology, graphic arts, and then engineering technology. Today the Department is diversified into engineering, engineering technology, and visual design leading to its most recent name.
Keeping up with all of this change required a continual renewal of resources including facilities, lab equipment, and instructional paraphernalia. This was an expensive process that was severely limited by the Department’s annual budget. As a state supported regional institution EWU was generously awarded funds allowing it to offer a quality comprehensive education. However, as
Loendorf, W., & Richter, D. (2006, June), Utilizing Collaboration For A Real World Engineering Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1360
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