For several of the industry partnership programs (e.g., co-op, capstone), intellectual property rights were mentioned as a barrier to implementation—specifically, whether the students, the institution, and/or the industry sponsor should retain the rights to any products that result from the partnership. Suggestions to address this challenge included both bringing business or law students to the project team to expand and protect student and institutional intellectual property rights and encouraging universities to recognize the need for companies to protect their products.

“We are encouraged by the breath of innovative approaches that are exposing engineering students to real world scenarios they will encounter after graduation. We must continue to share best practices, support institutions that are nurturing multidisciplinary education, and provide experiences and contexts that prepare our future engineers to lead and innovate.”

Allyson Peerman
Corp. VP, Global Public Affairs

Respondents also described barriers related to specific program categories. For example, first-year engineering programs may lack dedicated faculty members or college wide agreement on program goals. Co-op programs may be hampered by the multi-semester commitment often required from students and companies; one suggestion was to develop projects that could be completed in one semester. Capstone courses would benefit from cooperation between chairs and faculty in the scheduling of senior design courses in all departments during the same class periods to enable students on project teams to meet. One dean noted the difficulty of both tracking students’ fulfillment of the requirements for the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (p. 15) and finding appropriate student projects related to the program, and suggested the development of a national database of potential Grand Challenges projects for university students.

List of Real World Engineering Education Selected Exemplars

The program descriptions are organized according to broad categories, including Capstone, Course/Curricular, Co-Op, Extracurricular, First Year, Global, and Service-Learning. Several programs include more than one category but are listed with their primary designation.

Institution Real World Engineering Education Program

Capstone Programs

Harvey Mudd College Engineering Clinic Program
Lehigh University Integrated Product Development Program and Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation
Michigan Technological University The Enterprise Program
The Pennsylvania State University Infusing Capstone Design Projects with Real-World Experiences Using Global and Cross-College Teams
University of Idaho A Self-Renewing, Industry-Driven Capstone Design Program
University of Utah SPIRALed Engineering Education
West Virginia University Projects with Industry and Building Energy Use

Co-Op Programs

Grand Valley State University The Scaffolded GVSU Co-op to Interdisciplinary Industry-based Capstone Project Program
Northwestern University McCormick Office of Career Development

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