A Meta-analysis of the Effect of Industry Engagement on Student Learning in Undergraduate Programs

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Burns, Caleb
Chopra, Shweta
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Universities incorporate industry engagement alongside classroom teaching to prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, workers, or researchers to make the world a better place. Successful industry engagement activities provide students with life-changing experiences that can: (a) enhance students’ networking connections with professionals who can potentially provide employment references and future job positions, (b) give students an opportunity to gain practical experience by observing and applying the methods and theories learned in classroom to real-world scenarios, (c) allow students to gain experience in their prospective career path, and (d) improve students’ professional communication skills. Existing research has suggested that student learning is enhanced through industry engagement. However, most research has focused on individual industry engagement activities such as internships, plant tours, case studies, etc. There has been little research on the holistic evaluation of the effectiveness of multiple industry engagement activities. For this study, a review of various engagement activities was conducted and ways in which these activities were useful not only for students but also for the industry and the educational institution were identified. Once best practices for most effective industry engagement activities are identified, they can be utilized for creating a more methodical learning environment. This study provides a framework using continuous improvement for a holistic evaluation approach to be implemented when engaging in multiple industry activities. From this study it was identified that each industry engagement provides valuable learning experience to students. Industry engagement not only enhances learning for students but it also provides a vision about their future career. Similarly, industry representatives gain an opportunity to interact with students to learn about the curriculum and the student’s skill sets.


The paper, "A Meta-analysis of the Effect of Industry Engagement on Student Learning in Undergraduate Programs (Caleb Burns and Shweta Chopra), JTMAE 33/1, January 2017" is a copyrighted publication of ATMAE. This paper has been republished with the authorization of ATMAE, and may be accessed directly from the JTMAE website.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017