Strengthening a Business Alliance with The University of Iowa College of Engineering

Experiential Learning – Co-ops, Internships

The College’s Co-op and Internship Program creates partnerships among students, the College, and employers by facilitating the development of institutionally supervised engineering related field experiences. These co-op and internship experiences further professional growth for the student, create an influx of the latest theoretical knowledge and technology to the employer, and serve as a primary tool for recruitment and career development. The close interaction of employer, student and the College enables our students to include professional experience in their engineering education, a primary goal of the College.

Employee Recruiting

Engineering Professional Development is a comprehensive office within the College of Engineering that serves students and alumni of the College of Engineering. Professional staff are available to help students--first year through graduate--acquire skills which will allow them to choose and attain personally rewarding careers, through exploration of career direction and the development of job search skills. Also, the Marketing and Communications Office offers CareerConnection for Engineering Alumni -- a unique opportunity for partner employers to connect with College alumni at virtually any experience level for positions open at the company.

Scholarships

Corporate partners use student scholarships of a way of identifying potential talent, informing students of career opportunities with the firm, and rewarding students who may have successfully performed a co-op experience, internship, or project. In many cases, scholarship recipients have committed to full-time employment with a company upon graduation.

Site Field Trips

Frequently, corporate partners in Iowa host field trips of students and faculty. The experience provides College participants with first-hand knowledge of a variety of business and industrial environments. Trips usually last from a half-day to an entire day.

Mentors for Students

The College has established close relationships with business leaders who are both alumni and non-alumni and have agreed to be available to mentor students about their careers.

Student Design Projects

In the increasingly competitive global market, the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams and projects is among the most important traits of emerging new engineers. In response to the need, The Program of Enhanced Design Experience was created.

The Program for Enhanced Design Experience (PEDE) exposes students in a team-based setting to solve real-world industrial problems. The program is a joint effort between The University of Iowa College of Engineering and industrial firms in Iowa to enhance the design experience of undergraduate students at The University of Iowa. The program goals are to expose senior undergraduate students to engineering design by having the students work closely with engineers from industry on a design for a product that is scheduled for production, and to provide industry with a design for a product.

The College of Engineering is partnering with the Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire de Marseille (Polytech'Marseille) in Marseille, France on an international research experience for undergraduate engineering students called Virtual International Project Teams (VIPT). The VIPT program involves substantial interaction between the students on collaborative projects that last for one year. Regular communication on the Internet, combined with travel to the partner institution, provides a realistic, intense level of partnership on a common project.

Corporate Guest Lectures, Seminars

Corporate partner executives are called upon frequently to present lectures and seminars to students and faculty in the College. The speaking events enable an exchange of ideas and a better understanding among students of the value of engineering and technology in a broad cross-section of industries. The College has a specially-designed Francis Business Visitors Center to accommodate visiting executives as a place to prepare for class as well as a location to conduct business away from their corporate office.

Adjunct Faculty Positions

When there is a synergy between companies that rely on College research talent and resources, and the College’s need for improving its teaching capabilities, often an adjunct faculty arrangement evolves as a value-added incentive to high quality corporate employees. The arrangement also enables current faculty in the College to increase their knowledge base with the help of outside experts.

Continuing Education

The College has a long history of conducting undergraduate, graduate, or customized courses – short term or toward advanced degrees – with area corporate partners. Such teaching is accomplished on-site at the company, in a nearby facility, or at the College itself. In addition, the College has an electronic classroom fully equipped for providing video distance learning over fiber optic networks, as well as web video-streaming capabilities.

Summer Seminars in Workplace Writing

The College sponsors single-day, goal-oriented writing workshops designed for engineering professionals and conducted by the College of Engineering’s Hanson Center for Technical Communication. These typically consist of two 2½-hour sessions, with a 1-hour break for lunch, with a minimum of eight to a maximum of twelve attendees on the company’s premises. The sessions are designed to create savings generated by more effective in-house and client communications, an enhanced professional image of the organization, and improved individual and team morale.

Information Exchanges, Corporate Briefings

Often, corporate partners appreciate informal exchanges of information and ideas with College faculty and staff. The sessions provide excellent opportunities to witness “what’s new” on campus – from new people, initiatives, laboratories, and technologies. Each exchange or briefing is custom designed to address a corporate partner’s interest or need.

Equipment, Classroom Facilities

Select equipment and classrooms at the College are available after hours to corporate partners. With appropriate approval and supervision, these facilities enable companies to solve occasional problems without making capital investments in one-time or occasional laboratory equipment or teaching space.

Community Borrower's Permit Privileges

The College of Engineering can provide University of Iowa Library privileges to corporate partners, using the Community Borrower's Permit. The card gains access to all volumes and information contained at the University of Iowa Library and collegiate libraries spread across campus. The privileges enable corporate partners to acquire information and background for new product development, solve difficult engineering and technology problems, and build even closer relationships with faculty and staff researchers on campus. An employee must be a resident of Iowa.

Corporate Candidates for Industry Advisory Board Membership

There are industrial advisory boards for the College of Engineering, its five departments, and the research centers and institutes. Members are drawn from Iowa companies and firms throughout the U.S. The boards provide value to the College in developing and achieving its strategic plan/vision. Members offer advice by drawing upon perspectives, knowledge, and experiences from global trends. Meanwhile, the College, its departments, and research units provide awareness and knowledge of new technologies and educational trends. Board members also benefit by being part of ongoing communication between the world of engineering education as represented by the College and the full spectrum of engineering activities.

K-12/STEM Activities

The College has taken a significant leadership role in working with Iowa corporate partners on K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities -- aimed at increasing the interest and participation of young people to pursue careers in these areas. Some examples include FIRST Tech Challenge, Project Lead the Way, and Invent Iowa.

Ethnic Incluson Effort for Iowa Engineering

The College of Engineering at The University of Iowa has taken on a holistic approach to: 1) improving ethnic inclusion among our engineering graduates and, 2) providing a model for other institutions interested in eliminating the disparity in ethnicity in engineering. The Ethnic Inclusion Effort for Iowa Engineering is one step in higher education that aims to address these problems.

Faculty Consulting

Often companies need advice and consultation about an immediate or short-term engineering problem. College of Engineering faculty members are available, through the College’s External Relations Office, for providing information and perspectives on a fee basis, negotiated with the faculty member. The services enable a company to acquire expertise available nearby, without having to conduct a broader search in other states.

Sponsored Research

Many Iowa firms have discovered that longer term sponsored faculty research helps supplement the in-house research and development efforts – whether to solve a complicated problem or to seek out new initiatives and cutting-edge technology. Engineering faculty work with partner companies through The University of Iowa Sponsored Programs Office. Services on campus enable companies to work out intellectual property agreements that protect both corporate partners, faculty researchers, the College, and the University.

Laboratory Use

There are more than 75 laboratories in the College of Engineering, contained in more than 15 research locations throughout Iowa City and neighboring communities. Depending on a corporate partner’s needs and challenges, the College will work cooperatively to identify appropriate laboratory space and faculty researchers during non-peak hours on a fee basis.

Technology Transfer

The University of Iowa offers services to assist researchers and industry in bringing UI-based research and developments to the marketplace.