Industry Advisory Board Members’ Contributions to Engineering Education Program Development - A Case Study
Paper i proceeding, 2019
Engineering education programs should be developed in line with society’s needs. This becomes more challenging with an increased speed of technical development. In order to create this alignment input from society and industry is vital for program management as well as for higher education governance. One common way to gather input is through industry advisory boards on different organisational levels. Currently there are few studies that focus on contributions by industry representatives in industry advisory boards on individual education program level. These studies have primarily been performed through quantitative approaches (surveys) and findings are inconclusive.
In this original study we aim to answer how industry representatives contribute to program development of engineering education programs, and what their motives are. In order to gain increased understanding, we have performed 18 semi-structured interviews with industry representatives in program advisory boards at one Swedish university.
Results indicate that industry representatives provide different types of contributions, which are affected by preconditions set by heads of programme, and meeting formats. Several representatives mention that they are unclear of their actual contribution. They also highlight (1) personal motives such as supporting the head of programme and (2) their employers’ motives to actively influence program content, as motives for contributions.
This study adds new insights, through its qualitative approach, to the understanding of industry representatives’ motives and contributions to program development. It provides additional perspectives to current contributions to this field, to program management, and for development of governance structures in higher education institutions.