Transforming multiple stakeholder insights into education action: developing a pragmatic EIT professional advisory framework

AAEE 2014
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE) Conference 2014, 2014, (2014)
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BACKGROUND This paper discusses the formation of a stakeholder engagement framework for a Professional Advisory board (PAb). These collaborative undertakings were initially conducted to review post-graduate programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This led to the realisation of a pragmatic and collaborative engagement process that benefits industry and the education sector whilst developing students that are able to deal with current and emergent challenges. PURPOSE OR GOAL The PAb is a network of academics, students, alumni and industry members that undertakes to engage, advice and review discipline-specific faculty programs from multiple perspectives to ensure that programs remain relevant and valuable to industry. As the faculty moves towards reengineering their approach to teaching and learning as part of a university-wide initiative known as ‘Learning 2014’ (L2014), this provides the opportunity to shape a more engaged and collaborative teaching and learning culture within its programs. DESIGN/METHODS The collaborative stakeholder process was built upon an intensive series of mixed methods and action research initiatives as engagement mechanisms. These pragmatic and emergent mechanisms involved quantitative surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, industry workshops and multiple rounds of academic consultations. RESULTS The PAb framework was piloted in June 2014. Initial results from a feedback survey are also reported. The collaborative framework, whilst promising, engaging and conceptually robust, has not yet reached a stable state. The framework will be extended to other EIT disciplines in order to evaluate its outcomes across various disciplinary contexts and to optimise the framework’s efficacy for future iterations. This paper suggests a pragmatic and robust framework to integrate industry and stakeholder expectations with faculty program deliverables in a way that is valuable, relevant and rewarding. CONCLUSIONS In this initial framework, industry stakeholders and academics are given a voice to share their priorities and interests. More than that, the PAb provides a forum where areas that are less common, untapped or unknown to the rest of the group can be shared, further explored and tested. While the group is new and still evolving, different EIT aspects that have not yet been undertaken in education that may be potentially powerful could be explored in the future to ensure that we are able to support long term value in the various facets of EIT education. The PAb is proving to be a robust and balanced group of professionals and academics that provide technical and practical perspectives to ensure EIT education remains relevant and current.
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