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Unbreakable Ties

The University of Dayton School of Engineering will strengthen its ties to industry and the community plus work toward graduating engineers with entrepreneurial mindsets thanks to continued support from the Kern Family Foundation.

Since 2008, more than 4,000 UD students have benefited from the School of Engineering's partnership in the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a national coalition of universities with the mission of graduating engineers with entrepreneurial mindsets and tools to create personal, economic and societal value through their work.

This latest support will allow the University of Dayton School of Engineering to:

  • * Hire industry and community liaisons
  • * Engage at least 20 industry and community partners and 30 engineering faculty
  • * Impact 50 courses
  • * Arrange more opportunities for students to visit companies to see examples of engineering in action
  • * Facilitate three faculty workshops on bringing industry and community experiences to the classroom
  • * Develop a digital toolkit for KEEN partners

"Learning is significantly enhanced when theories and principles are directly linked with relevant, real-world examples," School of Engineering Dean Eddy Rojas said. "Most undergraduate engineering students will find employment in industry and in their communities, so they are best prepared for their careers if their learning experiences are directly connected to their future work environments.

"KEEN's support will help us bring more of that industry and community experience into our classrooms. By providing students a broader understanding of the corporate and community enterprises, they can learn how their knowledge can be impactful beyond just engineering."

For the School of Engineering partners, Rojas hopes to increase awareness of their brands among UD students and in the community, provide employee recruitment opportunities, and give them an additional sounding boards with UD students to help solve problems.

"A significant part of (University of Dayton) President (Eric F.) Spina’s vision for the University involves community engagement and community-engaged learning; specifically, to develop deeper, higher-impact reciprocal relationships in the Dayton community, elevating the education of our students through experiential learning," Rojas said. "In his inaugural address, he outlined a vision to 'aggressively pursue corporate partners interested in deep and mutually beneficial relationships.'"

The University of Dayton has a long history of collaboration with industry, including Emerson, GE Aviation and Midmark that have facilities on campus and the School of Engineering Innovation Center where more than 1,200 projects have been completed with more 250 industry partners.

In addition to this latest 44-month, $2 million award to enhance industry and community partnerships, the School of Engineering received a $1.2 million grant in 2014 to initiate the largest faculty and curriculum development program in the school's history. In 2012, the University was part of a three-year, $2.4 million award with Baylor University, the University of Detroit Mercy and Villanova University to develop a curriculum that helps future engineers contribute to the entrepreneurial cultures of their companies.

The University has received the 2013 KEEN Best in Class Award; Rojas was honored with the 2015 Outstanding Dean Award; and Visioneering Center Director Ken Bloemer was recognized for his work in the network with the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Award.


News and Communications Staff