Today’s world changes fast; it only takes a few days for new technology to be adopted and become the norm. This accelerated timeline of innovation can make it hard to keep up—even for tech professionals.

But what does this mean for those who seek to educate the leaders of tomorrow? How can a university’s curriculum turn STEM majors into knowledgeable problem-solvers when fields change overnight, and new skills are in demand each week?

Read on to learn how some of the most advanced STEM-specific institutions keep their students’ education relevant in a world that shows no signs of slowing down.

1. Through Industry Connections

Industry leaders work with technologies that won’t reach textbooks for decades. For universities to include up-to-the-minute information in course offerings, it would require daily curriculum overhauls: an utterly unrealistic goal. Instead, many top engineering colleges invite industry experts to participate directly in education.

By creating direct connections between students and industry through capstone projects, institution-sponsored internships, and industry speakers, students gain insight into the reality of their chosen field and develop the skills they will need to be competitive in the market.

Companies have real-world problems for student teams to solve. By connecting these companies to their students, a university can provide practical real-world experience.

At Oregon State University’s College of Engineering, students worked with a local company named “Puralytics” to design a large-scale water filtration system. In 24 hours, using just the sun’s UV rays, their final product can make 1,000 gallons of water safe for cooking, bathing and drinking. This student-to-industry collaboration is a win-win: students gain cutting-edge, real-world experience, while companies gain a devoted team of young minds to work on business problems.

(Next page: 2 more ways STEM universities stay relevant)

About the Author:

Scott Rhodes is vice provost of Enrollment. With an 18-year background in higher education, Scott Rhodes leads enrollment and recruitment strategies for Florida Polytechnic University. His responsibilities encompass undergraduate admissions, graduate enrollment and enrollment marketing, financial aid, student records and registration and enrollment market research.

 


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