University-Industrial Collaboration in Industrial Design Education: A Practical Model


University/Industry-Collaboration is not new to Industrial Design curricula, however, the contents of each program vary vastly. For most collaborations, students take in design problems from sponsors and develop design solutions. The sponsor may meet with the students a couple of times to make sure students are on the right track. Eventually, if the design solutions are satisfactory to the sponsor’s needs, the sponsor may come back for another project. This is a service/client collaboration model. The disadvantage of this model is that the sponsor usually funds the project much less than the fee-based design firm while taking a risk of getting less professional outcomes. Design schools become competitors of design firms at a much lower rate. If student design reaches the expectation of the sponsor, it would diminish the need for the design firm, thus bringing harm to the design profession. At Auburn, we developed a model that focused more on collaborations rather than providing design services. This model provides students a hands-on experience working with the sponsor weekly as well as possible job opportunities when they graduate from the program. This partnership model delivers solutions that await the sponsor’s designers to perfect for production. As the partnership develops, the sponsor began hiring graduated students to fill their expanding design team and providing internship opportunities to students who are still in school. This collaboration model not only can provide practical experience and training to the students but also bring benefits to the design industry for more opportunities.

Author Information
Tin-Man Lau, Auburn University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2023
Stream: Aesthetics

This paper is part of the IICAH2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Lau T. (2023) University-Industrial Collaboration in Industrial Design Education: A Practical Model ISSN: 2432-4604 – The IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities – Hawaii 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon