Collaborating with industry - Strategies for an undergraduate software engineering program
Software engineering is prominent in the collection of undergraduate disciplines that benefit most from experiential learning. Despite an exhaustive classroom and laboratory curriculum, the obtainment of program outcomes cannot be achieved without the opportunity for the student to be exposed to commercial grade software development. Even the most complex academic software engineering exercise falls short in capturing the project dynamics of building a real world software application. The Software Engineering Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology initiated the first undergraduate degree program of its kind in the United States in 1996, graduating its first class in 2001 and was among the first to receive ABET accreditation in 2002. To address the outcomes of the program and expectations of industry, the Software Engineering Department has developed a set of related strategies that provides students and faculty the opportunity to actively collaborate with the commercial software development sector. This paper will discuss how the department has positioned itself to meet the challenges of collaborating with industry by incorporating cooperative education, commercially sponsored senior capstone projects and the development of research partnerships.