WSU Tech has multiple points of data collection used for program and curriculum development. These are all designed to include and inform faculty of ongoing industry trends and the RTI support needed to create a solution to industry needs.
The first level of data collection for faculty occurs with members of industry. Every program at WSU Tech has a developed and intentional set of company advisors who meet in-person or virtually as a group with related faculty and academic coordinators at least two times an academic year. During these meetings, faculty gather information relating to current and future industry trends that may provide opportunities for curriculum development or revisions. This may lead to a new grant or project opportunity in which a full qualitative interview and analysis per company would be conducted to investigate a trend further.
For example, WSU Tech was awarded a grant from the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute to spend a year investigating the impact of Industry 4.0 and 5.0 on the skills needed in south-central Kansas for industrial machinery mechanics and robotic technicians. These data pointed to the need for real-world exposure to the production environment while receiving RTI to build the root cause analysis mechanism within a student that addresses troubleshooting at the reactive, preventative, and predictive level. It was found through these discussions that many of these components are learned through apprenticeships. Faculty were involved not only in these discussions but also through the application of the data to a newly revised curriculum that now revolves around apprenticeships. Faculty are promoted to see apprenticeships as a viable solution through industry feedback.
The second level of data collection for faculty will be occurring with a newly developed reporting system. The current proposal will be to store all applied learning opportunities including apprenticeships using our pre-existing Ellucian Banner CMS. This will give staff who encounter students at different touchpoints the ability to input data regarding employment, company, wage, and estimated work schedule which can be reported out on a continuing basis via a report on our SharePoint site. This will give leadership and faculty the ability to see which students are employed while in college plus which industry partners may be willing to host students in the future. As WSU Tech moves towards a college-wide data reporting structure, faculty will be exposed to the opportunities available and will be empowered through data to explore these opportunities during their conversations with industry.