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Pieces of Eight


Partnership Proves Effective

By Nancy McGillicuddy

A partnership of five years is starting to pay off for students of M. H. N. Tabrizi, a professor of computer science at East Carolina University.

Tabrizi and IBM executives Angela Allen and Rich Ward began a partnership program between ECU and IBM in 2000. The partnership encourages IBM employees to become actively involved with students in teaching, mentoring and software development.

Students then gain real world professional experience while at ECU and are prepared for high tech job opportunities upon graduation.

“It is a true partnership program – we get software, tools and real world experts from them and they in return collaborate with ECU experts. IBM recruits and opens up our students to a high technology job market,” Tabrizi said.

In the fall of 2005 IBM recruited six students that were in Tabrizi’s software engineering class. “Besides having access to the resources of IBM, we have been putting together more permanent plans for IBM’s experts to attend and teach different modules of courses, collaborate with ECU faculty, and participate in the education of our students,” Tabrizi said.

The partnership continues this fall as Tabrizi – with participation of different experts from IBM – teaches the software engineering-1 course. During this semester IBM will hire as many as ten students. These students will enroll in software engineering-2 in spring 2007 with IBM’s continued participation, Tabrizi said.

IBM’s lectures are designed to complement software engineering courses by bringing real world expertise into classrooms.

“It is my strong belief and sincere hope that this unique partnership program will become a model of how to effectively bring the university and high technology companies together,” Tabrizi said.

“This partnership will hopefully grow further to help in strengthening high technology job market and economic development of eastern North Carolina.”

This page originally appeared in the Oct. 6, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at