(photo courtesy of Toyota Material Handling)

Columbus-based Toyota Material Handling and Cornell University’s College of Engineering are forming a partnership to provide hands-on engineering experiences. Toyota says the Forklift Learning Studio will incorporate Toyota equipment to provide an immersive education that connects theory with application.

The studio, which will be built this summer, is expected to officially launch at the start of the fall semester in August.

“Our students enjoy theory, but they are motivated by action – building and testing. They respond best to seeing engineering systems first and having the system motivate the theory they learn,” said David Erickson, director of Cornell Engineering’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “The educational opportunity Toyota is enabling us to bring to life will fundamentally change the student experience by allowing them to see how each area of engineering connects to a larger system – in this case, a forklift.”

According to Erickson, the studio will be the first of many, each designed to unify multiple courses and connect students across classes and skill levels. Each studio will incorporate a fully functional system, such as a forklift, to allow students the opportunity to perform experiments and model problems.

“Systems thinking is at the core of what we teach students,” said Lynden Archer, dean of engineering at Cornell. “The ability to take apart a complex system – and to analyze its key components and their interconnections – is essential to modern engineering. This learning studio will advance our educational priorities and enrich the MAE experience for all students. I anticipate that the model we’ve formed with Toyota will be replicated in programs that span the entire college.”

In addition, Toyota says the partnership will expose students to new products and industries that can help build future careers.