Applied learning is at the heart of an Alfred State College (ASC) in Alfred, NY, education, with students gaining the knowledge and skills they need to succeed through hands-on, real-world projects.
A terrific example of this is the college’s autobody wreck/rebuild program.
Through this learning experience, students in ASC’s autobody repair major are able to enhance their skill sets by fixing wrecked vehicles, and also gain insight into what it’s like to work inside a live collision shop.
While students were previously responsible for providing their own vehicles to work on, the vehicles are now secured through funding provided by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., a private foundation dedicated to improving the Alfred State community through the support of educational programs.
According to Automotive Trades Instructor CJ Tremper, the Ed Foundation possesses a New York State automobile dealer’s license that allows the college to purchase wrecked cars from an auto salvage auction, which are then used for hands-on projects. The foundation covers the cost of purchasing these cars and also any parts or materials that are needed to bring them back to pre-accident condition.
“This is a huge advantage because now our students have the opportunity to work on rust-free, late-model vehicles without having to spend any money out of their pocket,” Tremper said. “With these cars being quality projects to start with, it also makes the students step up their skills because the end result needs to be very high quality, just as it will be expected of them in the real world.”
According to Tremper, work may range from minor repairs on hoods and fenders to major repairs to the structure of the vehicles. The program covers everything from basic bolt-on-panel replacement to electrical system repairs, steering/suspension work, heating/cooling/air conditioning work and much more.
“We try to acquire a car that has an appropriate amount of damage so that the students can actually apply in the lab what they had previously learned in the classroom setting,” Tremper said. “This allows us the opportunity to revisit some topics and do a little refresher course as the students actually perform the repairs to the vehicle.”
The time it takes to complete a repair project varies due to...