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A Cross-disciplinary Investigation of Project Team Functioning

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Teams 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36573

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36573

Download Count

149

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Paper Authors

biography

Margaret Garnett Smallwood University of Texas at Dallas

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Margaret Garnett Smallwood is an associate professor of practice in business communications in the Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. She teaches undergraduate business communication courses and an MBA communication course. Margaret earned her MBA from UTD in 2010, and completed her Master’s in Communication Studies from Sam Houston State University in 2020. She previously worked in public relations, journalism, and corporate communications for major corporations and operated her own communications consulting firm.

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biography

Robert Hart P.E. University of Texas at Dallas

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Robert Hart is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). He teaches the capstone design course sequence and serves as a Director for the UTDesign program, which facilitates corporate sponsorship of capstone projects and promotes resource sharing and cross-disciplinary collaboration among engineering departments. His professional interests are in the areas of engineering education, fluid mechanics, and thermal science. He is an active member of ASME and ASEE and has been a member of the Capstone Design Conference organizing committee since 2015. Before joining UTD, he worked as an engineer for 10 years, primarily at Southwest Research Institute. He is a licensed professional engineer and holds a B.S. and M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Todd W. Polk University of Texas at Dallas

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Dr. Todd Polk is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He received his Master of Science and Doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas. Todd has over 25 years of industry experience in design, test, applications, sales and management. After joining UT Dallas in 2013, he developed the capstone course sequence in the newly-formed Bioengineering department and has been responsible for teaching it since. Todd also serves as a Director for the UTDesign program, which facilitates resource sharing and corporate sponsorship of projects for all engineering disciplines at the university. He attended the Capstone Design Conference in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and is a member of the conference's organizing committee. He is an active member of IEEE and EMBS.

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Abstract

This paper examines the effectiveness of teams in two distinct cohorts: engineering students enrolled in a Senior Design Capstone class, and business students enrolled in a business communication course at the same university. Both cohorts received identical professional communication training on teamwork, conflict management, presentations, and team leadership. Both groups were on similarly-sized long-term project teams and completed the same before and after surveys to assess how their teams were functioning. The results point to differences and similarities in how students from two different disciplines function on a project team. From this, we identify some characteristics that make a project team successful that are not common to both disciplines. These results point to opportunities for educators to improve the educational experience of student teams in both disciplines.

Smallwood, M. G., & Hart, R., & Polk, T. W. (2021, July), A Cross-disciplinary Investigation of Project Team Functioning Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36573

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