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A Design Project Management Course At Rit

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

New Programs and Success Stories

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.42.1 - 8.42.11



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Paper Authors

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Edward Hensel

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Paul Stiebitz

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2242

A Design Project Management Course at RIT

E. C. Hensel, P. H. Stiebitz Mechanical Engineering / Industrial and Systems Engineering Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 14623-5604


Rochester Institute of Technology is currently implementing a college-wide initiative to incorporate multi-disciplinary design as a central theme for all students in the capstone design sequence. For several years, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering has supported a number of multi-disciplinary design teams. Each year, a limited number of multi-disciplinary teams would be formed, typically under the leadership of a strong faculty proponent.

During the current academic year, RIT is incorporating lessons learned to institutionalize a multi-disciplinary capstone design experience for all students in the college. This paper will focus on educating the project managers and its content. A primary observation, based on the personal experiences of faculty members teaching design projects, and reflections of other faculty in the literature, indicates that most engineering students do not understand how to work collaboratively on multi-disciplinary teams. Many engineering students have no formal training in technical project management.

During the Fall quarter of 2002, RIT introduced an advanced undergraduate course entitled “Design Project Management.” During this course, students from mechanical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and electrical engineering participated in a series of learning exercises specifically directed towards helping each student become a more effective team leader, when they assume responsibility for leading a design project team. Each student in the class will become a team leader of a multi-disciplinary team that will convene in the winter quarter, and work through the spring quarter to deliver a design project for a client.

In this article, we will review the course learning objectives, daily topical coverage, and provide an in-depth review of weekly team-training exercises that the student engaged in. Within the design project management class, the student leaders formed sub-groups to apply formal techniques of product development and design to a classroom example. Every student in the class, except one, had completed a freshman “hammer building” exercise in the college machine shop. We used that common baseline of experience as a touchstone throughout the quarter. Students could then use a familiar project, and a challenge of “designing a better hammer” to learn about the contributions of each discipline, apply the fundamental principles of product development, and practice the management skills that they were learning.

The article will conclude with an assessment of the course outcomes, and provide feedback gained from the students via an in-depth survey conducted at the end of the project management course. In addition, while the design teams themselves will proceed past the paper

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Hensel, E., & Stiebitz, P. (2003, June), A Design Project Management Course At Rit Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12609

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