New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Design in Engineering Education
Capstone Advisor Valuation of a Multidisciplinary Capstone Program
The university offers students, through its Multidisciplinary Capstone Program (MDC), a broad range of opportunities for both engineering and non-engineering students to work directly with industry personnel on company-sponsored product and process design projects. The university provides students an opportunity to apply their academics and professional and practical skills to real-world problems as a member of a multidisciplinary team. The program is a two-semester project design sequence. Based on the project scope, the coordinators form teams and assign a faculty advisor to ensure project success. The sponsor is vested in the program by assigning an industry liaison to participate in weekly student meetings, design reviews and coordinate student visits to the company. The program began in 2009 and has included over 20 disciplines, over 650 students and over 50 companies through the spring of 2015. Non-engineering students are involved through an engineering sciences minor program. This promotes discipline diversity in the program while giving students academic credit.
The objectives of the research were to gather information from faculty advisors of the MDC to assess the educational effectiveness to prepare its students for their professional careers. To do this, the authors distributed a survey to 13 of its current and past faculty advisors. The survey focused on the ABET Criteria 3 (a-k) program objectives and a breakdown of life-long learning skills. This paper addresses the quantitative results of the survey and compares student preparedness prior to starting MDC, importance to completing MDC and MDC’s contribution to meet program objectives. Preliminary results show that faculty advisors see students being less prepared to design and conduct experiments; analyze and interpret data; design a system, component or process to meet a desired need with realistic constraints; function in a multidisciplinary team; manage a project; identify, formulate and solve engineering problems; communicate effectively; and recognize the need for and engage in life-long learning. The advisors indicated that the MDC had strong contributions in the ability to design a system, component or process; function in a multidisciplinary team; identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems; and communicate effectively. Conversely, advisors indicated the ability to recognize the need for and engage in life-long learning as less important to complete MDC and as less contribution from MDC. In addition to analyzing the faculty advisors’ results, the authors compared these results to a previous survey given to MDC’s industry sponsors. The results of the industry sponsors were presented at a previous ASEE conference. The comparison included industry sponsor and faculty advisor responses to the contribution of MDC to meet the program objectives. Initial results indicate a difference in the ability to design and conduct experiments; analyze and interpret data; manage a project; use modern techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools; and recognize the need for and engage in life-long learning.
This paper reviews the faculty advisor research results and identifies key differences between faculty advisors’ and industry sponsors’ perspectives related to MDC program objectives and life-long learning skills. The paper also identifies keys areas of improvement for the MDC program.
Kecskemety, K. M., & Rhoads, B., & Whitfield, C. A., & Allenstein, J. T. (2016, June), Capstone Advisor Valuation of a Multidisciplinary Capstone Program Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26440
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