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Capstone Design and Psychology: Teams, Traits, and Competencies Measured in Student Surveys

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Teamwork and Student Learning in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Kimberly B. Demoret P.E. Florida Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Kimberly B. Demoret, Ph.D., P.E., teaches Statics and Aerospace Engineering Capstone Design at the Florida Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Florida Tech in 2015, she worked for eight years at Kennedy Space Center on development of launch systems in support of NASA's space exploration goals. Before that she was a US Air Force officer for 20 years, supporting several aerospace programs as a developmental engineer and manager.

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Kyi Phyu Nyein Florida Institute of Technology

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Kyi Phyu Nyein is currently a doctoral student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology. She received her B.Sc. in Psychology from Davidson College in
2013 and her M.A. in Organizational Sciences with Human Resources Management concentration from George Washington University in 2015. Her current research interests include teams and groups, trust development, violation, repair, and restoration, women’s leadership, and gender discrimination and prejudice.

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Jessica L. Wildman Florida Institute of Technology

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Jessica L. Wildman, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Industrial Organizational Psychology program, and the Research Director of the Institute for Cross Cultural Management, at the Florida Institute of Technology. She is also the Vice President, Conference Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research. She earned her PhD in 2011 from the University of Central Florida. To date, she has co-authored 19 book chapters, 12 journal articles, and over professional conference presentations on topics including team processes and emergent states, team cognition, team performance measurement, global virtual teams, trust development and repair, shared leadership, and cultural competence. She was awarded the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) doctoral scholarship in 2010 and the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research (INGRoup) best conference poster award in 2009 for her work on measuring trust and distrust as separate workplace attitudes. Dr. Wildman is the co-editor of the 2014 book “Leading Global Teams: Translating Multidisciplinary Science to Practice” and the 2016 book "Critical Issue in Cross Cultural Management." Her current research interests include interpersonal trust dynamics across cultures, multicultural work performance, and global virtual team processes and performance.

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Aerospace engineering students at the Florida Institute of Technology are required to complete a 3-semester capstone design project. In their junior year students propose topics, form teams, and write a proposal for their senior project, then as seniors they complete preliminary and detailed design, then fabricate and test their system. Their efforts culminate in a Student Design Showcase, where industry participants judge the final projects. Many students identify the capstone design project as the most significant event in their academic career. In this paper we describe changes made in the aerospace engineering capstone curriculum during the 2016-2017 season and report results from surveys administered by the School of Psychology during that period. The course modification goals were to improve project quality, increase student engagement, and emphasize "real-world" professional skills like self-management, teamwork, and communication. Students took individual difference and process surveys hosted by the School of Psychology to capture these professional skills. The first student survey measured individual differences that are generally considered relatively stable over time and are predictive of performance; these individual differences include personality traits (e.g., introversion, conscientiousness) and competencies (e.g., political skills, adaptability). Students then completed a series of process surveys designed to gain insight on team behavior and performance over the life of the project. Average student scores on personality traits and competencies were compared to see if there was a change before and after the completion of capstone design.

Demoret, K. B., & Nyein, K. P., & Wildman, J. L. (2018, June), Capstone Design and Psychology: Teams, Traits, and Competencies Measured in Student Surveys Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30174

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