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Capstones With An Industry Model

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

CE Capstone: Innovations in Learning & Assessment

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.260.1 - 15.260.13



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Paper Authors


Michael McGinnis University of Texas, Tyler

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Dr. Michael McGinnis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler. He received his BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. His research interests include fire behavior of structures and non-structural materials, nondestructive evaluation and K-12 math and science education.

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Ronald Welch University of Texas, Tyler

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Ronald W. Welch is Professor and Chair for the Department of Civil Engineering at The
University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, Texas. Until Jan 2007, Dr. Welch was at the United States Military Academy (USMA) where he held numerous leadership positions within the Civil Engineering Program and the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Ron Welch received a B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from USMA in 1982 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana IL in 1990 and 1999, respectively.

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

Capstones with an Industry Model Abstract

The University of Texas at Tyler Civil Engineering program uses an industry model within its senior design two course sequence. Every project has a real industry partner who plays the role of the client and meets with the students during initial interviews. Thus seniors experience first-hand communication of needs analysis and functional requirements and must translate from community desires to technical requirements. These partners also provide additional requirements after each design package submittal at the 10, 35, and 100 percent completion points. The first two projects, new Art Department offices and studios and a University Center expansion, had actual completed plans that the students could see at the completion of their project. The client in one project was the true client during the development of those actual engineered plans. The availability of actual engineered plans provides closure for the students as to what the design should look like for a structure about to be really built, especially one they have become intimately familiar with. In some cases the students provide a free option for the client who is looking for different options that were not considered before. This year the project is an outdoor theater that is on the drawing board but has not been fleshed out beyond the initial thoughts of a need for one. The students will be developing plans for multiple sites that provide different challenges. The final result is a design presentation of each option and a recommendation from an engineering point of view. The process moves through the lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy to the synthesis level as the students complete their designs, and the culmination exercise of providing technical justification behind selecting the optimal alternative will move students into an evaluation mode. Industry partners provide feedback and assessment throughout the stages noted.

The outcomes within the courses and the program have been assessed (the senior design is an integral part of the assessment process), evaluated, and changes instituted to improve how these types of partnerships can be fully utilized. This paper will outline the course objectives and cognitive levels selected for this design experience, the integration of real clients within the sequence of course design activities, the challenges encountered upon initial course offering, the assessment methods used to determine accomplishment of course/program outcomes, and the evolving improvements in partnerships as a result of the assessment process.

1.0 Introduction

The Department of Civil Engineering began hiring faculty and admitting students in 2005. The students who made up the first graduating class in 2008 were actually admitted into the mechanical engineering program in 2004 with the anticipation of hiring the first CE faculty member. There were twelve students declared as Civil Engineering (CE) students before the department officially existed. These students were on the path to a May 2008 graduation. The timing could not have been better considering that the next scheduled ABET visit for UT Tyler was fall 2008 based on the first ever ABET accreditation visit


McGinnis, M., & Welch, R. (2010, June), Capstones With An Industry Model Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16899

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