Asee peer logo

Community Service Projects As Integrated Undergraduate Learning Experiences

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Non-Technical Skills in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.379.1 - 12.379.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Thomas Nicholas University of North Carolina-Charlotte

visit author page

Thomas Nicholas II is currently a Faculty Associate in Civil Engineering Technology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has received a B. S. in Civil Engineering Technology degree from Fairmont State and a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University. Mr. Nicholas’ scholarly activities have included funded projects in transportation and structural engineering for West Virginia Department of Transportation. Mr. Nicholas was employed as a Structural Engineer and Project Manager for the West Virginia Department of Transportation and an Assistant Professor at Fairmont State University prior to joing the faculty at the Univeristy of North Carolina at Charlotte.

visit author page

author page

Anthony Brizendine University of North Carolina-Charlotte


Ted Stilgenbauer Fairmont State University

visit author page

Ted M. Stilgenbauer is currently an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Civil Engineering Technology at Fairmont State University. He has received a M.S. in Safety and Environmental Management from West Virginia University (1996) and a B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology from Fairmont State College (1994). Mr. Stilgenbauer has been involved in the construction industry for over 10 years and has represented both the owner and contractor in multi-million dollar construction projects that include federal, state and private contracts.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Community Service Projects as Integrated Undergraduate Learning Experiences


Community-based projects in engineering and engineering technology education have been around for many years in various forms. Recent examples include community-based design projects and partnerships, community outreach for capstone design, capstone design projects for special needs or disabled persons, K-12 community outreach, and international and humanitarian projects.

For obvious reasons, community organizations tend to be very receptive to the assistance afforded through these collaborations. Many community programs, including non-profit organizations, operate on minimal funding and rarely have the in-house expertise to perform technical work. Academic programs, eager to insert students into practice-type experiences make excellent partners for these community organizations.

The authors of this paper have incorporated local and regional community service projects as integrated learning experiences in engineering technology programs. The results benefit both the community and the engineering technology program. Community programs presented in this paper received technical expertise and volunteer hours at no cost while students in the engineering technology program were provided with “real-world” project experience, exposing them to the significance engineering technology can have in society and providing lifelong contacts for volunteer work in the future. Projects are selected which are technical in nature, can be completed in one to two semesters, and meet the societal impact objectives of the program.

In this paper, the authors present two community service projects which were completed by engineering technology students. The first project, “The Magnetic Survey,” was developed as a class project for a construction surveying class. The project was provided by the Department of Natural Resources Geodetic Survey Division, and consisted of locating magnetic monuments thought to have been lost for over six decades. The second project, “Soccer Complex Pedestrian Bridge,” was provided by the Department of Parks & Recreation. This project required a bridge to be designed and constructed to provide pedestrian and ADA access from a parking lot to the soccer complex.

The paper will cover all aspects of the projects to include selection, course and program relevance, course management, and project assessment. The paper will outline project development, eye-openers for the students, surprises for the sponsor, deliverables and final products, and student and community reactions for each project.


The use of community or social projects as capstone experiences is not new to the engineering technology field.1,2,3,4 However, as in many instances, the resources and impact that a single course can provide to a project are sometimes limited. When choosing projects for capstone

Nicholas, T., & Brizendine, A., & Stilgenbauer, T. (2007, June), Community Service Projects As Integrated Undergraduate Learning Experiences Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2074

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015