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Comparison of Students’ Outcome to Different Types of Project Based Service Learning Experiences for CEE Senior Design

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Student Preparation for, and Outcomes from, Community Engagement Efforts

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Dan Budny P.E. University of Pittsburgh

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Dr. Dan Budny joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty as Academic Director of the Freshman Programs and an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering in January 2000. Prior to that time he served as Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Freshman Programs at Purdue University. He holds a B.S. and M.S. degree from Michigan Technological University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University. His research has focused on the development of programs that assist entering freshman engineering students, including academically disadvantaged students, succeed during their first year. Of particular note are the highly successful counseling and cooperative learning programs for first-year students that he created within the freshman engineering programs at Purdue University and at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Budny has numerous publications and presentations on engineering education. He is widely recognized for outstanding teaching, receiving awards at both Purdue and Pittsburgh Universities, plus national and international awards. Dr. Budny is very active in ASEE within the Freshman Programs and the Educational Research and Methods Divisions, and was on the ASEE board of directors. Dr. Budny can be reached at the University of Pittsburgh, Freshman Engineering, 126 Benedum Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261; 412-624-6474. []

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Sina Arjmand University of Pittsburgh


David V.P. Sanchez University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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David Sanchez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Assistant Director for the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. He directs the Sustainable Design Labs that is currently focused on fusing sustainability principles and design thinking to address the Water and Energy grand challenges in the natural and built environment. Current projects include: Renewable electrode materials for Microbial Fuel Cells and the Electro-Fenton process, Recirculating Aquaponic Systems, Environmental Quality wireless sensor networks, and incorporating Sustainable Design/Innovation into engineering curricula.

He serves as a Faculty Lead for Pitt’s Design EXPO and a variety of the Mascaro Center’s Sustainability programs including the Manchester Academic Charter School “Green week” and the Teach the Teacher program. Dr. Sanchez teaches Introduction to Sustainable Water Technology and Design, classes in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and the Swanson School of Engineering Freshmen program. He works closely with K-12 initiatives and outreach programs including Investing Now, Energy Ties, and the ALCOSAN outreach program.

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Adding international exposure to project based service learning in to undergraduate curriculum has been found to have positive impacts on students’ motivation, attitude and experience. ABET engineering criteria require engineering schools to include international exposure in to all undergraduate programs. Our program aims to directly involve half of our students in an international service learning experience. The senior design course in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program has been modified and improved over the past few years to offer international experience in addition to community service. By working on real world engineering projects, students practice their design and calculation skills. They also develop team work, effective communication, and community engagement through service learning experience. Adding the international exposure to senior design further improve students motivation to provide engineering services to communities in need by changing students mindset to engage them to the whole new world with all political, social, environmental and economical limitations. In the past 5 years, international experience teams worked on several engineering design projects such as designing and building a water distribution system and storage tanks to provide potable water, and the design and construction of structures such as small community buildings and bridges to provide access to disadvantaged communities in Latin America. The projects are selected such that there is a design component for any area in Civil Engineering, for example: structures, geotechnical, water resources, environmental, sustainability, or construction. This paper will expand our previous published results that show an improved satisfaction in the design experience for the teams involved with the international experience and also study and compare our observations regarding ABET student outcomes by expanding these types of projects into domestic service learning projects. Moreover, the improvements in senior design project definition, coordination and management will be recommended to help achieve the overall international experience outcomes to any project.

Budny, D., & Arjmand, S., & Sanchez, D. V. (2016, June), Comparison of Students’ Outcome to Different Types of Project Based Service Learning Experiences for CEE Senior Design Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26538

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