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Cross Disciplinary Teaming And Design

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.129.1 - 1.129.7



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Paper Authors

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M. Dayne Aldridge

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

Session 0230

Cross-Disciplinary Teaming and Design

M. Dayne Aldridge Thomas Walter Eminent Scholar and Director Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management Auburn University


The ability to work effectively as a member of a team is one of the attributes that is consistently being identified in the many studies and calls for change in engineering education1-6. In most work settings, the engineer may be alone or in the minority of team membership. In the real world, the challenge of teaming must be met in a highly cross-disciplinary environment.

Problems that were discovered in introducing undergraduate engineering students to cross-disciplinary teaming with students in business and industrial design programs are reported in this paper. The use of product design as a focus of team activity was believed initially to be a good vehicle for preparing students from several different disciplines to perform on highly cross-disciplinary senior design project teams.

The results of the initial offering of an introductory course are summarized and their implications for undergraduate engineering education are presented.


The Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management was established at Auburn University in 1989 for the purpose of improving engineering and business curricula. The intent is to prepare the graduates of engineering and business programs to exploit the competitive value of technology in the world of business.

A committee of engineering faculty identified the senior design project as a good first effort to bring faculty and students together from the colleges of engineering and business. Design of a new product for a 7 local manufacturer was selected for the first project . During the project it became apparent that the students had a wide variation of preparation for teaming and for product design. Subsequent projects reinforced this conclusion.

Because of the apparent value of focusing on the design of a product for a local manufacturer, the committee decided to invite faculty from the Department of Industrial Design to join the project and to help develop a course to introduce students to cross-disciplinary teaming and product design at the same time. Furthermore it was hypothesized that it may be better for the students to take this course during their sophomore year rather than immediately before the senior design project. This was based on the belief that the

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Aldridge, M. D. (1996, June), Cross Disciplinary Teaming And Design Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5951

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