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Cross-disciplinary Teamwork During an Undergraduate Student Project: Results to Date

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Teamwork

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Rachel K. Anderson Clemson University

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Rachel Anderson is a doctoral candidate in Engineering and Science Education and the research assistant for Clemson University's Creative Inquiry program. Her research interests include cross-disciplinary undergraduate teams. Rachel received a Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University and a B.S. in Physics from Baldwin-Wallace University.

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Julie P Martin Clemson University

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Julie P. Martin is an assistant professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. Her research interests focus on social factors affecting the recruitment, retention, and career development of underrepresented students in engineering. Dr. Martin is a 2009 NSF CAREER awardee for her research entitled, “Influence of Social Capital on Under-Represented Engineering Students Academic and Career Decisions.” She held an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship in 2012-2013, with a placement at the National Science Foundation.

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This paper presents results to date from a dissertation study on undergraduate student cross-disciplinary teamwork. The study focuses on a team of undergraduate students from technical and non-technical disciplines such as, engineering, management, economics, architecture, and psychology, working together on a cross-disciplinary project. The project was primarily student-led, and was facilitated by two faculty mentors in mechanical engineering and management. The team spent the semester working together to develop a business plan for a makerspace on campus that would allow students access to prototyping equipment, such as 3D printers, at little to no cost.

This study utilized a qualitative research approach, borrowing from ethnographic, narrative, and case study research. Data collection included: observations and audio/video recordings of weekly team meetings, interviews with student team members, and analysis of regular, written progress reports from each student. The real-time approach to data collection provides a rich understanding of how students develop as cross-disciplinary team members while working on a project. The case presented here illustrates one student’s cross-disciplinary experience and how she developed from a shy, apprehensive team member to an interested and contributing member of a student project team.

Anderson, R. K., & Martin, J. P. (2016, June), Cross-disciplinary Teamwork During an Undergraduate Student Project: Results to Date Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26609

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