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Development Of Integrated Project Tracks For A College Wide Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Program At Rit

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Curriculum Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.535.1 - 12.535.12



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Paper Authors

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Marcos Esterman Rochester Institute of Technology

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Dorin Patru Rochester Institute of Technology

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Vincent Amuso Rochester Institute of Technology

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Edward Hensel Rochester Institute of Technology

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Mark Smith Rochester Institute of Technology

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

Development of Integrated Project Tracks for a College-Wide Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Program at RIT Abstract

Since 2002, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has seen its Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) program grow from a small pilot project into a college-wide initiative involving four departments and almost 400 students annually. While subtle adjustments have been made each year, a major redesign effort was undertaken prior to the 2006 academic year to improve program alignment with departmental objectives, to improve delivery efficiency and effectiveness, and to improve student and faculty satisfaction. Coordination of related projects and sharing of information between approximately 60 design teams in a given year, and preserving continuity of information from one year to the next has proven to be a challenging hurdle. This paper addresses the project definition process, which was overhauled to focus on the definition of related projects within a set of disciplinary “tracks,” consistent with academic programs and faculty interests. Emphasis was placed on the development of reusable and scalable platforms to lay the foundation for future project extensions, and to encourage cross-project and cross-department collaboration. The process by which project tracks, project families and individual projects were identified, screened, modified and ultimately selected will be discussed. The integral relationship between the Design Project Management course, which trains the future project managers and technical leaders of the multidisciplinary project teams, and the project definition process will be illustrated. The development of the Aerospace Systems and Technology Track, with particular emphasis on the Microsystems Engineering and Technology for the Future Exploration of Outer Space Regions (METEOR) family of projects will be used as a case example to illustrate the process.


Project-based “capstone” design has become an integral component of the undergraduate engineering experience. As noted by Dym, et al.1, this has been the standard academic response to address the need to produce engineering graduates able to practice in industry. The Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) program at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) arose from departmental capstone design experiences within Mechanical, Industrial, and Electrical Engineering2. Since its inception in 2002, the program has grown from a small pilot effort into a college-wide initiative involving four departments and almost 400 students annually. In addition to the three original departments, Computer Engineering joined the program in 2004, although the department continues to offer a discipline-specific capstone course sequence. Students from other colleges at RIT are encouraged to participate in MSD and have done so sporadically (especially from Business and Industrial Design), but broader participation remains a long term goal deserving greater attention. Components of the current MSD program include a two-quarter course sequence entitled “Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) I&II,” which constitutes the “design-build” core of the program; a third course entitled “Design Project Management (DPM),” which trains selected students for project management roles in MSD I&II

Esterman, M., & Patru, D., & Amuso, V., & Hensel, E., & Smith, M. (2007, June), Development Of Integrated Project Tracks For A College Wide Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Program At Rit Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2776

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