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Enhancing The Capstone Design Experience In An Undergraduate Engineering Program

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Capstone Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.568.1 - 9.568.7



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Paper Authors

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Robert Potter

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Brian Knight

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Antoine Ataya

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

Session Number 2225

Enhancing the Capstone Design Experience in An Undergraduate Engineering Program Antoine L. Ataya, Brian M. Knight, Robert A. Potter, Jr. Roger Williams University/Rhode Island Center for Performance Excellence/ Roger Williams University


Senior engineering students in the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management at Roger Williams University are required to take a two-semester senior capstone design-course sequence. Not unlike the experience offered in many engineering programs, the capstone design experience is meant to be an integrative event during which students apply the engineering science and design principles learned during their previous studies to an actual project. At Roger Williams, the course has been undergoing a transition to a client-based format in which all of the student design projects are undertaken for “outside” clients.

This fall a major initiative was undertaken that incorporated into the course a unique block of instruction on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Baldrige performance excellence criteria are the framework that any organization can use to improve overall performance. This instructional unit was introduced to enhance the students’ awareness of the need for continuous improvement within a highly competitive world marketplace and, by extension, to improve the client base senior design project products.

This paper presents the development and implementation of this unique integration with a preliminary assessment of the results.


During the summer of 2003, discussions were held between the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management (SECCM) at Roger Williams University and the Rhode Island Center for Performance Excellence (RICPE) regarding the possibility of engineering students working with regional companies that were involved with the Baldrige National Quality Program. The RICPE had previously recruited students from other regional institutions to participate in this program but, heretofore, these students had been undergraduate or graduate students from their respective institutions’ business schools. The RICPE had identified a need for students with a technological background to participate with those companies with a significant technological or engineering focus to their business.

This opportunity for greater collaboration with the local business community was very timely. Over the past two years, the administration and faculty of the SECCM had been working to transition the senior engineering capstone design course to a “client-based” format. Under a “client-based” scenario, all of the projects offered to student teams for their capstone projects “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Potter, R., & Knight, B., & Ataya, A. (2004, June), Enhancing The Capstone Design Experience In An Undergraduate Engineering Program Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13574

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