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Global Humanitarian-based Projects: A Documentation Strategy for Strengthening Project Sustainability

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Randy S. Lewis Brigham Young University

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Dr. Randy S. Lewis is professor and chair of Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU). He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from BYU and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively. He currently serves as vice-chair of the Education and Accreditation Committee of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and as an ABET commissioner for accrediting engineering programs. He previously served in several national positions of AIChE. His research interests include biomaterials development, engineering education, product design for developing areas, and the utilization of renewable resources for the production of chemicals.

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Terri Christiansen Bateman Brigham Young University

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Terri Bateman is adjunct faculty in the Brigham Young University College of Engineering and Technology where she has worked with Women in Engineering and Technology at BYU, numerous mechanical engineering capstone senior design teams, the Global Engineering Outreach course, and the Compliant Mechanisms Research Group. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from BYU and also worked at the Ford Motor Company as a manufacturing and design engineer in Automatic Transmission Operations.

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International educational opportunities for engineering students include, but are not limited to, internships, study abroad programs, and humanitarian programs such as Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Since 2007, a two-semester Global Engineering Outreach (GEO) course in the College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University has enabled engineering and technology students from multiple disciplines to design and implement humanitarian-based engineering projects. Energy, water, sanitation, and health projects have been implemented in Tonga, Ghana, and Peru. Currently, the projects focus on the needs of communities in Peru.

Typically, nearly half of the students in the two-semester course speak and write Spanish fluently and have lived abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. This allows students to regularly engage with their Peruvian counterparts during the two semesters via phone and email exchanges on a near-weekly basis. An important aspect of the course during project development is the rigorous documentation of community engagement and product design.

Effective documentation is critical for program sustainability, allowing for future students and instructors to assess past community engagement efforts, identify community engagement challenges, maintain information of past societal and technical design constraints, access concepts and prototypes previously assessed, and review videos documenting community and project information.

This paper will address a documentation strategy used in the GEO course in which the documentation is updated on a regular basis throughout the design process, leading to a large database for all implemented projects. The documentation is composed of project management, community communication and engagement, technical and social constraints, concept and prototype development, testing and evaluation, finances, project design, project implementation, and project maintenance. In addition, extensive video documentation is also included. Finally, this paper will also address assessment related to the effectiveness of community engagement, providing insights on how to improve program sustainability.

Lewis, R. S., & Bateman, T. C. (2017, June), Global Humanitarian-based Projects: A Documentation Strategy for Strengthening Project Sustainability Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28411

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