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Impact Of New Facilities On Engineering Student Outcomes

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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

Topics Related to Assessments and Outcomes

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.826.1 - 12.826.13



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Paper Authors


James Helbling Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Currently an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering where he teaches structural analysis, computer aided design, and aircraft detail design courses. He has 21 years of industry experience with McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and Northrop Grumman Corporation where he specialized in structural fatigue loading and served as manager of F-5/T-38 Engineering.

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David Lanning Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Currently an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at ERAU/Prescott where he teaches courses in structural analysis and engineering materials. He spent several years in fatigue and fracture research at the Air Force Institute of Technology where he worked on the Air Force High Cycle Fatigue Program.

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Ron Madler Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Currently as Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at ERAU/Prescott where he teaches the Spacecraft Preliminary Design course in addition to a wide range of other courses in the AE curriculum. He was formerly the Department Chair for the Aerospace Engineering Department, but has recently returned to full-time teaching and research after his sabbatical at the NASA Johnson Space Center. His main interests and background are in engineering education, spacecraft design, astrodynamics and space debris.

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Darin Marriott Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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DARIN W. MARRIOTT, Ph. D. Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Marriott is currently an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He teaches space propulsion systems, experimental space systems and computer aided design. His graduate research focused on plasma dynamics for space propulsion and his current research involves creation of linear induction catapults for researching high speed launch applications.

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Karl Siebold Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Currently an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott Arizona, where he teaches Spacecraft Systems Engineering and Spacecraft Capstone Design courses. Additionally he teaches Robotics, Thermodynamics, Space Mechanics, Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control, Control Systems Analysis and Design. He also taught at the Universities of Houston/Clear Lake, Colorado/Colorado Springs at the Johnson Space Center, and Texas A&M in Galveston space related graduate level Engineering and Physics as well as undergraduate level Engineering Sciences courses. He has more than ten years of experience as an engineer/scientist at the NASA Johnson Space center in the areas of Space Debris research and Rendezvous Proximity Operations and Capture simulation.

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



Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) has established a reputation for providing undergraduate students with a curriculum which has a strong emphasis on application based learning. In an effort to improve this learning environment, the campus has recently added a 20,000 square foot Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication (AXFAB) building dedicated to providing undergraduate students with a premier laboratory facility. The building was designed using faculty input to ensure that it best meets the needs of the courses with experimentation content. As the name implies, the building not only includes laboratories, but also a fabrication suite which students use to construct test articles that form the basis for their experiments. Within this framework, the building is equipped with state-of-the-art tooling and laboratory apparatus, thereby creating a modern environment similar to what would be found in industry.

This paper discusses the impact the improved facilities have had on student outcomes as defined for various laboratory and design based courses, and how these correspond to the outcomes defined by ABET. The intentional design of the building to create a spacious environment which allows students to work safely with industry standard equipment is recounted. The impact on student learning in each of the laboratory courses which make use of the facility is defined both qualitatively and quantitatively. A special emphasis is placed on the impact on student learning in the senior capstone courses, which involve the fabrication and testing of aerospace systems and assemblies, and the improvement in timely instruction as the students transition to the workplace. Also discussed is the improved ability for faculty to perform undergraduate research and improve the learning environment outside of the traditional classroom setting. The paper concludes with a summary of the overall improvement in the undergraduate learning environment and proposed curriculum improvements which are directly tied to new facility.


The following sections provide insight into the improvement in ERAU student outcomes resulting from the addition of new facilities resident in the AXFAB building. These outcomes are defined by the College of Engineering in accordance with ABET a-k criteria1. The particular outcome which is most directly impacted by the new facilities states: “All engineering students will be laboratory and computer proficient with modern equipment and current laboratory and computer methods.” 2 The impact on student outcomes for individual courses will be discussed on a course-by-course basis.

The paper begins with an overview of the AXFAB facility, which provides the chronological sequence of events that led to the realization of the new building. This section also describes how the building design was driven by faculty needs for experimentation-based courses. The subsequent sections provide a course-by-course review recounting the impact of the new facility on the courses where it has had the most influence. The paper concludes with a summary of how the facility has impacted the students’ ability to mesh theory, computation, and experimentation

Helbling, J., & Lanning, D., & Madler, R., & Marriott, D., & Siebold, K. (2007, June), Impact Of New Facilities On Engineering Student Outcomes Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2945

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