June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.669.1 - 15.669.12
Impact of Team and Advisor Demographics and Formulation on the Success of Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Projects
A major senior design experience is a requirement of all ABET-accredited undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) programs. At the University of Virginia, this experience is implemented in the form of a team-based, year-long Capstone design course. Student teams work on a diverse set of real-world BME problems and are advised by different cohorts of research faculty, clinicians, and/or industrial advisors. Our study addresses whether or not team and advisor demographics and formulation impact project outcomes in terms of success metrics, defined here as grant applications, conference proceedings, peer-reviewed publications, patent filings, national or university-level awards, and technology licensing. Our analysis spans five consecutive years of the Capstone design course, in order to determine which factors contribute to the success of a Capstone project. Aspects of student team demographics and formulation considered include: team size, gender, and grade point average (GPA). Advisor demographics considered include: number of advisors per team, affiliation, degrees, and experience. Data is presented as (average total number of successes/team ± SEM).
Our results indicate that the number of student members on a team impacts Capstone project success as defined by our metrics. Both teams with 3 and 4(+) students generated significantly more total successes per team ((2.3 ± 0.61) and (2.5 ± 0.71), respectively) than teams with only 2 student members (1.2 ± 0.24) (p ≤ 0.05). The average total number of successes/team generated by teams with only one student member was also notably lower (1.5 ± 0.18) than that of larger teams, although this comparison was not statistically significant. In addition, for students working individually, their cumulative GPA entering Capstone was found to correlate with the success of their Capstone projects. For example, students with a GPA of 2.8 or below produced a significantly lower amount of success outcomes than students with a GPA of 3.6 or above ((0.20 ± 0.20) vs. (2.0 ± 0.32), (p < 0.03)).
The results of our study indicate that advisor demographics are also important contributors to the success of a Capstone project. For example, the number of advisors/team appears to impact Capstone project success. Teams with 3 or more co-advisors produced significantly more total successes per team (3.7 ± 0.81) than teams with only one advisor (1.4 ± 0.18) or two co-advisors (1.6 ± 0.25) (p < 0.005). Capstone advisors are selected from a variety of disciplines, and advisor affiliation was found to impact project success. Interdisciplinary advisors generated the most successes/team, as compared to teams advised only by advisors of a single affiliation, i.e. BME, industry, nursing, etc. Teams with industrial advisors performed significantly better if also co-advised by at least one advisor with a different affiliation than industry (i.e. BME) ((2.1 ± 0.17) vs. (0.44 ± 0.17), (p < 0.001)). Teams with advisors possessing different types of degrees generated more success/team than teams with a single advisor or multiple advisors possessing the same type of degree.
Our findings indicate that a variety of aspects of student team and advisor demographics impact the generation of Capstone project success outcomes. The results of this study enable us to make
Taylor, A., & Mason, K., & Peirce Starling, A. L., & Allen, T., & Peirce, S. (2010, June), Impact Of Team And Advisor Demographics And Formulation On The Success Of Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Projects Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15947
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