June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Community Engagement Division
23.721.1 - 23.721.10
Community Involvement for a Better Student ExperienceSenior design projects are a culmination of students’ academic and lifelong lessons, and as a result,should be meaningful, have multiple outcomes, and far-reaching benefits. Through our senior designprojects, we have been able to improve the student experience, prepare them better for the “real-world”, as well as provide a valuable service to communities.In order to provide the students with a project that prepares them for the real-world as well as giventhem an opportunity to “give-back”, our program has relied on municipal projects that have hadsignificant impact. Part of the process has been community participation to improve the design processand overall experience for the students.Over the past several years, sustainable transportation projects have been developed for communities,with their assistance, to ensure that their downtowns compete economically with surroundingcommunities. The projects have not only been financially supported by the community, but have alsoreceived a significant amount of input from the community during the design process.Significant benefits have been realized by the community and students. Community benefits extendwell beyond the final design and report. The process has allowed community officials and leaders to vetthe ideas in a public forum thereby garnering community support, identify the solutions that benefit thecommunity the greatest, and identify funding sources to build the projects.The students’ growth over the fourteen week semester includes the application of traditional learningcomplemented with the softer skills that engineering requires. Two of the biggest realizations are thediscovery that there are multiple solutions to a challenge and most importantly, the realization of theimpact and import of community participation. Due to the magnitude and import of these projects,many have had a significant following, both in terms of community participation and press, adding valueto the student experience.
Dulaski, D. M. (2013, June), Improving Students’ Capstone Experience with Community Participation Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19735
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