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Industry Sponsor Valuation of a Multidisciplinary Capstone Program

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session


Tagged Topic

Corporate Member Council

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.958.1 - 26.958.19



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Paper Authors


Robert B. Rhoads Ohio State University

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Robert B. Rhoads currently functions as the Multidisciplinary Capstone Program Coordinator for the Engineering Education Innovation Center at Ohio State University. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University and Masters in Business Administration from Regis University. Prior to his involvement as the program coordinator, he had over 12 years of experience in industry with roles that varied from process engineering to sales engineering to design engineering. He has also functioned as an engineering technology faculty for three years at Zane State College in Zanesville, Ohio, where he developed and taught courses that included CAD, solid modeling, statics, strength of materials, machine design, and statistical process control. He is currently active in curriculum development and education research focused on design.

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Jacob T Allenstein Ohio State University

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Jacob T Allenstein is a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University in the process of a Ph.D. Jacob received his B. Sci in Aerospace Engineering in June of 2011 and a Master of Science (Aerospace Engineering) in December 2013. Currently, he is a graduate teaching associate (GTA) for the Engineering Education Innovation Center (EEIC) at The Ohio State University where he multi-manages both first year engineering students in the First Year Experience Program and senior capstone students going through the Multidisciplinary Capstone Program. Outside teaching, he is also a graduate research associate (GRA) with a research focus on the aerodynamics of jet engines, jet engine simulators, and jet engine testing facilities.

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Krista M. Kecskemety Ohio State University

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Krista Kecskemety is a senior lecturer in the Engineering Education Innovation Center at The Ohio State University. Krista received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2006 and received her M.S. from Ohio State in 2007. In 2012, Krista completed her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State. Her engineering education research interests include investigating first-year engineering student experiences, faculty experiences, and the connection between the two.

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Clifford A Whitfield Ohio State University

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Clifford Whitfield currently functions as an Assistant Professor of Practice for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and Engineering Education Innovation Center at Ohio State University, and senior engineer for Whitfield Aerospace LLC. He received his doctorate in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, and teaches aerospace engineering courses, and teaches and advises capstone design teams for the Multidisciplinary Capstone Program. He is an engineering practitioner in the areas of aerospace systems design and test engineering, with a background that includes unmanned and manned aircraft and aircraft component design and testing, jet engine test cell facility design and testing, and curriculum development and education research focused on design.

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Industry Sponsor Valuation of a Multidisciplinary Capstone ProgramPreparing engineers for the future takes an understanding of industry expectations and theacademic challenges to meet these expectations. “A strategy for realigning engineeringeducation must be developed within the contexts of understanding the elements of engineeringand recognizing the importance of constant communication with the public and engineeringcommunity stakeholders on the goals of education reinvention and the value of success.”1A Midwest University offers students, through its Multidisciplinary Capstone Program (MDC), abroad range of opportunities for both engineering and non-engineering students to work directlywith industry personnel on company-sponsored product and process design projects. TheUniversity provides students an opportunity to apply their academics and professional andpractical skills to real-world problems as a member of a multidisciplinary team. The program isa two-semester project design sequence. Based on the project scope, the coordinators formteams and assign a faculty to ensure project success. The sponsor is vested in the program byassigning an industry liaison to participate in weekly student meetings, design reviews andcoordinate student visits to the company. The program began in 2009 and has included over 20disciplines, over 550 students and over 50 companies through the spring of 2014. Non-engineering students are involved through an engineering sciences minor program. Thispromotes discipline diversity in the program while giving students academic credit.The objectives of the research were to gather information from sponsors of the MDC to assessthe educational effectiveness to prepare its students for their professional careers. To do this, theauthors distributed a survey to 20 of its current and past industry sponsors. The survey focusedon the ABET Criteria 3 (a-k)2 program objectives. This paper addresses the quantitative results ofthe survey and compares industry identified needs to the MDC contribution to meet ABET.Preliminary results show that industry sponsors value the ability to analyze and interpret data;design a system, component or process to meet a desired need with realistic constraints; functionin a multidisciplinary team; communicate effectively; and recognize the need for and engage inlife-long learning as very important to an engineer’s early career (1-5 years). In addition, thesponsors placed lower emphasis on the ability to manage an engineering project. The sponsorsindicated that the MDC had strong contributions to students’ preparation in the ability to design asystem, component or process; function in a multidisciplinary team; identify, formulate, andsolve engineering problems and recognize the need for and engage in life-long learning.Conversely, sponsors identified the program contributed less to the preparation in the ability tofunction in a cultural and ethnically diverse environment; use modern techniques, skills, andmodern engineering tools; and use computing technology.References1. The National Academy of Engineering, Educating the Engineer of 2020, The National Academies Press, Washington D.C., 20052. ABET, 2013-2014 Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs. Accessed: October 7, 2014. ation_Documents/Current/2013_-_2014/eac-criteria-2013-2014.pdf

Rhoads, R. B., & Allenstein, J. T., & Kecskemety, K. M., & Whitfield, C. A. (2015, June), Industry Sponsor Valuation of a Multidisciplinary Capstone Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24295

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