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Industry University Partnership in Senior Capstone Design Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Civil Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.867.1 - 22.867.31



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Paper Authors


Haluk M. Aktan Western Michigan University

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Professor, and the Chair of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at Western Michigan
University (WMU). Before joining Western Michigan University, for 26 years, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Wayne State University (WSU), Detroit, Michigan. Member of American Association of Engineering Education (ASEE), the American Society
of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and American Concrete Institute (ACI), the Structural Engineers Association (SEA), and
Transportation Research Board (TRB). Professional committee activity includes National Science Foundation, CMMI Program 2005 ‐ 2008, Review Committee of Visitors in 2009, member of TRB Committee on Basic Research and Emerging Technologies on Concrete and ASCE committee on Performance Based Design.

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John Stephen Polasek P.E. Western Michigan University

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John S. Polasek P.E. retired from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) after over 38 years of service in 2009.

John received his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from MSU in 1972 and was hired at MDOT. Over the years, he has worked in the Design Division, as a Staff Engineer for the Local Government Division, as the Kalamazoo District Design Engineer and Project Development Engineer, as well as Region System Manager. In June 2003, John was appointed Director of the Bureau of Highway Development, which oversees statewide road and bridge design including quality assurances and specialty areas such as electrical, hydraulic and municipal utilities. The bureau is also responsible for administration of federal aid to local agencies and has statewide responsibilities for real estate, utilities and transport permits.

In Fall of 2009, John accepted his current position at Western Michigan University (WMU) as Adjunct Professor for the Capstone Senior Design Courses. The position is responsible for the development and coordination of real world projects that are sponsored by industry partners.

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Kevin James Phillips

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Currently working on Master of Civil Engineering, with a focus on Structural Analysis and Engineering Construction Management, from Western Michigan University.

Graduated from Western Michigan University in Spring 2010, with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

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Industry University Partnership in Senior Capstone Design Course  The article will describe the restructuring of a two semester senior level capstone design course(Senior Design I and II) in order to assure outcomes defined by the industry to assure job readyengineers and outcomes set by the academicians to assure math and science based fundamentals.The department offers programs in civil engineering and construction engineering. Bothprogram curriculums require a two semester course on a comprehensive design application. Thecourses are designed to meet specific ABET outcomes of A, C, D, F, G, and H. Also to meet anadditional program outcome of: students are able to explain basic concepts in management,business, public policy and leadership.In response to various constituent feedbacks, the course sequence has been redesigned for firstoffering during the Fall 2009. The restructuring purpose was to align the course outcomes withthe college mission of graduating ‘Career- Ready’ engineers. The course is restructured to bringtogether industry and academia to enable the civil and construction engineers of the future toattain real life experiences through these partnerships. The first step was to partner withengineering companies, contractors and governmental agencies from around the State. Duringthe first semester of Senior Design these partnerships produce real life projects sponsored by thevarious firms and agencies. Within this first semester, students form teams then choose fromthese projects their Senior Design Project. The project scopes vary greatly and contain most allelements of the civil and construction engineering profession. Once projects are selected bystudent teams, industry assigns a project sponsors to establish a client/consultant relationship.This emulates the business would by the sponsor becoming the client that has sent out a “Requestfor Proposals” (RFP) for their proposed project. The student team responds as a consultant,proposing on the project. They then write a project proposal to send to the client forconsideration to hire their firm to design the proposed project. Each proposal contains elementsof real life proposals such as project understanding, scope of work, deliverables, production workschedule and their team’s expertise. Each student team is also assigned a faculty sponsor toassure that the project meets the academic deliverables. The faculty advisors emphasize activelearning, and experience with state‐of-the‐art modeling, analysis and design tools. The industryproject sponsor emphasizes integrating design, regulations, specifications and codes,construction (implementation), and business realities.The article will also describe the student and sponsor feedback collected following the first twoofferings of the course sequence.

Aktan, H. M., & Polasek, J. S., & Phillips, K. J. (2011, June), Industry University Partnership in Senior Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18153

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