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Integrating the Charrette Process into Engineering Education: A Case Study on a Civil Engineering Design Capstone Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

The Teacher as Manager: Best Practices for Culminating Design Experiences

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.7.1 - 25.7.23



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Paper Authors


Michelle Oswald Beiler P.E. Bucknell University

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Michelle Oswald, a LEED AP, is an Assistant Professor at Bucknell University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her focus is in sustainable transportation planning and sustainable engineering education. She completed her doctoral degree in civil engineering at the University of Delaware, along with a master's of civil engineering degree, and a master;s of arts in urban affairs and public policy. She received a bachelor of science in civil and environmental engineering from Lafayette College.

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Arthur D. Kney Lafayette College

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Arthur D. Kney has been a resident of Bethlehem, Penn. since 1993. He lives with his lovely wife Linda, their brilliant eight-year-old daughter, and two wonderful cats. Kney received his doctorate of philosophy (Ph.D.) in environmental engineering from Lehigh University in 1999 and his professional engineering license in 2007. He is currently serving as an Associate Professor and Department Head in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College. Throughout Kney’s career, he has been active in the community, at the local, state, and national level. He has served as chair of the Pennsylvania Water Environment Association (PWEA) research committee, Chair of the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Committee, Vice President of the Lehigh Valley Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Secretary of ASCE/Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) Water Supply Engineering Committee, and he has been a member of the AWWA/ASCE WTP Design 4th Edition Steering Committee. He currently serves on the state's PWEA Research Committee and Water Works Operators’ Association of Pennsylvania (WWOAP) scholarship committee, and locally on the Bethlehem Backyards for Wildlife committee, the Bushkill Stream Conservancy board, and the Wildlands Conservancy's Education Advisory Team, as well as a number of Lafayette College committees. Recognition for his work has been provided through a number of awards, most recently the PA Water Environmental Association (PWEA) 2010 Professional Research Award and the 2010 Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award; 2010 Aaron O. Hoff Award. Kney’s areas of interests include water/wastewater treatment (including industrial wastewater treatment) and sustainable engineering focusing on urban sprawl and its environmental effects on watersheds. Most recently, he has begun to explore methods to integrate undergraduate and K-12 education in innovative ways. In order to support his research and teaching interests, he has been awarded a number of local, state, and national grants. Together with research students, faculty, and community partners, he has written a number of peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers, as well as co-authored a book chapter and a technical guidance manual.

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David A. Veshosky Lafayette College

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David Veshosky has a bachelor's of civil engineering degree from Catholic University; a master's in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University; and a Ph.D. in business and economics from Lehigh University. He teaches courses in engineering economics and project management at Lafayette College. His current research interests involve sustainable development.

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Integrating the Charrette Process into Engineering Education: A Case Study on a Civil Engineering Design Capstone CourseAs engineering educators rethink the structure and value of capstone courses, many have turnedto practical applications. In order to reflect the recent approaches within engineering, capstonecourses can be enhanced through the integration of charrettes. Charrettes are hands-on,collaborative sessions where stakeholders come to a design consensus. These sessions, whenapplied to an academic setting, provide opportunities for students to improve communication,technical evaluation, teamwork, peer evaluation and professionalism skills.The primary objective of this paper is to evaluate the benefits and challenges associated withintegrating design charrettes into the academic setting, specifically engineering design courses.Background concepts about the charrette process are defined along with the modificationsneeded to integrate the process into academia. A secondary objective is to establish an adaptedframework for the integration of the charrette process for the academic environment. Sincecapstone courses typically involve a comprehensive, semester-long design project conducted inteams, a design charrette can be adapted to the academic setting to enhance the collaborativeprocess. Four adaptation areas are required for the integration of a design charrette into anacademic setting: timeframe, participants, setting and environment, and instructor’s role. Theadaptation areas are described in detail and are implemented in a case study application todetermine the applicability and effectiveness of the charrette process.The case study is based on a senior level civil engineering capstone design course. The casestudy application is discussed in terms of the goals, logistics, student perspectives, and lessonslearned from integrating a design charrette into a capstone course. Through the charretteprocess, designs are integrated into one Master plan that incorporates the strengths of each team.Challenges faced throughout the process are provided as recommendations for future applicationof the adapted charrette framework.

Beiler, M. O., & Kney, A. D., & Veshosky, D. A. (2012, June), Integrating the Charrette Process into Engineering Education: A Case Study on a Civil Engineering Design Capstone Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20763

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