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Intercollegiate Design Competitions and MTSU’s Machine Shop: Kindling Engineering Technology-Student Creativity & Confidence

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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

Manufacturing Capstone and Design Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.941.1 - 22.941.9



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Paper Authors


Saeed D. Foroudastan Middle Tennessee State University

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Dr. Foroudastan is the Associate Dean for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS). The CBAS oversees ten departments at Middle Tennessee State University. He is also he current director for the Master of Science in Professional Science program and a Professor of Engineering Technology at MTSU. Dr. Foroudastan received his B.S. in Civil Engineering, his M.S. in Civil Engineering, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University. Additionally, he has six years of industrial experience as a Senior Engineer and sixteen years of academic experience as a Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor.

Dr. Foroudastan’s academic experience includes teaching at Tennessee Technological University and Middle Tennessee State University in the areas of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering Technology. He has actively advised undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and minority students in academics and career guidance. Dr. Foroudastan has also served as faculty advisor for SAE, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Pre-engineering, ASME, Experimental Vehicles Program (EVP), and Tau Alpha Pi Honors Society.

In addition to Dr. Foroudastan’s teaching experience, he also has performed extensive research and published numerous technical papers. He has secured over one million dollars in the form of both internal and external grants and research funding. This funding has come from several organizations, including the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Foroudastan is the faculty advisor, coordinator, and primary fundraiser for EVP teams entering national research project competitions such as the Formula SAE Collegiate Competition, the Baja SAE Race, the SolarBike Rayce, the Great Moonbuggy Race, and the Solar Boat Collegiate Competition.

For his concern for and dedication to his students, Dr. Foroudastan received MTSU awards such as the 2002-03 Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2005-06 Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2007 Faculty Advisor of the Year Award. He received the Excellence in Engineering Education award and Faculty Advisor Award from Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). He was also nominated for the MTSU 2005 and 2009 Outstanding Research Award. Dr. Foroudastan has also won many College of Basic and Applied Science Awards including the 2004 Outstanding Service Award, the 2006 Overall Excellence Award, the 2006 Excellence in Publications, and the Top Publisher and Presenter three years in a row (2002 - 2004).
In addition to this, Dr. Foroudastan also reviews papers for journals and conference proceedings of ASEE, ASEE-SE, and ASME, and he has been a session moderator for several professional conferences. Dr. Foroudastan has also served on committees at the department, college, and university levels.

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Rachel Klapper Middle Tennessee State University

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Rachel Klapper has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. She is currently a Professional Science Master’s graduate candidate in Biotechnology and a Graduate Research Assistant at Middle Tennessee State University.

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Sandi Hyde Middle Tennessee State University

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Sandi Hyde has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University. She was a senior engineer at Nissan North America for fourteen years, and she is currently a Professional Science Master's graduate candidate and a Graduate Research Assistant for at Middle Tennessee State University.

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Intercollegiate Design Competitions and MTSU’s Machine Shop: Kindling Engineering Technology-Student Creativity & ConfidenceAbstractEducators often face the daunting task of finding ways to encourage creativity andconfidence in students. Limited time and pre-defined course objectives can furtherburden this task. Hands-on activities in the laboratory courses that often supplementbasic science classes are, inarguably, beneficial as they can both reinforce classroomconcepts and instill students with confidence in both their knowledge and abilities.However, that confidence is often limited to the specific constructs of the textbooks usedin the specific courses, and laboratory work may not always challenge or excite students.Engineering educators face additional challenges in creating hands-on experiences fortheir students. The nature of engineering endeavors in terms of cost and development-time can limit abilities to create meaningful engineering- laboratory courses.Additionally, faculty-led and course-driven laboratory experiences are often designedaround textbook concepts that do not necessarily expose students to challenges similar tothose they may encounter in their future professional endeavors. This may leave studentsquestioning the relevance of their education to “the real world” at the end of theircourses. At Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), the Engineering Technology(ET) Department has overcome these issues through the partnership of its student-led,extracurricular Engineering Vehicle Program (EVP) and the student-managed campusmachine-shop laboratory.Students, excited by their participation in EVP projects and by their access to state-of-the-art engineering tools, enthusiastically participate in machine shop activities. Themachine shop provides a learning environment similar to that found in traditionalscience-based laboratories without the similar structure that can, potentially, stiflecreativity. Students are naturally motivated to perform well at EVP design competitions,and the machine shop provides means for them to develop unique solutions for designand manufacturing challenges.This paper will explain MTSU’s approach to inspiring engineering creativity andconfidence in its engineering technology students through utilization of an on-campusmachine shop and participation in national intercollegiate design competitions. Thesuccess of MTSU’s approach has been realized through both increased enrollment andgraduation rates in its Engineering Technology Department.

Foroudastan, S. D., & Klapper, R., & Hyde, S. (2011, June), Intercollegiate Design Competitions and MTSU’s Machine Shop: Kindling Engineering Technology-Student Creativity & Confidence Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18300

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