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Peer Project Management for Capstone Design Teams

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Design and the Capstone Experience

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Gregory K Watkins P.E. California State University, Chico

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Gregory Watkins received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, a Master of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is a Professor in the department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Sustainable Manufacturing at California State University Chico and coordinates the Capstone Design Program. He previously taught in the Engineering Technology department at UNC Charlotte and the Engineering Technologies Division at Central Piedmont Community College. He also has nine years of industrial work experience.

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The mechanical and mechatronic engineering programs at California State University Chico conclude with a robust, externally funded, two-semester capstone design experience. Students in both majors work in interdisciplinary teams on year-long design projects sponsored by industrial partners. Project teams are assigned a faculty advisor whose role [1] is multi-faceted, but does not include day-to-day project management or responsibility for project success.

Design projects in industry typically have an assigned project manager (PM) with responsibility for overall project success as well as a lead role in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling the project. The PM is typically compensated at a higher rate than other members of the team and often has a supervisory or managerial role over them.

There are three primary hurdles to implementing an industrial model of project management in an educational setting. All project team members are peers; none are additionally compensated for PM duties; and none have a supervisory role over the others. The Capstone Design Program at California State University Chico has implemented three alternative models of project management for capstone teams over the past five years. This paper details the various approaches and examines four different metrics to assess the effectiveness of each.

Watkins, G. K. (2018, June), Peer Project Management for Capstone Design Teams Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30865

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