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Projects Day: Completion Of The Engineering Capstone Design

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Capstone Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.953.1 - 7.953.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Rabb

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Ronald Welch

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Main Menu Session 2425

Projects Day: Completion of the Engineering Capstone Design

Robert J. Rabb, Ronald W. Welch United States Military Academy


Projects Day at the United States Military Academy (USMA) is an annual event to showcase senior design projects. The goal of Projects Day is to “promote academic excellence” 1 by providing senior students “with a public forum in which to present their senior theses or design projects.” 1 The students work on these projects all semester and, in some cases, all year. Projects Day allows the students to present their projects, relate their difficulties and successes, and formally complete the project with the customer and faculty advisor. It is also a terrific way for the students and the community to share in the academic richness that exists at any school. A number of academic departments participate in the event to include Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Behavioral Science and Leadership, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Geography and Environmental Engineering.

In May 2001, over 280 students were involved in 72 projects that were showcased. Many of the projects the students were involved in were sponsored by outside agencies. Based on the results of the projects, many outside agencies have implemented the student designs. Some capstone projects are part of national or regional competitions, and some are design and build projects. The quality of work displayed by the students proves that the academic program and capstone experience meet institutional objectives and the expectations of the students and customers. In the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Projects Day has become an effective way to seek multidisciplinary opportunities, assess the curriculum and program effectiveness through customer feedback, and advertise the projects to future students. This paper focuses on the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering’s experience in Projects Day, use of it as an assessment tool, and long term benefits of the event. Conclusions and outcomes are substantiated with student surveys and customer feedback.

I. Introduction

Since the spring of 2000, USMA has conducted Projects Day as an initiative to engage all of the academy’s students and the local community in engineering design. It is unique since engineering excellence is supported and advertised by the institution rather than one of the engineering departments. This distinction has encouraged its acceptance and promotion throughout the academy.

The Dean’s Policy and Operating Memorandum states that Projects Day promotes academic excellence by providing senior students with a public forum to present their senior theses or design projects. 1 Projects Day is scheduled near the end of the Spring Term w hen most of the senior capstone projects are complete or near conclusion. Freshmen through seniors who have a free hour in their schedules are encouraged to attend Projects Day events, and a large number attend and ask questions. Additionally, the sponsoring departments try to schedule presentations over several instruction periods during the day to encourage student participation. The

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Rabb, R., & Welch, R. (2002, June), Projects Day: Completion Of The Engineering Capstone Design Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10527

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