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SE CAPSTONE: Implementing a Systems Engineering Framework For Multidisciplinary Capstone Design

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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

SE Capstone Design Projects, Part I

Tagged Divisions

Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1278.1 - 22.1278.21



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Paper Authors


Keith G. Sheppard Stevens Institute of Technology

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Keith Sheppard is a Professor of Materials Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering & Science at Stevens Institute of Technology. He earned the B.Sc. from the University of Leeds, England and Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, England, both in Metallurgy. As Associate Dean, Sheppard is primarily responsible for undergraduate programs.

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John A Nastasi Stevens Institute of Technology

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John Nastasi is a Licensed Architect and Founding Director of the Graduate Program in Product-Architecture and Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. An alumnus of Harvard's Graduate School of Design and recipient of Harvard's prestigious Rice Prize for the Integration of Architecture and Engineering, John is currently directing interdisciplinary research in sustainable engineering for both the Department of Defense and Department of Energy.

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Eirik Hole Stevens Institute of Technology

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Eirik Hole has since 2004 held the position of Lecturer in Systems Engineering & Engineering Management in the School of Systems & Enterprise at Stevens Institute of Technology. Prior to this he held systems engineering positions in a number of companies, primarily in the automotive and aerospace fields, in Norway and Germany. He obtained a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany in 1995.

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Peter L. Russell Stevens Institute of Technology

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Peter Russell is an Industry Assistant Professor
of Engineering and Science at Stevens Institute of Technology. He earned a B.F.A., B.ARCH. from the Rhode Island School of Design. Mr. Russell has extensive experience in the architectural profession. As an Assistant Professor, Mr. Russell is managing interdisciplinary projects for both The Department of Energy and The Department of Defense.

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SE CAPSTONE: Implementing a Systems Engineering Framework For Multidisciplinary Capstone DesignIn this paper we discuss a pilot project to develop a systems engineering (SE) framework formultidisciplinary capstone design which can be a model for broad implementation. It is part ofan initiative involving 14 institutions (including all the military academies), sponsored by theDOD Systems Engineering Research Center, to incorporate SE in undergraduate capstonedesign. This pilot is the next step in an ongoing initiative to promote systems engineeringprinciples in the core curriculum for all engineering students at the authors’ institution. Afoundation is already provided by systems engineering principles that are currently integrated inan explicit manner into the early freshmen and sophomore design courses.The specific project for the capstone pilot is one in which a large team of 24 was assembled,comprising undergraduate seniors from civil, mechanical, electrical/computer engineering andengineering management, plus graduate students from a Masters program that bridges betweenthe industrial and architectural design domains and the engineering domain. The team hasworked with various stakeholders within the Department of Defense to address a need for anexpeditionary housing system for the military, with a major focus on integrated alternate energysources and associated micro-grid. This has application to both forward operational units and fordisaster relief missions.The SE framework provides a series of workshops through the course of the project to teach SEconcepts in what approximates to a just-in-time mode. The goals that are addressed in the projectare connected directly to primary SE Competency Areas of DOD (SPRDE-SE/PSE).  Understand and appreciate the needs and objectives of key stakeholders including the operational and life-cycle context of these, and how these shape and set the scope for the development program  Understanding and appreciation of the notion that the value of a system is largely embodied in the interaction among its components, and not in the components themselves.  Understand that a well thought out system design and well managed interface specifications are critical to successful system integration.  Understand the value of early modeling and inspection to develop a well thought out system design.  To develop interpersonal and communication skills to successfully work on interdisciplinary teams.  To develop written and oral communication skills to communicate the essence of both stakeholder/problem domain as well as solution domain related content.  To better understand the role Systems Engineering plays on larger projects and what career options Systems Engineering offers.Assessment is applied locally at the authors’ institution and via an external assessor to the overall14-school program, to determine the progress in meeting institutional and consortium goals.Keywords: systems, design, multidisciplinary

Sheppard, K. G., & Nastasi, J. A., & Hole, E., & Russell, P. L. (2011, June), SE CAPSTONE: Implementing a Systems Engineering Framework For Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18937

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