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Students Pursuing Senior Projects Analyze the Public Need and Draft the Public Policy

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy Division Technical Session 1: In the Classroom

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1131.1 - 24.1131.11



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Paper Authors


Murray Teitell DeVry University, Long Beach

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Murray Teitell is a Professor at DeVry University, Long Beach, California. He teaches courses in mathematics, science and technology. His research interests are algorithms, solutions of equations and statistics as they relate to education, engineering and design.

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William S. Sullivan DeVry University, Long Beach

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Students Pursuing Senior Projects Analyze The Public Need and Draft the Public PolicyAbstract Engineering and technology students often undertake a senior project in the final yearof their degree program. One common requirement in the proposal phase of the seniorproject is that the student team demonstrates a public need for the unique service orproduct that would result from the project. This need is identified through research inthe literature and utilizing observations and surveys. To extend this process even further,the authors introduced assignments in their senior project courses for the student team toresearch the answers to the following questions. Will this product create a need for newor revised public policies? What would these public polices be and can they furtherdrive the need for the product? Many of the projects fall into categories such asautonomous vehicles, robots, medical devices and signal generators and receivers.These type of devices already have a number of public polices associated with them,both regulatory and distributive. Engineers do not usually receive training to be policymakers but these assignments gave them this opportunity. We report here the outcomesof these assignments. Public needs are foremost driven by problems but they are also driven in a feedbackloop by public policies, available solutions and politics. Engineering and technologystudents do not usually get instruction in how to analyze these public needs and all thefactors involved including public policies. In order to evaluate the public need, studentswere given a spreadsheet template model for the public need that led them to find themany parameters that drive the public need. From this analysis, the team estimated theimpact of the problem and the solution and what the size of the market for the productwould be? We report here the outcomes of these analyses. An example of a public policy is one that relates to the shrinking bee population inmany parts of the world. Recently, billions of bees have died and as a result thereduction in pollination agents threatens the agricultural industries. Public policy isbeing drafted to deal with the causes of this plight. Experts have given their opinion ofthe causes. One of the senior projects was an automated pollinator that could replace thepollination of some of the lost bees. As part of the analysis of the public need, thestudent team drafted a public policy that would support their product, an automatedpollinator. The results of the analysis of public needs and writing public policies indicate anincrease in student ability to develop marketable projects and products.

Teitell, M., & Sullivan, W. S. (2014, June), Students Pursuing Senior Projects Analyze the Public Need and Draft the Public Policy Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23064

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