Asee peer logo

Succeeding In A Cross Disciplinary, International, Student Design Team Project Across: Auburn University/University Of Plymouth Experience

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1171.1 - 10.1171.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Venubabu Vulasa

author page

David Grieve

author page

Chetan Sankar

author page

Bob Bulfin

author page

Paul Swamidass

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Succeeding in a Cross-Disciplinary, international, Student Design-Team Project: Auburn University/University of Plymouth Experience

Dr. Paul Swamidass, Dr. Bob Bulfin, Dr. David Grieve, Dr. Chetan Sankar, and Venubabu Vulasa Auburn University/Auburn University/University of Plymouth, UK/ Auburn University/Auburn University


Globalization has turned product design upside down. Members of a single design team in multinational firms may be located in several countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, India and so on. It is a challenge to give engineering and business students a taste of this experience. Auburn University’s Business-Engineering-Technology (B-E-T) program, and the College of Engineering, University of Plymouth, participated in a joint effort to replicate real-life product design process with a mixture of engineering and business students. This paper describes the experience, its lessons and compares it with other attempts at multinational student design-team projects.


In the last ten years, an important change is occurring in new product development in large technology-intensive American manufacturing firms. They are tapping into engineering talent in countries around the world without actually bringing internationally trained engineers to the US. Consequently, complex product/process design is undertaken by teams made of professionals located in more than one continent. The challenge, assumed by program at Auburn University, addressed the issue of giving engineering and business undergraduates a hands-on experience in new product design in teams spread across two continents (North American and Europe).

During the spring semester, 2004, Auburn University, USA and the University of Plymouth, UK, engaged in a pioneering experiment to give student teams in the respective universities an experience in product design in a team composed of undergraduate in both universities campuses. A team of four students from the Auburn University’s Business- Engineering-Technology (B-E-T) program (a lock-step, two-year minor for selected engineering and business students), and four students from the University of Plymouth worked in a joint team for one semester to develop a tail-gate opening mechanism that could be used in a commercially sold sports utility vehicle (SUV) manufactured in Alabama, USA; the project was selected by the student team. This team of four students from Auburn was part of a larger class of 19 cohorts in the BET program.

************ Insert Table 1 about here************

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference.& Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Vulasa, V., & Grieve, D., & Sankar, C., & Bulfin, B., & Swamidass, P. (2005, June), Succeeding In A Cross Disciplinary, International, Student Design Team Project Across: Auburn University/University Of Plymouth Experience Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14306

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015