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Teaching Engineering Project Management via Capstone Designs that Develop a Viable Product

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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 Management Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1162.1 - 24.1162.9



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Paper Authors


Don Bowie P.E. Aurasen Limited

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Don Bowie is a systems engineer with an extensive background in engineering design and management, labor relations, and various academic positions. His undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering from the University of
Illinois, with a master's in engineering from Seattle University. Mr. Bowie is an honors graduate from the Executive
Program at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. His engineering and
management background spans four decades in aerospace projects, which includes creating computerized engineering
design tools, rocket orbital placement of telecommunications satellites, and the design and building of large-capacity
electrical-generating wind turbines. His labor relations experience includes vice president of the United States’ largest
professional/technical bargaining unit recognized by the Labor Relations Board. Don’s academic career involves
educational assignments which include teaching and developing several engineering and business-related courses as a
university adjunct professor, plus a multi-year tenure as an affiliate professor at Seattle Pacific University. Mr. Bowie is
presently the CEO of a technical entrepreneurial start-up corporation which has sponsored and participated in six
engineering capstone projects at California Baptist University. He has had two U.S. patents issued and was the primary author for three peer-reviewed academic papers that were published and presented at national conferences.

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Xuping Xu California Baptist University

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Dr. Xuping Xu is currently professor and chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering at California Baptist University. He received B.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering and applied mathematics from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, in 1995. He received M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering and applied mathematics, and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1998, 1999, and 2001, respectively. In 2008, Dr. Xu joined the College of Engineering at California Baptist University. Between 2001 and 2008, he was an assistant professor and subsequently an associate professor in the department of electrical, computer and software Engineering at Penn State Erie. His research interests include systems and control, hybrid and embedded systems, digital design, software/hardware-enabled control applications, algorithms, and optimization. He has published 18 journal papers, 38 conference papers, and 4 book reviews in the above areas. Since 2008, Dr. Xu has been serving as the assessment coordinator of the College of Engineering. He is a senior member of the IEEE and has been an associate editor on the Conference Editorial Board of the IEEE Control Systems Society. He also actively serves as a reviewer for a number of journals and conferences.

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Anthony L. Donaldson California Baptist University

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Dr. Donaldson is the founding dean of the CBU College of Engineering. Under his leadership, the program started in the fall of 2007 with one additional faculty member, 53 students, and 4 majors (B.S. in engineering, CE, ECE, and ME) and has grown into a college with four departments, 21 faculty with Ph.D.'s, and 437 undergraduate engineering students studying eight majors. Dr. Donaldson received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University, where his research was in the pulsed power area. He has published more than 70 conference or refereed journal articles in a wide variety of fields. His current interests are in engineering education with an emphasis on interactions with industry.

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Teaching Engineering Project Management via Capstone Designs that Develop a Viable ProductEngineering Project Management is the orchestration of a plethora ofdisciplines to design a unique technical product. This paper describes themultiyear, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary Capstone Projects thatdesigned, built and tested a medical device to assist hearing impairedindividuals. This effort was accomplished by the College of Engineering of amidsized private university by reaching out to the university’s othercolleges, to industry and to product-using practitioners. This effort resultedin integrating interested individuals, both inside and outside academia, intothe Capstone Projects. The incentive for the industrial and clinical partieswas the potential to obtain a new commercial product utilizing the resourcesof the academic professors, the university facilities and the students. Thebenefit to the students is the abundance of mentoring and interfacingassociated with working one-on-one with experienced industry and providerprofessionals. The benefit to other colleges of the university is the ability toalso work with the industry and practicing professionals in developing areal-world engineering product.This paper reports on a successful a sequence of Capstone Projects that havedesigned an engineering product for a small entrepreneurial corporation.This product, a medical device to assist hearing impaired individuals, ispresently involved in a Capstone Project which is preparing the units forClinical Testing. Integration of the Engineering College’s multidisciplinaryelectronic, software and mechanical design disciplines developed the design.The interdisciplinary teaming with the university’s College of Businessproduced world class marketing plans. The engineering corporationsponsored an internship for project feasibility; whereas three CapstoneTeams have built and designed a proof-of-concept operational unit, twoCapstone Teams have produced an engineering prototype, and one moreCapstone Team is presently preparing the two functional units for clinicaltesting. An audiologist from a local medical clinic has provided directmentoring and patient testing support. The paper describes theserelationships.On each of these Capstone Projects, the project management principles ofcost, schedule and quality were overseen by both the engineering faculty andofficers of the sponsoring organization. Appropriate documentation such asletters of intent, problem definition and needs identification, workbreakdown structures, and Gantt charts were produced by the students andreviewed by the sponsor. Industry items such as the signing of non-disclosure papers, the signing of a Letter of Agreement, the signing of aRequirements Document and generating weekly student time-expended logswere accomplished. Faculty, industry, and provider representatives werepresent and provided real-time and written feedback at the studentpresentations which included concept design reviews, detailed designreviews, test readiness reviews and status reports. This process and itseffectiveness are presented in the paper.The paper highlights the academic professors’ pedagogical methods, thesponsoring corporation’s project experiences, and the effect of the userfeedback provided by the audiologist. This entire involvement of “realworld” professionals working with experienced academic professorsexposed the students to both the foundational and implementation basics ofEngineering Project Management. This collaborative relationship isdelineated in the paper; and the end results, as well as lessons learned, arepresented.

Bowie, D., & Xu, X., & Donaldson, A. L. (2014, June), Teaching Engineering Project Management via Capstone Designs that Develop a Viable Product Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23095

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