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Teaming Freshmen With Seniors In Design

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Biological & Agricultural Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1090.1 - 8.1090.7



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Paper Authors

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Ron Lacey

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Ann Kenimer

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

Session 2003-1240

Teaming Freshmen with Seniors in Design

Ann Kenimer, Ronald Lacey

Associate Professors, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University


The Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University offers design-focused courses for freshman and senior engineering students. The senior-level courses constitute the curriculum’s capstone design experience. Seniors work in teams of four to five on a design project suggested by industry clients. Many of these same projects are used in the freshman- level course. These projects are used to introduce freshmen and lower-division transfer students to the engineering design process and to illustrate job possibilities available to program graduates. A unique aspect of the freshman and senior design courses, and the focus of this paper, is the inclusion of seniors in the freshman design teams. These seniors assume the role of “senior leader” and serve as managers and mentors. As managers, senior leaders answer questions that the freshmen may have about their design projects or the design process. Senior leaders also facilitate group discussions and act as mediators during times of team turbulence. Finally, senior leaders provide a weekly performance evaluation for each of their freshman team members. Beyond their management responsibilities, many senior leaders provide mentoring to the freshmen in their teams. Senior leaders provide freshmen with information about instructors, summer internship opportunities, departmental laboratory and computer resources, and student clubs, among other topics. Placement of senior leaders in freshman design teams yields numerous benefits. Seniors get an opportunity to obtain management experience before graduation. Freshmen get an opportunity to meet others in their major and to receive much greater mentoring than can be provided through traditional instructor/student contact. This paper describes the process through which senior/freshman teaming is achieved in these courses. In addition, the paper explores freshman, senior, and instructor reactions to the program.

The Senior Design Experience

The senior capstone design experience in Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department is a two-semester sequence consisting of a two credit hour course in the fall semester followed by a three credit hour course in the spring semester. The sequence is focused around “real world” design problems that are proposed by industry partners. The seniors are formed into teams of four

Lacey, R., & Kenimer, A. (2003, June), Teaming Freshmen With Seniors In Design Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11526

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