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The Professional Guide: A Resource for Preparing Capstone Design Students to Function Effectively on Industry-sponsored Project Teams

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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

Best of DEED

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1240.1 - 24.1240.22



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Paper Authors


R. Keith Stanfill University of Florida

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B.S., M.E., and Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering
University of Florida

Dr. R. Keith Stanfill is the Director of the Integrated Product and Process Design Program and an Engineer for the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. His interests include technology transfer, entrepreneurship, product development, design education and Design for X. Dr. Stanfill has over ten years' industrial experience with United Technologies Corporation.

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Amy Rigby

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B.S., Telecommunication-News
University of Florida

Amy Rigby is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. She has worked for the University of Florida’s College of Engineering for four years and has been providing writing services for the Integrated Product and Process Design program for two years. She runs her own business in which she provides small businesses with copywriting and marketing services.

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Maureen Milch University of Florida

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B.A., Theater Arts
Rollins College
M.A., Architecture
University of Florida

Maureen Milch is a consultant and previously served as the Program Assistant for the Integrated Product and Process Design Program for five years, a program that serves University of Florida College of Engineering undergraduate students from all disciplines. Her interests include group work, project management, educational course design, and classroom improvements.

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The Professional Guide: A Resource for PreparingCapstone Design Students to Function Effectively onIndustry-sponsored Project TeamsAbstractCompletion of a capstone design project typically occurs in the final year of study in U.S. engineeringschools. Capstone design projects are often completed by teams of students charged with designing andimplementing solutions to real-world problems. Many programs feature projects that are sought fromindustrial sponsors [1]. These industry-supported projects require that the student teams interact regularlywith their off-campus clients. Successful project outcomes are generated by a blend of technical skills, so-called soft skills, and professional practices.This paper describes a training and reference guide developed for capstone design students at UniversityX enrolled in the XYZ Program. The Professional Guide communicates key project research and legalelements, establishes expectations for professional conduct, and defines business procedures that must befollowed. Rather than devote classroom time to these topics, the guide and associated training elementsare essentially constitute a self-paced new-hire professional orientation program for capstone designstudents. Experience at University X suggests that the Professional Guide provides an efficient vehicle fordelivering important training.The Professional Guide’s project research and legal elements cover essential intellectual property, non-disclosure, and export controls aspects. The expectations for professional conduct areas include sexualharassment prevention, identification of at-risk students, basic laboratory safety, and over two dozenethics mini-case studies developed from real XYZ Program experiences. Items lumped into the businessprocedures includes training for the XYZ Program collaboration and project management tools, lab andclassroom rules, effective meeting strategies, how-to guides for purchasing and travel. Many of thetraining elements require creation of web-based elements to prove that the students have mastered thematerials. Students also receive certificates for the Preventing Sexual Harassment and At-Risk Studenttraining courses. As an incentive to complete the required training, each team’s laboratory access iswithheld until all team members complete the assignments.References 1. S. Howe, “Where are We Now? Statistics on Capstone Courses Nationwide,” Advances in Engineering Education, American Society for Engineering Education, vol. 2, issue 1, Spring 2010. 2. Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, 2011.

Stanfill, R. K., & Rigby, A., & Milch, M. (2014, June), The Professional Guide: A Resource for Preparing Capstone Design Students to Function Effectively on Industry-sponsored Project Teams Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23173

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