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University Industry Partnership To Enhance Senior Capstone Design

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 7: ABET Issues and Capstone Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1344.1 - 9.1344.5

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Paper Authors

author page

Paul Burt

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Shih-Liang (Sid) Wang

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

University-Industry Partnership to Enhance Senior Capstone Design

Shih-Liang (Sid) Wang Department of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, NC 27411, USA

Paul Burt The Gillette Company Global Business Management Grooming Products Boston, MA 02127, USA

Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design

The mechanical engineering senior capstone design course at North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T) is a two-course sequence. The change from a one-semester course four years ago allows students sufficient time to design projects from concept through prototype construction, testing, and evaluation. The class has approximately forty students each year and is divided into four to five sections, each with a different project. Projects include professional society sponsored design competitions and industry sponsored projects. Design competitions include Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design Competition, Formula SAE, and Mini Baja, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Design Competition. Industry sponsored projects include those from Boeing, Caterpillar, Kimberly Clark, Gillette, and Michelin.

Industry sponsored projects allow students to work on actual, meaningful engineering design projects that relate theory with practical applications. These industry leaders provide opportunities for students to gain experience with realistic applications along with funding to support the project objectives. Unfortunately, NC A&T is not geographically located near major industrial regions, and the distance between the University and sponsoring companies tend to limit effective implementation of projects. Scheduling plant tours for students to view project assignments is difficult or impossible, and similar problems exist with building relationships with liaison engineers. An effective liaison engineer must dedicate a fair amount of time to address student questions, review designs, and help find supporting data and information. In the current climate of corporate downsizing, few engineers are in a position to volunteer their time to serve as liaisons.

Another barrier to industry sponsored projects is a lack of strong mentoring by faculty members who are experienced within the selected subject area. Each capstone design course at NC A&T is taught by a single faculty member who has the responsibility to coordinate all sections of project activities, including design reviews. The remaining faculty members within the department are assigned on a rotating basis as advisors to individual project sections. The frequency of rotation for a faculty member to serve as an advisor is approximately four years. Unfortunately, rotating

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education"

Burt, P., & Wang, S. S. (2004, June), University Industry Partnership To Enhance Senior Capstone Design Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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