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Using an Engineering Design Center to Infuse Design Experience into a Mechanical Engineering Program

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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

Capstone Courses and Project Based-Learning

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1320.1 - 24.1320.14



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Paper Authors


Vincent Wilczynski Yale University

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Vincent Wilczynski is the deputy dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Yale University. As the deputy dean, he helps plan and implement all academic initiatives at the school. In addition, he manages the school’s teaching and research resources and facilities, including establishing the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design. Previously, Dr. Wilczynski served as the dean of engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He served in fellowships at the MIT Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and at the Harvard School of Public Health, and was the national director of the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Dr. Wilczynski's professional interests are in the areas of data acquisition and analysis, mechanical design, and virtual teams for product development. He presently serves on the executive advisory board of the FIRST Foundation and on the Naval Engineering in the 21st Century committee of the National Academy of Engineering. Previously, he served as the Vice President of Public Awareness for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, as a national officer of ASEE, and as an evaluator for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Dr. Wilczynski was named the 2001 Baccalaureate College Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation, the only national award which recognizes outstanding college teaching.

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Corey S. O'Hern Yale University


Eric R. Dufresne Yale University

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Prof. Eric R. Dufresne is the director of the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design and an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University.

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Infusing Design Experiences into a Mechanical Engineering ProgramThe popularization of digital manufacturing has heightened cultural interest in the design andcreativity of physical objects. This trend is aligned with a longstanding emphasis in the role ofdesign skills within engineering, in part due to the focus on this topic provided by ABET. Thispaper reports on the local impact of a design culture within the Mechanical EngineeringDepartment at Yale, as well as throughout the School of Engineering and the University as awhole, that resulted from the creation of a physical space for creativity, design and fabrication, aswell as renewed emphasis of incorporating design skills throughout the Mechanical Engineeringcurriculum. In addition, the paper will present a systematic method for capturing the effect ofdesign efforts with respect to the achievement of Student Outcomes.Recently, a center to support design collaboration and to provide a common space for students,faculty and staff was constructed and outfitted to support this initiative. The space is one that isdirected by a team of educators who are detailed as full time support to the initiative. The spaceand staff provided the kernel for this initiative, with the team crafting their efforts to instill acommunity based approach to learning, creating and sharing the results and methodologiesassociated with experimentation, investigation, and creation.The efforts within the physical space were conducted in parallel with advancements within thecurriculum to highlight the role of design within the Mechanical Engineering curriculum. Here,new courses were created at the cornerstone level (to introduce engineering design to freshmen,including students who were not pursuing engineering majors) as well as in the intermediarylevels (to focus on designing technology for use in developing countries and in another course todesign new medical devices). In addition to these new courses, design components have beenincorporated into existing courses to provide additional relevance to theory based material. Theimpact of these efforts on the achievement of ABET Student Outcomes has been measured andrecorded using a standardized method for tracking outcomes achievements within each course.The paper will detail how these efforts have contributed to the students’ ability to meetprescribed outcomes and signal, with the overall results used to improve the program’seffectiveness.

Wilczynski, V., & O'Hern, C. S., & Dufresne, E. R. (2014, June), Using an Engineering Design Center to Infuse Design Experience into a Mechanical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23253

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