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Using Sponsored Design Projects to Strengthen Professional Practice Curriculum Components in Civil Engineering Capstone

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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

Topics Related to Civil Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1344.1 - 24.1344.11



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Paper Authors

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Jim Nelson Brigham Young University

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Erick Hollenbaugh

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M. Brett Borup Brigham Young University

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Using Sponsored Design Projects to Strengthen Professional Practice Curriculum Components in Civil Engineering CapstoneThe Civil and Environmental department at Brigham Young University has a professionallyfocused, two-semester Capstone program involving 12-16 sponsors from the public and privatesectors and undergraduate teams guided by graduate student-mentors and faculty advisers.Sponsors provide a financial contribution for the project work done by the team, though the workis performed “as is”. Most of the sponsors stay from year to year, but a couple new sponsors areinterested in the program each year. Each team of three or four students is educated on topicsrelevant to professional practices such as team building, professional engagement, namely,RFQs, SOQs, RFPs, proposals, interviews, and contracts. They also study finance, projectmanagement, leadership, and career development. Each of these topics is also integrated byexperience through the capstone project.In the first semester, teams are formed and organized, and go through the professionalengagement process. The teams respond to an RFP developed with the sponsor, are interviewed,and are awarded projects on a competitive basis. The second semester begins with a kickoffmeeting where the sponsor provides documents, direction, and expresses important ideas andthen all of the design work is completed throughout the course of the semester. Each team ismentored by a graduate student throughout the design process, and this mentor represents thesponsor’s interest and is more capable of providing the continuous feedback necessary for theundergraduate design teams to stay on task. This mentor meets with the team weekly, helps plantasks and time management, and ensures technical accuracy and sponsor satisfaction. A facultymember is also assigned to each team and available for periodic consultation and encouragementto insure that best practices are implemented and a quality final solution can be delivered to thesponsor. Deliverables include an oral presentation, usually given at the sponsor’s place of work,a final report with drawings and specifications, and a poster describing the design which ispresented at forum where all undergraduates can view and ask questions.

Nelson, J., & Hollenbaugh, E., & Borup, M. B. (2014, June), Using Sponsored Design Projects to Strengthen Professional Practice Curriculum Components in Civil Engineering Capstone Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23277

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