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Using The Sae Collegiate Design Series To Provide Hands On Team Project Experience For Undergraduates

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Teams and Teamwork in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1414.1 - 11.1414.11



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Paper Authors

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Gregory Davis Kettering University

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Craig Hoff Kettering University

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

Using the SAE Collegiate Design Series to Provide Hands-on Team Project Experience for Undergraduates

Learning experiences that are “hands-on, minds-on” are often considered to be more successful at achieving knowledge transfer than the traditional college lecture approach. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) annually conducts a series of design competitions, where students from Universities throughout the world compete. Student teams are provided with a detailed set of rules that provide guidance into the competition events and point structure, and base engineering and safety requirements. Students have less than one year to design and build a vehicle used in the competition. All competitions require the students to present their designs and vehicle to a group of professionals working in the particular field. Further, the vehicles, which are designed and manufactured by the students, are then used to compete in a series of dynamic events.

To evaluate the short- and long-term benefits of these competition projects and other SAE student activities, a survey was developed and distributed to recent graduates of Kettering University. For example, do the alumni of these competitions feel that these events helped them to gain better employment opportunities and faster career advancement? Both alumni who had these experiences and alumni who did not have these experiences were surveyed.

This paper provides a brief introduction to the SAE design competitions along with the results of the alumni survey.


Starting in the early 1960s, engineering education shifted away from engineering practice and more towards engineering science. Declining enrollments and shifting priorities caused universities to reduce program length. In order to accomplish this, many programs reduced application oriented courses and laboratories.1 This has resulted in a gap between what universities are teaching, and what engineers are expected to know in industry.2 Engineers in industry spend much time working on complex system integration, yet few engineering graduates understand this process.3 Reference 2 adds “the state of education in this country, especially in science, engineering and technology, has become a matter of increasing concern to many of us in American industry.”

The new ABET requirements support a renewed emphasis on teaching the practice of engineering. In part, this reform was undertaken in order to help academia to become more responsive to the needs of industry. By working to emphasize engineering practice, engineering programs are actually working to meet ABET requirements. However, meeting ABET requirements is now not the goal in and of itself, but simply a measure of how well engineering programs are meeting the needs of industry and their students.

Davis, G., & Hoff, C. (2006, June), Using The Sae Collegiate Design Series To Provide Hands On Team Project Experience For Undergraduates Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1008

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