July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
Creating collaborative design projects between the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP) and the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department’s Senior Design (ECE SD) program didn’t only add value to both programs but also proved to be a key aspect in building a foundation for true multi-disciplinary senior design at North Carolina State University (NC State). The EEP supports multi-disciplinary teams where seniors from several engineering departments form a team and suggest a solution to an existing real-life problem. They also devise a viable business around it based on the market and implement the first basic prototype. On the other hand, in the ECE SD program, a team of ECE engineers is given a problem by an outside entity called the Sponsor (industry, academia, company, individual, etc.). The sponsored team then produces a viable product design solution to the problem, builds multiple product prototypes, tests, and verifies them based on the product requirements. While the EEP program focuses mainly on market exploration, customer study, and business planning, the ECE SD program’s direction is towards system engineering, product design exploration, prototype building, verification, and in some cases, manufacturability. Therefore, the authors saw a clear opportunity to collaborate and broaden the horizons of both programs and deserving teams on both sides. This collaboration enabled creating a model and platform for multi-disciplinary engagement from students and faculty in engineering capstone design. The authors implemented this collaboration model with a pilot project three years ago. This model was slightly modified based on the lessons learned and learning outcomes reported by the participating EEP and ECE SD teams. This model brought forth some keen observations and lessons, which the authors have seen as the first step in forming a comprehensive multi-disciplinary design program. The preliminary impact of these steps is that 15 to 20% of the ECE SD program’s design projects are multi-disciplinary (with 6 to 8 faculty members from several departments as mentors) and are growing. This growing multi-disciplinary collaboration has also brought in additional annual funding. This paper shares the structure, phases, advantages, outcomes, and impact of this collaboration model, which can be amended to collaborations between other programs. The paper also describes successes, failures, and learning lessons from this multi-disciplinary collaboration model and closes with the next steps.
Gupta, R. A., & Brain, M. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Entrepreneurship and Senior Design Program Collaboration Towards Multidisciplinary Design Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38151
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