Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Transformational Change in a Masters-level Integrated Capstone Design Course that Partners Industry and Academia

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Capstone Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Andrew L. Gillen University College London Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Andrew L. Gillen is a Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering at University College London. He has a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech and B.S. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University.

visit author page


Michael L. Woodrow University College London Orcid 16x16

visit author page

University Lecturer with experience in both research and industry. Skilled in Fire Engineering, Integrated Design, Critical Thinking and Engineering Pedagogy. A professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Fire Engineering Education from The University of Edinburgh.

visit author page


Jose Luis Torero University College London

visit author page

Professor José L. Torero works in the fields of safety, environmental remediation and sanitation where he specialises in complex environments such as developing nations, complex urban environments, novel architectures, critical infrastructure, aircraft and spacecraft. His work explores the interplay between professional education, project drivers and outcomes. He holds a BSc for the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and an MSc and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He received a Doctor Honoris Causa by Ghent University in 2016. He is a Chartered Engineer (UK), a Registered Professional Engineer in Queensland, a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (UK).

visit author page

Download Paper |


Integrated capstone design courses in civil engineering pose a major challenge for educators because of the breadth of topics covered. Partnering with industry has historically provided a way to alleviate some of these challenges and provide a more authentic design experience. While external partnership in capstone design courses can provide added authenticity as well as fringe benefits such as networking opportunities, there are risks associated with an industry-driven approach. We also argue there is a need to shift from an emphasis on product to pedagogy in capstone design and that authenticity from industry is not an end in itself. In this work-in-progress paper, we present our project to reimagine the integrated capstone design course at a large, public research university in the United Kingdom. This project has three major goals: (1) Develop an understanding of how to balance industry involvement; (2) Generate mechanisms for sustainable adoption of changes; and (3) Evaluate short- and long-term student outcomes for the course. We will present an overview of our intended curricular changes as well as research and evaluation plans to date. This project fits uniquely in the current literature on engineering design education in that it centers around a masters-level course and challenges the notion of what constitutes healthy industry partnership. As a starting point, our first research question considers how the current capstone design course came to be a primarily outsourced effort and what factors impacted this organizational shift to lower academic ownership from within the department.

Gillen, A. L., & Woodrow, M. L., & Torero, J. L. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Transformational Change in a Masters-level Integrated Capstone Design Course that Partners Industry and Academia Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38207

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015