A medium-sized (around 4000 students) liberal arts university recently began a general engineering program. The program’s first graduating class was in May 2016, and the program obtained initial ABET accreditation in August 2017. Entering the 2015-2016 academic year, program faculty envisioned a capstone design experience that would engage student teams in a year-long, professional level design project sponsored by an industry client. The first two years of the capstone design program have been inarguably successful, and in this paper we identify and reflect on the keys to our success. The intention for writing this paper is to ensure the success of the program is repeatable, and to assist other programs, especially those residing in small liberal arts universities, in starting or revising their own senior design experience.
Our key factors in assembling a successful industry-sponsored capstone design program have been: (1) faculty buy-in and involvement, (2) engaged industry partners, (3) our teaming and project assignment strategy, (4) flexibility to address curricular concerns in program, and (5) building a corporate-like environment within the classroom. Early indicators of success include formal feedback from industry partners, feedback from our program’s industrial advisory board, and job placement of our program graduates.
Houghtalen, Lori; Kennedy, Timothy; and Smith, Raymond, "Assembling a Successful Industry-Sponsored Senior Capstone Program – Lessons Learned From a Startup Effort at a Liberal Arts University" (2018). Management Sciences. 12.
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