Enhancing the capstone design experience in an undergraduate engineering program

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

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Senior engineering students in the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management at Roger Williams University are required to take a two-semester senior capstone design-course sequence. Not unlike the experience offered in many engineering programs, the capstone design experience is meant to be an integrative event during which students apply the engineering science and design principles learned during their previous studies to an actual project. At Roger Williams, the course has been undergoing a transition to a client-based format in which all of the student design projects are undertaken for "outside" clients. This fall a major initiative was undertaken that incorporated into the course a unique block of instruction on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Baldrige performance excellence criteria are the framework that any organization can use to improve overall performance. This instructional unit was introduced to enhance the students' awareness of the need for continuous improvement within a highly competitive world marketplace and, by extension, to improve the client base senior design project products. This paper presents the development and implementation of this unique integration with a preliminary assessment of the results.

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