George Fox University has a service-learning course required of all engineering program graduates. The course began in 2010 as a one-credit per semester, four-semester sequence starting in the spring of the sophomore year. This structure provided an overlap of students in their first and second year in the course. All student teams met concurrently one evening per week to work on faculty-provided projects. Each faculty member was responsible for approximately four teams. Faculty and students began each year of the program with excitement, but over time, a number of significant challenges emerged, among these the explosive growth of the George Fox University engineering program and its potential effect on the sustainability of the program. Therefore, in this paper we follow-up on our published review of the first few years of the program. Here we discuss the mechanics of these changes and their continuing effect on the overall program.
An increasing number of students necessarily required an increasing number of projects. Faculty had already expressed difficulty in managing four projects and in finding clients with appropriate engineering challenges. Faculty had also recognized that some students lacked motivation to participate in some of the provided projects, especially during their second year of the course. To meet these challenges, the course was restructured as a two-credit per semester, two semester sequence in the junior year. This cut the number of students (and therefore projects) in half. Faculty were generally assigned to oversee one team. Finally, the task of finding projects was given to the incoming juniors who became responsible to propose and present projects for instructor approval.
In addition to describing the evolution of the program, statistical analyses of student perceptions of the design process and the influence of service experiences will be presented. These longitudinal data are used in the evaluation of the program as well as the overall presentation of the design process in the engineering curriculum.
The details of this paper will provide information to other programs in their development of similar courses. Through the discussion of ongoing areas of concern, those implementing similar programs will gain exposure to issues that are sure to arise.
Foster, Mike and Spivey, Gary, "Ongoing Development and Evaluation of an Engineering Service Course" (2015). Faculty Publications - Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Paper 10.