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In 2000, George Fox University expanded its engineering program from a 3/2 program to a complete four year engineering program providing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with concentrations in both electrical and mechanical engineering. 2004 saw the first graduates from the program which became ABET accredited the following year.

Very early in the program development, it was decided that the senior capstone experience would be a multidisciplinary experience. The small class sizes (9-10 seniors in the first three years) also enabled the program to focus on a single project in the initial years and expanded to two projects to accommodate the 17 seniors in the 2006/2007 academic year.

While many senior capstone experiences are constructed to focus on the design experience, we decided to expand this focus. By their senior year, George Fox University engineering students have already experienced a number of significant design experiences. This wealth of prior design practice enables the program to use the capstone experience to help students transition from the mindset of a ‘student’ to that of an engineer. This desire to imitate “real-life” engineering project experience drives the structure and pace of the capstone experience. Students tend to be surprised at all the “non-technical” issues that must be confronted and addressed.

The project progress is assessed throughout the two semesters and input is frequently provided by the faculty members and the representative from the industry sponsor. Both the complete team and individual students are assessed. This course serves as an excellent place to measure the overall learning and progress of the students as well as the success of the engineering program. Final oral presentations and demonstration of successful prototype functionality are given at the annual Design Project Day and at the client’s industrial site.

In this paper we describe the methods used by the George Fox University engineering program to acquire and work with industry sponsors and define the scope of these projects. Additionally, we will describe the specifics of the student group formations and how students have, either effectively or ineffectively, participated in the multidisciplinary experience. We will use the specific examples from the delivered prototypes, using these elements to emphasize those efforts that have worked well and to indicate those areas that have been less successful.


Originally a part of the 2007 Capstone Design Conference, Boulder, CO.