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Reducing Barriers to Interdisciplinary Design Teams

[+] Author Affiliations
Tim Hight, Chris Kitts

Santa Clara University

Paper No. IMECE2005-81104, pp. 297-302; 6 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


The proportion of Santa Clara University School of Engineering interdisciplinary senior design teams has been rising over the last five years. While many of those teams have been very successful, there has been a significant overhead price paid by the team members who chose to tackle these projects. Since the spring of 2004, an interdisciplinary team of faculty at SCU has been working to reduce the obstacles that have hindered interdisciplinary design teams in the past. Each department had independently developed its own processes and time schedule over the years, and the variations inherent in these separate programs had created some significant difficulties for the students trying to satisfy incongruent requirements. Recent advances have focused primarily on three departments: Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering. Curricular changes across departments include a number of innovations ranging from aligning schedules and deliverables to introducing joint team-building activities. A short history of the development of each department’s approach will be presented, followed by the current, more integral, plan and the issues that have arisen in its implementation. Many of the changes that have been made are closely tied to ABET-related continuous improvement efforts. A strong commitment to enhancing interdisciplinary design team experiences has been a core tenet of the involved departments. Lessons learned and successes will be discussed as well.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME
Topics: Design , Teams



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