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Senior Design Teaching Policy for COE & CCES
Name of Policy
Senior Design Teaching Policy for COE & CCES
Policy Number
II – C. 21
Academic Affairs
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To institute and formalize a process for crediting faculty members for supervising Senior Design Capstone Projects in the College of Engineering (COE) and the College of Computer Engineering and Science (CCES).


Senior Design Capstone Courses are mandated by ABET in which all graduates from (COE) and (CCES) must take as part of the curricula. These courses are project-based that ABET defines for each major as “a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.”

Senior Design Capstone Courses are offered in every fall and spring semester for graduating seniors in the COE and the CCES.  Students are typically grouped into teams that consist of three to five students per team.  Teams are assigned real-world problems that require teamwork to produce and document a solution to the problem in a project formats with end of semester deliverables that include a functional prototype, a detailed technical report and a power point presentation. Each team is assigned a faculty member to act as a subject matter expert and to guide and supervise the students throughout the semester. The faculty member acts as the “undergraduate thesis” advisor. The faculty advisor meets with the students each and every week for many hours to ensure that the students are making progress as per the course academic specifications and deliverables. Each and every project must meet ABET standards to attain and/or maintain ABET’s stringent accreditation criteria.

The following describe the guidelines and related faculty teaching loads pertaining to supervising Senior Design Capstone Courses. 

1.      Students are divided into groups (usually three to five students) to a do a major design and/or research and development project under the supervision of one faculty member with expertise in the area of the project. The supervisor will deliver content pertaining to design standards, constraints and deliverables. Teams will present during the course of the project progress written logs and reports and make interim presentations as per the course syllabus.

2.      A faculty project advisor will be given a teaching assignment of 1 Credit Hour for supervising one project [1 Credit for College that offers Senior Design as one Course, and 1 Credit for College that offer senior design as two course sequence (0.5 credit for each). She/he will supervise no more than a total of 3 projects per semester for a total not to exceed a teaching assignment of 3 Credit Hours.

3.      For logistics, the department chair and/or the associate chair will finalize assigning faculty members to teach senior design projects before or after the early start of the semester.  This will allow students and faculty to form teams.

4.      Projects will continue to be initiated by students, faculty, and industry. Industry mentors and financial sponsors will be solicited. PMU will provide limited financial support to defray cost of materials and supplies needed for the project in the event that a sponsor is not identified.

5.      Each senior design project advisor will be in charge of her/his students. She/he will be assigned one section in Banner per team.

6.      All projects will have milestone accomplishments in the course of the semester and culminate in a final delivery of a prototype (as appropriate), documentation, and professional presentation at the end of the semester. Presentations will be announced and open to student, faculty, and industry attendees. Evaluations of students will include soliciting input from professionals within PMU and/or industry and fellow students as peers.

7.      Faculty project advisor assign grades as per the course syllabus with leeway to reward originality, creativity, professionalism, economics, safety, etc., as per ABET outcomes expected in a capstone senior design experience.

8.      If a project is found to be incomplete at the end of the semester, the coursework by the team of students will continue in the following semester(s). The assigned faculty member will continue to supervise the students until acceptable completion of the project is achieved. The faculty member teaching assignment will not carry forward beyond the first semester.

9.      Interdisciplinary projects within each college and across the two colleges will be encouraged when projects require participation of diverse technical backgrounds. The combined team may have as many as six to ten students and as many as two faculty members supervising the students.

Procedure :

Once the Students are divided into groups and faculty members announce and publish their senior design ideas, students will either choose from the published ideas or propose a senior design idea of their own and talk to faculty members whose expertise fall in the area of the project. The faculty member will choose up to three groups for supervision; the faculty member will need to go through the following process:

1.      Write a formal email to the Chair/Associate Chair requesting a teaching assignment to supervise the teams (Projects) she/he chose to work with not to exceed three projects.

2.      Depending on faculty teaching load and especially if more than one faculty with the same expertise are present in one department, the Chair/Associate Chair will make appropriate decision to ensure fair distribution of teaching load amongst all faculty members.

3.      The Chair must inform the faculty advisor in writing of his/her decision to assign the projects to the faculty member and must take the appropriate actions to assign them formally in Banner.

4.      Once a faculty advisor is approved for supervising the projects. He/she must take all necessary actions including weekly or bi-weekly, or monthly meetings with the students to ensure the proper implementation and completion of the project. In addition, the faculty member is accountable for reviewing and ensuring that all documents pertaining to the project including Final report and presentation to meet ABET Standards.

5.      A faculty advisor who fails through the supervision process to produce High Quality Senior Design Projects (Prototype, Final Report, Presentation, Etc.) maybe suspended from supervising senior design projects in future semesters. (A Report must be documented between Chair and Faculty member in this regard).