Training Faculty to Coach Capstone Design Teams

Dorothy G. Taylor, Spencer P. Magleby, Robert H. Todd, and Alan R. Parkinson
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602, USA

During senior capstone experiences, student teams are often given a faculty advisor to teach and assist them. Our experience has shown that using the traditional student/faculty teaching model is not an efficient or effective approach to the student learning of design and team processes. The objective of the paper is to show that successful learning experiences for capstone design teams require faculty to shift their role from a traditional lecture or consulting role to a coaching role. Research into key indicators of engineering design team success related to coaching focused on team observations, individual and team interviews, and individual team member and coach surveys. Results shows that a successful coaching role encompasses three main responsibilities: mentor, mediator and manager. Specific expectations and activities that a coach should fulfill to aid in the success of capstone teams can be established.


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