The capstone senior design project is the culmination of the undergraduate experience, where knowledge gained in the classroom is applied to a major design project. The pinnacle of the experience is the Senior Design Exposition, where all the projects are displayed for the general public and Stevens community.
Stevens recognizes the importance of applying projects to real world problems and encourages senior projects to be sponsored or mentored in collaboration with an industrial partner. This provides projects of value to the sponsor, and it imbues a professional orientation in the student team as they work towards providing the sponsor with deliverables in a manner that simulates the environment in a professional environment. At the same time the project is crafted to meet the educational goals of the capstone design course, which runs the full senior year. Projects involve teams, typically 2-6 students, working approximately one day per week over two academic semesters. Multi-disciplinary projects are encouraged.
Projects might include feasibility studies; design or redesign problems that are longer term and/or lower priority than the sponsor can tackle with their available personnel. This addresses the timing of Senior Design, which in both start time and project duration is not on the compressed scale of industrial activities. The goal would be to benefit the sponsor on a long-term basis rather than link the project to an immediate need. A Stevens faculty advisor will be assigned to guide the students in fulfilling the project requirements. Typically the sponsor will also provide an advisor.
Benefits for Students
It is an opportunity to work at meeting a practical industrial need rather than pursuing a purely academic goal initiated by a faculty advisor
- Industrially defined problems typically have a scope that favors solution by cross-disciplinary teams
- Interacting with representatives of the sponsoring organization helps students develop greater professionalism and perspective.
Benefits for Sponsors
Sponsors can obtain solutions to problems or explore concepts that they cannot themselves address, perhaps because of time or personnel constraints
- Provides an opportunity to see potential hires in action and to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with these students
- Builds sponsor-faculty ties that may provide benefits in research and/or consulting in areas of interest to the sponsor
- Provides visibility for the sponsor on campus
- Affords an opportunity to assist in the education of the next generation of engineers in areas of interest to the sponsor.
Stevens Institute of Technology has two complementary missions: (1) educating students skilled to succeed in varied careers because of their well-rounded knowledge, resourcefulness and integrity; and (2) advancing research excellence in selected areas of engineering, science, computer science, and technology marketing and management.
In pursuing these missions, the faculty, staff and students do not have a primary focus on producing inventions. However, in the course of their educational and research activities, through application of their intellectual curiosity, expertise and entrepreneurial inclinations as well as other intangibles associated with the environment in which they operate, intellectual property may be developed. The Institute wishes to ensure that such property is protected in a manner that preserves its potential commercial value as well as allowing for its timely disclosure to the public. In addition, the Institute believes that rewards arising from such intellectual property should be fairly distributed among the stakeholders.
It is therefore recognized that the sponsors of educational or research activities might expect to share in the fruits of intellectual property that may arise during the period of sponsorship. This applies also to personnel involved and to the Institute as the provider of the enabling infrastructure. In recognition of these issues, Stevens has an intellectual property policy with appropriate standard agreements for its faculty, staff, students and sponsors. These in turn facilitate the crafting of agreements with sponsors, that based on the particular circumstances, fairly meet the needs of all parties involved.
Senior Design Exposition
The general public and Stevens community are invited to a showcase of undergraduate design activities. As part of Innovation Day, this event gives senior undergraduate engineering students an opportunity to present the results of their design projects in poster and/or prototype format to the Stevens community, invited guests, and sponsors.