Capstone design as a culminating experience has existed for many years and is required by ABET. In many programs, students perform work that is experiential and team-based in nature, as opposed to problem sets and lab reports associated with other classes. One goal of capstone is to prepare engineering students for the workplace. An element that was lacking in our program was the mentorship experience that many new graduates will encounter when employed. As a result, two years ago the Electrical Engineering program at Texas State University implemented a mentorship model in which second semester capstone students mentored first semester capstone students. In this model, second semester teams were assigned to mentor specific first semester teams, and second semester student Project Managers were assigned to mentor specific first semester Project Managers. It was felt that first semester students might gain valuable insight and direction since they were speaking with their peers who have a student perspective and who are speaking the same language. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the mentorship model was working and as a result the other two engineering disciplines, Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering, also adopted the mentorship model. Measurements of mentorship effectiveness were not taken in the Electrical Engineering program but we now wish to measure the effectiveness via pre- and post-mentoring surveys to be administered to Electrical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering capstone courses at semester’s end. We intend to create these surveys to be a combination of questions scored with a Likert scale and limited free response fields to answer questions such as, “How available was your mentor? Did the mentorship have value to you? How effective was the mentoring you received overall, and in specific areas such as documentation, project planning, and team relationships?” Additionally, each semester we had previously sought student nominations to give an Outstanding Mentorship Award at our twice-annual Senior Design Day. We plan to incorporate such questions into the survey and collect specific examples of mentorship to supplement our general questions in this ongoing research.
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