Since 2002, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has seen its Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) program grow from a small pilot project into a college-wide initiative involving four departments and almost 400 students annually. While subtle adjustments have been made each year, a major redesign effort was undertaken prior to the 2006 academic year to improve program alignment with departmental objectives, to improve delivery efficiency and effectiveness, and to improve student and faculty satisfaction. Coordination of related projects and sharing of information between approximately 60 design teams in a given year, and preserving continuity of information from one year to the next has proven to be a challenging hurdle. This paper addresses the project definition process, which was overhauled to focus on the definition of related projects within a set of disciplinary “tracks,” consistent with academic programs and faculty interests. Emphasis was placed on the development of reusable and scalable platforms to lay the foundation for future project extensions, and to encourage cross-project and cross-department collaboration. The process by which project tracks, project families and individual projects were identified, screened, modified and ultimately selected will be discussed. The integral relationship between the Design Project Management course, which trains the future project managers and technical leaders of the multidisciplinary project teams, and the project definition process will be illustrated. The development of the Aerospace Systems and Technology Track, with particular emphasis on the Microsystems Engineering (KGCOE) and Technology for the Future Exploration of Outer Space Regions (METEOR) family of projects will be used as a case example to illustrate the process.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Presented at the 2007 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (ASEE), Honolulu, Hawaii, June 24-27, 2007.

Copyright © 2007, American Society for Engineering Education

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Microelectronic Engineering (KGCOE)


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