Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Industry Based Senior Projects and the Four Pillars of Manufacturing


School of Engineering


Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Date Range





Industry Based Senior Projects and the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Engineering Abstract The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Engineering model focuses on the ties between academic programs and engineering practice. The pillars of the model focus on fundamental topic areas expected in any manufacturing program graduate. The foundation and lentil of the model address basic knowledge and competencies. The model is also recommended for other programs that are educating graduates who will serve industry. By addressing some or all of the Four Pillars model, programs will better prepare their students for professional practice. The engineering program at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has an interdisciplinary senior project program combining students in Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, and Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering. Companies submit project applications, normally involving product design, production equipment, and/or test equipment. The applications are vetted by faculty whom approve applications and assign project teams. Once approved, the teams do the design, build, and test work with funding from the sponsor. Faculty manage the academic aspects of the projects, while the sponsors approve technical work. Projects must satisfy faculty and sponsor for successful completion. As a result a majority of project outcomes are put into use in production, used in testing, or added to a companys product lineup. A number of the projects have resulted in patents. Industry focused projects have made graduates highly prized by employers, and the program well supported by industry. The paper explores the relationship between the four pillars model and industry focused senior project. This will includes a sample project description and analysis.

Conference Name

American Society for Engineering Edcuation

Conference Location

Indianapolis, IN

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