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Coaches and Mentors

"In a lecture-oriented course, we can think that we do a good job in educating the students, but the traditional assessment tools do not always represent the actual engineering aptitude the students have. By being involved in capstone projects, we have a glimpse of their actual performance in a context as close to real world as possible."

- Leo Rusli, ME Faculty, John Deere PTO Project 2009

Advisor Role

In order to ensure the success of the Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Projects and build partnerships between Ohio State students and industry, the guidance of an experienced advisor is essential. These advisors are normally faculty members with experience working with student teams and industry projects and who have some degree of technical familiarity with the project scope. The most difficult aspect of being a faculty advisor can be finding the right balance of guidance to provide enough direction without taking away opportunities for creativity. It is important not to become the lead designer but to encourage students to seek their own sources of knowledge and create their own solutions. Some of the primary tasks of the advisor are to

  • Coach the team in a manner that creates a collaborative atmosphere
  • Facilitate the student-customer interface and guide the team in communication
  • Foster the implications of engineering decisions based on business and technical factors
  • Stimulate team members to be self initiating and assist students in finding the necessary technical resources to understand and solve the design problem
  • Guide the team to follow the design process with a strong focus on defining the problem and meeting established benchmarks for process and time


Time Commitment

In order to help the team achieve success, an advisor typically invests 4-6 hours per week with the project team.  Some of the tasks which the  faculty advisor can be expected to complete during this time are listed in more detail below:

  • Assist in defining a realistic project scope
  • Promote consistent communication guidelines
  • Review and approve team progress and expenses
  • Hold the student team accountable for their responsibilities
  • Attend and advise students in weekly, status-review meetings
  • Establish logistics for team visits, meetings, and presentations
  • Administer formative assessments and use them to improve student contribution
  • Help the team create a charter and help them assign roles (especially a team leader)

Further Information

For more information on getting involved as a faculty advisor, please contact the program directors whose information can be found in the Capstone Contacts tab.