Supporting Community College Faculty Across the Disciplines > Fall 2012 Workshop > Participants > Enhancing Your Program Through Projects & Competitions

Enhancing Your Program Through Projects & Competitions

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Paul Gordy, Engineering Program Head, Tidewater Community College

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ASEE Model Design (robotics) Competition

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) provides an outstanding design/build experience for freshman and sophomore engineering students through the Model Design Competition. My engineering students at Tidewater Community College (TCC) have competed in this event since it began in 1999 and it has had a tremendous impact on our program. The competition is held each June during ASEE's Annual Conference.

The Model Design Competition is sponsored through the Two-Year College Division of ASEE, so most of the teams are from community colleges, although some teams of freshmen & sophomores from universities participate as well. The competition centers around teams of students designing an autonomous (no remote control) robot that can navigate a track and perform various tasks. The robot designs vary widely, so the students are often surprised by some of the approaches taken by the other teams. The excitement level at the competition is very high in this challenging event as the students have worked for months to build their robots and they are often scrambling to get their robots to perform correctly or to improve their robots' performance.

ASEE provided moderate support for this event initially by providing space for the robot track in the Exhibition Hall during the conference and giving students passes to enter the Exhibition Hall without registering for the conference. The number of teams involved has grown from 3 in 1999 to 21 in 2012. ASEE's support has also grown over the years and now includes:

The ASEE Model Design Competition has had a remarkable impact on the Engineering program at TCC. Some of the benefits include:

Information on the ASEE Model Design Competition is available at:

Each college is different, but perhaps it is important for each college or program to find some event, competition, etc., where students are engaged and where involvement will enhance their education beyond academics. Finding a supportive organization can provide the right forum and help to alleviate some of the expenses.

How to find discipline-based projects that are right for you

Many community colleges (and universities) are involved in discipline-based projects. Many of the projects are impressive, but faculty may feel that the projects just aren't a good fit at their community college. For example:

Perhaps a valuable activity would be to assist faculty by:

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