Partner With Capstone 2023-2024

The Department of Industrial Engineering (INEG) at the University of Arkansas is recruiting industry partners to support senior capstone projects for the 2023-2024 academic year. Nine projects are needed. Teams of four or five INEG seniors will be formed and assigned to one of the projects, and one student member of each team will serve as the team leader. The experience will be coordinated by Richard Cassady (cassady@uark.edu), University Professor of Industrial Engineering, and the students will receive technical advice from all INEG faculty.

Formation of Teams

Dr. Cassady will utilize an application process to select the students who will serve as team leaders. An auction-type process will then be used to match each team leader with a project and one team member. Dr. Cassady will assign the remaining students to teams. Each team will make initial contact with their industry partner on August 29.

Intellectual Content of Projects

To provide a more specific description of the content of the capstone experience, 15 specific capstone experience outcomes are used to guide the activities that are part of the experience.

Although every project is different and all projects have evolving requirements:

  1. Each team will describe the mission of their industry partner organization. For large organizations, the team will describe the mission of the segment(s) of the organization that is of specific interest to the project.
  2. Each team will describe the concerns of their industry partner organization that are motivating their project.
  3. Each team will describe in detail any formal and/or ad hoc processes, procedures, policies, etc., that are currently in place and are related to the concerns motivating their project.
  4. Each team will identify and/or define one or more metrics that can be used to determine their success in addressing the concerns motivating their project.
  5. Each team will assess and evaluate how their industry partner organization currently is performing relative to the project-success metrics.
  6. Each team will make recommendations for addressing the concerns motivating their project and use the project-success metrics to assess and evaluate these recommendations.
  7. Each team will provide deliverables to their industry partner organization that facilitate the implementation of their recommendations.

In achieving capstone experience outcomes 1-7:

  1. Each team will use project management software to track and document their activities and hold frequent meetings to receive support and feedback from their industry partner organization and the faculty coordinator.
  2. Each team will make use of the academic literature related to their project.
  3. Each team will make extensive use of computing skills and at least two of descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.
  4. Each team will learn and apply industrial engineering skills beyond their industrial engineering coursework.

During each semester:

  1. Each team will communicate their findings in well-organized and well-written documents.
  2. Each team will communicate their findings in well-organized, well-rehearsed, and effective oral presentations.

Throughout the experience:

  1. Each student will prioritize team goals, be reliable, have a positive attitude, demonstrate respect to teammates, be proactive about team activities, approach teamwork collaboratively, behave professionally, and think strategically.
  2. Each student will be responsible, respectful, fair, and honest.

Expectations of Industry Partners

A successful capstone project requires extensive and timely support from the industry partner. The industry partner is expected to provide the team with a point of contact (and a backup point of contact) who can meet with the team (in-person or remotely) at least every other week to help the team identify and interview stakeholders, obtain data, assess the validity of their industrial engineering analysis, review course milestones and project deliverables, etc. The industry partner is also expected to cover any travel expenses incurred by the team during the project and to participate in the team’s final presentation near the end of the project.

Industry partners are expected to provide project ideas that are consistent with the department’s expectations regarding technical content. Historically, meeting teams’ data needs has been the most difficult expectation for industry partners to meet. Industry partners should consider the availability of real and relevant data when submitting project ideas. While the department is not opposed to teams collecting data as part of their project activities, the preference is that the majority of project activities related to data be focused on analysis rather than collection. Specifically, the preference is that projects will require teams to deal with large, messy, data sets.

Limited scope also has been a challenge associated with some past projects. For example, developing a forecasting tool or developing a software tool to automate a manual process are worthy project activities. However, neither is enough on its own to meet the department’s expectations for a capstone project. The department wants students to take the next step to understand how the predictive model or the software tool impacts strategic or tactical decision-making.

Dissemination

Once a potential industry partner expresses interest, issues related to non-disclosure and intellectual property will be addressed via a separate email communication. When necessary, the university and the industry partner will enter into an agreement that covers non-disclosure and intellectual property. The agreement covers all university faculty and staff. Student teams will sign a read-and-acknowledge form related to this agreement.

The audience for almost all capstone experience reports and presentations is limited to the INEG faculty, the INEG staff, the students in the capstone experience, and the industry partner associated with the project being discussed. However, there will be a few public activities associated with the capstone experience. First, teams will make a final, fall semester presentation that will be open to the entire INEG student body. The industry partner has the responsibility of approving any information that their student team will disseminate in this presentation.

Second, the experience will conclude with the Industrial Engineering Capstone Symposium on May 1, 2024. At the symposium, which will be open to the public, teams will participate in an interactive poster session and deliver detailed technical presentations about their projects. The industry partner has the responsibility of approving any information that their student team will disseminate at the symposium.

Third, at least one team will be selected to compete for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Senior Capstone Design Award. To enter this competition, each selected team will submit a written executive summary, a poster, and a set of presentation slides regarding their project. These materials will be reviewed by a panel of judges from around the United States. If a team is selected by IISE as a semi-finalist, then they will participate in a poster session at the 2024 IISE Annual Conference. If a team is selected by IISE as a finalist, then they also will deliver their presentation at the conference. The poster session and the presentation session will be open to all conference attendees. Again, the industry partner has the responsibility of approving any information that their student team may disseminate via the IISE competition. The industry partner is not responsible for any costs associated with the IISE competition.

Milestones (Tentative)

The following list summarizes the major milestones associated with the experience. Additional details will be provided to industry partners throughout the experience.

NLT August 29 Teams contact industry partner for the first time
September 2-4  Labor Day break
October 14-17  Fall break
NLT November 3 Industry partner submits team assessment 1
NLT December 1   Industry partner submits team assessment 2
NLT December 1 Industry partner approves fall, public presentation content
December 4-7  Teams make fall, public presentations
December 8 - January 15 Semester break
NLT February 23 Industry partner submits team assessment 3
NLT March 15 Industry partner submits team assessment 4
NLT March 15  Industry partner approves team’s symposium website material
NLT March 15  Industry partner agrees to list of final project deliverables
March 16-24 Spring break
NLT April 26 Industry partner submits ABET assessment
NLT April 26 Industry partner approves public symposium content
NLT April 26 Industry partner approves final project deliverables
May 1 8th Annual IE Capstone Symposium


Submission of Project Ideas

If you are interested in being one of our industry partners, please contact Richard Cassady at cassady@uark.edu. Dr. Cassady is willing to meet with you (in-person or remotely) to discuss the capstone experience in more detail. Our goal is to have our nine industry partners identified by June 9, 2023.