The mission of the Student Design and Experiential
Learning Center (SDELC) is to provide significant experiential learning
activities for our students.
Participating in or leading one of the 20 engineering design teams
provides hands on, outside the classroom learning. There exists great diversity in the goals of
each team but the outcomes for an individual student are nearly identical. The organizational skills, leadership
training, mentoring, and the experience of managing a small business unit are the
most significant and long lasting contribution that the SDELC makes to a student’s
development. This experiential learning activity, combined with academic
excellence in the class room, makes these students first-rate engineers and
managers, ready to “hit the ground running” in their chosen professions. Industrial partners who support the Design
Center have recognized the added value these students bring to the job at the start
of their careers resulting from their participation in meaningful experiential
learning gained from engagement with a team.
Whether the goal is to launch a two-stage rocket
capable of reaching an altitude of 70,000 ft., an airplane that carries three
times its weight and air drops an aid package on target, a world class formula
car, a next generation robot for Mars, or any of the other team projects, in
the struggle to complete the projects and compete on an international scale –
The SDELC continues to exceed its stated goals. Managing and the needs of the 20 design teams
and the 1,300+ students on those teams is a significant task. The outcomes in terms of team performance are
excellent, the less obvious results in terms of individual student development are
more difficult to measure, but successful beyond expectation.