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Background: Engineering capstone courses utilize industry to present the problem and work with student teams in creating a solution, resulting in direct exposure of engineering students to industry members that benefits the student, the industry, and the program. The purpose of this paper is to introduce an approach used to incorporate direct industry involvement in a construction management capstone course to effect similar outcomes.
Method: To create a similar capstone environment to engineering courses, in which industry works directly with student teams, South Dakota State University’s construction management program implemented a capstone industry mentor program. During the capstone course industry members that were not with the capstone facilitating company assisted student teams as they developed their capstone products. The program was evaluated through faculty observation, student written evaluations, and surveys of the industry mentors.
Results: The results of the program were that the student teams engaged in the project earlier in the semester; proposals exhibited higher levels of professionalism and creativity; the program received industry feedback on its student outcomes; and both the students and mentors responded that the experience was a valuable one. Conclusion: Incorporating industry mentors into a construction management capstone course in a way that provides direct interaction between the industry and the students is valuable to the students, the industry, and the program.


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