Expectations prior to 401:
In Spring quarter of Junior year, each capstone student must, in BIOEN 401, author a complete proposal for a year’s work in the faculty advisor’s lab. Their first task in 401 will be to write a complete Statement of Work. The following year, they need to be successful in the proposed work, or it will jeopardize their degree progress. While they will need to write the actual statement of work, there is no curricular requirement regarding independence in the process of identifying the project goals. Indeed, the project goals must meet the ABET design requirements, the needs of the lab that is funding the supplies and training personnel, and the student’s interest. It is up to the Faculty Advisor and the student how they work together to identify a project that meets all these needs. To be successful in writing the proposal AND completing the work, the student will need to accomplish three things prior to the start of 401.
1) Understand the techniques used in the lab and their own abilities enough to be able to plan a realistic project in the lab.
2) Establish a productive working relationship with the faculty advisor and their lab mentor (a graduate student, postdoc, research scientist/engineer, or productive Senior capstone student.)
3) Identify project goals that satisfy the ABET design requirements, the needs of the faculty advisor and the lab mentor, and their own interests. (There is no requirement that they do this independently; only the solution needs to have a degree of independence.)
These outcomes require that the student join the lab (as a summer intern, a volunteer, or for research credit), prior to spring of the Junior year, and that the faculty advisor and the lab mentor meet regularly with the student. During this time, the student should help the mentor with an existing project to learn about the techniques and scientific knowledge in the lab, read and discuss important literature, and meet regularly with faculty advisor and the mentor to discuss potential projects.
Expectations during 401:
During Spring quarter, the student will be working to prepare a detailed Capstone Proposal document, and will repeatedly need the faculty advisor’s approval of proposal sections as they are written to receive credit in the class. The first task to be completed is the approved plan of work—hence the need for that to be approved before starting 401. In the first week of the quarter, be sure to establish 1) specific expectations regarding project scope, 2) required time commitment, and 3) anticipated work schedule (i.e., is summer lab work required?, anticipated background knowledge, etc.), and 4) communication plan (i.e., notebook documentation, lab meetings, preferred communication medium, etc.).
Expectations after 401 and during 402:
By the end of BIOEN 401 in June, and throughout BIOEN 402 (Fall through June senior year), provide the student with resources, technical support, and supervision necessary to facilitate the execution of the project. This includes assuring that the pre-chosen direct mentor within advisor’s lab is working well with the undergraduate. Clarify whom the student should approach if they have questions or are struggling with project progress. Expected time commitment for faculty advisor: 30 min/week for the duration of project, and perhaps more at the beginning and the end of the project.
1) Continue to ensure that the Capstone project addresses the required ABET design requirements for BIOEN 402, and, very importantly, evaluate progress in the light of the originally-set Aims, and revise the aims as necessary to remain realistic.
2) The faculty advisor and the lab mentor must expect and review quarterly Capstone report drafts and provide feedback to student with respect to perception of progress and work quality. Expected time commitment: 1 hour of prep/reading draft, 30 minute feedback meeting – quarterly, for duration of project.
3) Provide feedback and guidance during student-initiated quarterly check-in evaluations (<15 min/quarter). At the beginning of the student’s final quarter (usually Spring quarter), in conjunction with the student and the lab mentor, identify an acceptable endpoint of the Capstone project, if other than what was described in the originally-planned Aims. Alternate endpoints are acceptable, provided they do not delay the student’s graduation date (2nd Friday of June).
Expectations after 402:
1) Grade final Capstone report and determine an overall grade for BIOEN 402 using the departmental Capstone rubric. Expected time commitment: 2 hours.
2) Report on ABET student learning outcomes at the end of BIOEN 402, via departmental survey <15 min.
The student is responsible for:
- Finding an appropriate capstone advisor and together developing a project
- Completing a project proposal in BIOEN 401 (spring quarter, junior year) for Option A
- Obtaining the approval of the capstone advisor(s)
- Setting up a work schedule that fits the lab and allows steady progress
- Showing respect for the lab facilities and group members, by following all lab protocols, and showing up at agreed-upon times
- Communicating clearly and regularly with the advisor(s) and immediate supervisor,
- Asking questions as needed
- Attending BIOEN 402 / 404/5 class meetings
- Reporting unresolvable issues to the academic counselor or capstone instructor
- Completing the agreed-upon project on time, or negotiating project and timeline changes in advance with the Advisor, subject to departmental limits
- Delivering the appropriate reports and presentations on time for faculty review and grading