R. T. Abler, E. J. Coyle, T. Junha, H. Kim, S. Marshall, M. Pardo, J. Sonnenberg-Klein, and W. S. Percybrooks, “Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Programs at International Institutions: Multidisciplinary Projects with Homes in Any Discipline,” 2017 ASEE International Forum, Jun. 2017.
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Programs at International Institutions: Multidisciplinary Projects with Homes in Any Discipline
A survey of papers in the ASEE Multidisciplinary Engineering Division for the last three years shows three main areas of emphasis: individual courses; profiles of specific projects; and capstone design courses. However, multidisciplinary education across all disciplines requires a larger-scale model that can be incorporated into any discipline, a model that is both cost effective and scalable, and one that fully engages and benefits faculty. A consortium of 19 US and 5 international institutions has come together around such a model, the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program. VIP unites undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context, with students earning academic credits toward their degrees, and faculty and graduate students benefiting from the design/discovery efforts of their multidisciplinary teams. VIP is novel because it unites rich student learning experiences with faculty research, transforming both the context of undergraduate education and the concept of faculty research as a separate endeavor. It provides a cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable model for multidisciplinary project-based learning: students earn academic credit instead of stipends; typical teams consist of fifteen or more students from different disciplines; students participate multiple years as they progress through their curriculum; and faculty benefit from the research and design efforts of their teams, with teams becoming integral parts of their research. While VIP programs share key elements, approaches and implementations vary by institution. This paper presents: an overview of the VIP Consortium; the multidisciplinary nature of the program within and across institutions; and profiles of 4 international institutions and their implementations of the model. The profiled institutions are based in Colombia, Korea, Latvia, and Scotland.