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Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Programs: Multidisciplinary Projects with Homes in Any Discipline

B. Aazhang
R. T. Abler
J. Allebach
L. Bost
J. Cavallaro
E. Chong
E. J. Coyle
J. Cullers
S. Dennis
Y. Dong
P. Enjeti
A. Filippas
J. Froyd
D. Garmire
J. George
B. Gilchrist
G. Hohner
W. Hughes
A. Johnson
C. Kim
H. Kim
R. Klenke
M. Lagoudas
D. Llewellyn
Y.-H. Lu
K. Lybarger
S. Marshall
S. Muralidharan
A. Ohta
F. Ortega
E. Riskin
D. Rizzo
C. Ryder
W. Shiroma
T. Siller
J. Sonnenberg-Klein
S. Sadjadi
S. Strachan
M. Taheri
G. Woods
C. Zoltowski
B. Fabien
P. Johnson
R. Collins
P. Murray
A survey of papers in the ASEE Multidisciplinary Engineering Division over the last three years shows three main areas of emphasis: individual courses; profiles of specific projects; and capstone design courses. However, propagating multidisciplinary education across the vast majority of disciplines offered at educational institutions with varying missions requires models that are independent of the disciplines, programs, and institutions in which they were originally conceived. Further, models that can propagate must be cost effective, scalable, and engage and benefit participating faculty. Since 2015, a consortium of twenty-four institutions has come together around one such 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 integrates rich student learning experiences with faculty research, transforming both contexts for undergraduate learning and concepts of faculty research as isolated from undergraduate teaching. It provides a rich, cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable model for multidisciplinary project-based learning. (1) It is rich because students participate multiple years as they progress through their curriculum; (2) It is cost-effective since students earn academic credit instead of stipends; (3) It is scalable because faculty can work with teams of students instead of individual undergraduate research fellows, and typical teams consist of fifteen or more students from different disciplines; (4) It is sustainable because 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 shows how the VIP model works across sixteen different institutions with different missions, sizes, and student profiles. The sixteen institutions represent new and long-established VIP programs, varying levels of research activity, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and two international universities . These sixteen profiles illustrate adaptability of the VIP model across different academic settings.
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