Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Mark Hector

Committee Members

Gary Klukken, Roger Parsons, Ronald Hopson


The purpose of this study is to describe the experiences of engineering upperclassmen in an engineering design team facilitator training program. Sixteen male and five female engineering students from a large southern university participated in 25 to 45 minute phenomenological interviews in which they were asked to talk about their experiences in a facilitator training program. The students ranged in age from 19 to 22. Each student was asked to respond to the following statement, “What has been your experience of participating in the facilitator training program?” Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The transcripts were analyzed individually and in a group format using an existential/phenomenological method. Data analysis revealed a thematic structure comprised of five themes: Teams, Facilitation, Learning, Evaluations, and Expectations. The theme of Teams was comprised of five sub-themes: Team Composition, Team Development, Team Differences, Feelings about the Team, and Team Reaction to the Facilitator. The theme of Facilitation was comprised of four sub-themes: Personal Qualities, Defining the Facilitator Role, Understanding the Team, and Intervening. The theme of Learning was comprised of four sub-themes: What I Learned, How I Learned It, Application of the Learning Outside of Class, and Learning by the Freshman Team. The theme of Evaluations was comprised of four sub-themes: Evaluations of the Class, Evaluations of the Facilitation, Evaluations of the Team’s Functioning, and Evaluations by the Freshman Team. The theme of Expectations was comprised of the following four sub-themes: Facilitator Training v Expectations About the Freshman Team, Expectations About the Class, Expectations About Engineering Students in General, and Expectations From the Freshman Team. Relationships between the themes are explored. Research on facilitation, engineering education, and training program development is also discussed. There is also a discussion of the implications of these findings for training engineering design team facilitators, developing interdisciplinary programs, and conducting phenomenological research.

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