Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering



Piercing the Fourth Wall with Capstone Design From Authentic Audiences to Evolutionary Sentience


Dr. Charles Pezeshki


Washington State University


Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 1:00:00 PM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Craig Forest


In 1994, Dr. Charles Pezeshki, known as Dr. Chuck to his students, jumped up on a table in a bar and swore that his students should do industrially based projects as part of their final experience as an undergraduate. From that half-sentient moment grew a large capstone design program at Washington State University, known as the Industrial Design Clinic. Motivated originally by a desire to maintain face and reputation with his industrial partners by ensuring students completed the sponsored projects, the program evolved. But what was truly unusual was that the students actually completed their projects some 96% of them hit the specification agreed between sponsor and student group. Pondering that one statistic has led to insights on why with answers resting with areas as diverse as collective intelligence and Conway's Law, human development theory and Spiral Dynamics, empathy research, social construction of knowledge and the evolution of sentience. Dr. Chuck will thread all of these topics together in his own Theory of Everything that shows how to structure classrooms and learning for maximum student performance regardless of the subject matter with appropriate, authentic audiences.


Dr. Chuck Pezeshki is a professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Industrial Design Clinic in the School of MME at Washington State University. Graduating from Duke University with his Ph.D. in 1987 in mechanical engineering, with his dissertation in the fundamentals of chaos theory and fractal geometry, he has done research on subjects ranging from high-angle of attack aerodynamics to forest fire propagation. He is writing a book on how social/relational construction creates Design Thinking, as well as the knowledge that people can use and understand. He blogs on both the fundamentals of human physics and current events at: http://empathy.guru.