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A Narrative Inquiry into Pedagogical Approaches that Support the Development of Transversal Skills in Engineering Students

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Leadership Skills Development Across the Undergraduate-to-Workforce Transition

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

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Paper Authors


Michele Norton Texas A&M University

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Recent PhD graduate from Texas A&M University. Currently working across four NSF funded grants related to STEM education and other funded grants related to Engineering Education and developing leaders in Engineering. Research interests include design-based learning, transversal skills, creativity, engineering education, holistic education, and teams.

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Behbood Ben Zoghi Texas A&M University

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Ben Zoghi is the Victor H. Thompson endowed Chair Professor of electronics engineering at Texas A&M University, where he directs the College of Engineering RFID Oil & Gas Consortium and teaches application of emerging technologies. Over the past 10 years, Zoghi has led or been involved in the development of many RFID and sensor implementation and solutions. He is a frequent speaker for association and industry events on RFID, wireless sensor network, technology applications in oil and gas, and petrochemical industries globally.

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This narrative inquiry research paper explores Undergraduate students’ perceptions of utilizing emotional intelligence assessments, reflection and coaching to develop their non-technical leadership skills. Students are enrolled in an undergraduate course, Engineering Leadership, at a Tier 1 University. W The course has an intentional focus on the awareness of both the technical and non-technical skills needed to be competitive in the engineering field. As part of the non-technical development, students engaged in self-assessment, learning modules, coaching, reflection and experiential learning that was designed to build their self-awareness and non-technical competencies. Lessons learned from the self-assessment and course material are immediately applied in their personal and professional landscapes as they focus on growing and developing their emotional intelligence skills. Their journey was captured through reflections, long-term projects, coaching conversations and interviews. In this study, by narratively exploring their experience, we uncovered their perceptions on how these skills are impacting them in both the personal and professional context, insights on ways to enhance their growth, perceived barriers to their growth and the perceived impact of focusing on social and emotional skills. Resonance across their narratives was explored and the common themes and noticeable differences were discussed. With that awareness, we should consider how addressing these skills deeply during their PK-16 years could help shift the long-term landscape of leadership, teams, and engineering. While this study provided initial insights into moving the integration of emotional intelligence and leadership competencies within formal education, more research is needed into new ways to imagine how to effectively teach both technical and non-technical skills needed in the Industry 4.0 era.

Norton, M., & Zoghi, B. B. (2020, June), A Narrative Inquiry into Pedagogical Approaches that Support the Development of Transversal Skills in Engineering Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34023

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