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A Strategy for Integrating Professional Skills Development into a Manufacturing Engineering Curriculum

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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

Manufacturing Education Curriculum

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Derek M. Yip-Hoi Western Washington University

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Dr. Yip-Hoi received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1997. Following his Ph.D. he worked for several years with the NSF Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Machining Systems also at the University of Michigan. His work involved supervision of sponsored research projects that focused on developing software applications to assist manufacturers design and plan operations on manufacturing systems that could be rapidly reconfigured to meet changes to a product’s design or production volume. Sponsors of this work included Ford, GM and Chrysler. In 2003 he joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia as junior chair of an NSERC sponsored research program in Virtual Machining. After 3 ½ years at UBC, he moved to the Department of Engineering Technology at Western Washington University to focus on teaching. His teaching and scholarship interests lie in the areas of design, CAD/CAM, CAPP and CNC machining. Dr. Yip-Hoi is currently director of Western's Manufacturing Engineering Program.

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David Gill P.E. Western Washington University

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Dr. David Gill is an Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Western Washington University where he specializes in CAD/CAM and CNC. Current research interests include machining of aramid honeycomb and evaluation methods for 3D printing. Prior to coming to Western, Dr. Gill was Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. At Sandia, Dr. Gill spent 7 years as a research engineer in high precision meso-scale manufacturing processes and also in Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS), a fully functional metal additive process. Other work at Sandia included 5 years as Thermal Energy Storage Technical Leader in the Solar Thermal Technologies organization. Dr. Gill earned his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University studying high precision optical replication methodologies, his Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University developing computer aided fixture planning methods, and a BSME from Texas Tech University.

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Workplace skills development are an important though often an indirect outcome of Engineering curriculums. These skills are critical to successful careers in job environments where graduates must increasingly navigate the challenges of adaptation to new technologies and the ability to work within teams containing a broad diversity of technical and personal backgrounds and goals. These skills include what is often referred to as the “Professional” or “soft skills” such as the ability to communicate effectively, an appreciation of an engineer’s “duty of care” to society and a disposition towards self-learning. However, they also include many that are more technical in nature including the ability to visualize in 3D, troubleshooting, quantifying and mitigating risk and connecting cause and effect. These are typically lumped together as skills that support problem solving abilities. This paper presents a strategy being developed for emphasizing skills development within a Manufacturing Engineering curriculum. It recognizes that some of these lumped skills of a more technical nature can get overlooked or do not receive explicit recognition when they are being practiced. This can contribute to a lack of appreciation for these by students, who overwhelmed by the details of problem solving or applying a technology are unaware that this skill is being practiced. 29 skills have been identified, vetted by the program’s Industrial Advisory Committee and grouped into areas of Problem Solving, Communication and Collaboration, Manage and Act Professionally and Practice Lifelong Learning. Students are introduced to this skill set through a mapping between them and course outcomes that is discussed at the beginning of a course of study. A survey is then used at the end of the course to gage how students felt the targeted skills were enhanced through course activities. This helps to engage students as partners in development of these skills and as this strategy is advanced, it provides valuable feedback to the program as to whether the skill set being used is the most appropriate. The impact on faculty as they shape course experiences to integrate in awareness of the use of these skills will also be discussed.

Yip-Hoi, D. M., & Gill, D. (2020, June), A Strategy for Integrating Professional Skills Development into a Manufacturing Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34055

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