June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.142.1 - 23.142.21
Addressing Communication Issues through Faculty/Student ParticipationAbstractMany changes in curriculum began with a study of current activities, needs, and resources andthe dictates of the current ABET criteria over 10 years ago. The need to assess currentengineering practices became clearly evident. Studies focusing on communication needs,suddenly took on a much greater importance when placed in juxtaposition with the ABETrequirements. The issue of needed communication skill in engineering was addressed in asurvey that looked at the perceptions of faculty and students to needed communication skillacquisition in mechanical engineering. Basic information regarding the perceived inadequaciesof students’ communication skills from both the students and the faculty perspectives wascollected. These results were tabulated and the concerns addressed. The survey was alsoextended to industry representatives to enlist their help in securing information on how theyperceive the communication skills of graduates of engineering programs. By viewing the datagleaned from students, faculty, and employers; the comments made helped to set new and variedgoals for students and faculty in the college of engineering.Departments of engineering spent a great deal of time preparing for the new accreditationstandards under EC 2000. The flexibility inherent in the way in which engineering departmentsaddress the needs of engineers can be both exciting and uncomfortable. Some departments sawthe above flexibility as too vague and therefore suspect. The area of communication may be oneof the problem areas because a typical response from engineering faculty may still be, “I am notan English teacher!” The lack of specific requirements may make faculty feel that they will beforced into teaching topics or skills that may not be comfortable for them. This paper focuses onan ongoing study of attitudes and concerns toward communication begun in the Department ofMechanical Engineering at XXX. Students and faculty are asked to comment on areas of concernin communication, areas that have received little or no attention or areas that seem to bepurposely avoided. The first stage of this study is completed. A report on the survey’s findingsis introduced along with how those findings will be used to adapt the curriculum. Specificactivities will be explained in connection with skill acquisition. A look at the elements that willbe refined for continued polling will also be included. It is hoped that by addressing the generalproblems experienced by both writers and speakers in the engineering curriculum, a foundationwill be formed upon which a system for improved communication skill in engineering can bebuilt.
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