June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
This research paper is dedicated to questions related to transdisciplinary engineering design education. Contemporary product design has become highly transdisciplinary, as a collaboration of engineering specialists and designers from multiple disciplines is required for the development of integrated products such as automobiles. The new transdisciplinary nature of industrial design practice inevitably affects recent engineering graduates. Today, employers seek well-rounded engineering graduates with well-developed technical and professional skills. This new reality as well as industrial demands and employers’ expectations should be properly reflected and accounted for in engineering design education system, which still often remains strongly mono-disciplinary. To enhance engineering design curriculum and account for industrial demands, one first needs to understand how it affects recent graduates when they enter the workplace and what difficulties they may encounter during the first few years of industrial practice.
This paper presents the results of the two focus group interviews with engineering alumni of the Faculty of Engineering from the University of Alberta who graduated in the last 8 years and are currently employed in various engineering companies. The focus group interviews are a part of the empirical research project entitled Transdisciplinary Design Education for Engineering Undergraduates, which goals are to establish a common understanding of the design processes across multiple engineering disciplines and develop a first-year transdisciplinary engineering design course to facilitate overall design curriculum enhancement. This paper presents and discusses alumni feedback and reflections regarding their early experiences in the workplace when they just entered the industry, the transdisciplinarity in the workplace and in design practice, their employers’ expectations regarding the qualifications of the new graduates, and alumni suggestions for the curriculum enhancement. The results support the findings of other studies regarding graduates’ knowledge base and qualifications that industrial employers look for today as well as what is missed in graduates’ knowledge base, which points out to the gaps in the Faculty curriculum. In addition, alumni provided a fresh perspective on how to approach engineering curriculum enhancement in light of expectations of contemporary employers. These findings are important to consider when developing and/or re-designing engineering design curriculum to account for industrial demands as of today.
Sharunova, A., & Butt, M., & Carey, J. P., & Qureshi, A. J. (2019, June), Alumni Feedback and Reflections on Industrial Demands and Transdisciplinary Engineering Design Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32052
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