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Assessing The Integration Of Communication Into Engineering Curricula

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.279.1 - 12.279.12



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Paper Authors


Warren Hull Louisiana State University

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Warren Hull is the Engineering Communications Coordinator at Louisiana State University. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University and an M.S. in Environmental Health from Harvard University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer with nearly 40 years engineering experience. Prior to joining LSU he was an engineering consultant. He is also a retired U.S. Air Force officer.

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Warren Waggenspack Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Engineering Undergraduates and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the faculty in 1988. He currently serves as PI on an NSF STEP grant focused on improving the retention and graduation rates in engineering.

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David Bowles Louisiana State University

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David Bowles is a Technical Communication Instructor in the Engineering Communication Studio at Louisiana State University. He earned a baccalaureate degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a former assistant editor of Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts, and his writing has appeared in a variety of magazines, including River Oak Review, Rainbow Curve, and Red Rock Review.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessing the Integration of Communication into Engineering Curricula Introduction In a previous paper, we explored the requirements for engineers to be effective communicators and how such requirements could be integrated into engineering curricula.1 Prominent among the cited requirements was the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) outcomes-based accreditation initiative Engineering Criteria 20002 Criterion 3 under “Program Outcomes and Assessment” which emphasized the necessity for engineering graduates to demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively. We also pointed out other sources specifically citing the importance of effective communication in the current and evolving engineering environment. Our 2006 paper further explored a concept for integrating communication requirements into the engineering curricula at Louisiana State University (LSU). Although the approach described had some apparently unique aspects, another paper presented at this same conference revealed an interesting trend in the teaching of communication-related topics in engineering courses3. The authors of this paper reported data from surveys, conducted in 1994 and 2005, that queried ABET-accredited engineering programs regarding the topics taught in their engineering capstone design courses. This paper revealed a significant rise in the teaching of communications-related topics between 1994 and 2005. Integration of communication into the engineering curricula at our university was previously described in our 2006 paper. This current paper will review these initiatives that are underway and report on their current status. More importantly for this paper, we will discuss various tools that have been developed to assess the effectiveness of the communication integration initiative. Preliminary data from these assessment tools will also be reported. Current Status of Communication Initiatives in Engineering Several initiatives have been made possible through cooperative efforts with a campus-wide Communication across the Curriculum (CxC) program. The CxC program was established in 2003 through the generosity of a now-deceased engineering alumnus who wished to establish a university-wide program that would focus on improving students’ communication skills. Because he was an engineer, his primary interest was to accomplish this task in engineering classes first, but from the beginning, he envisioned this program as a means of addressing student needs across all curricula. The initiatives described below are among the key elements of the CxC program that have been successfully implemented in the College of Engineering (COE). Summer Faculty Institutes. The first step in integrating specific communication skills into the COE was to identify a core faculty group representing each of the departments. This core group of eleven faculty members prepared for a leadership role in the communication project by attending a CxC-sponsored Faculty Institute during the summer of 2005. The engineering team received a comprehensive orientation to the campus-wide CxC program and explored how their participation could lead to the incorporation of communication goals in the COE curriculum. They worked on their individual syllabi, as well as college-wide plans for a COE

Hull, W., & Waggenspack, W., & Bowles, D. (2007, June), Assessing The Integration Of Communication Into Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1940

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