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Assessment of Soft-Skills-Program Learning Outcomes Using Engineering Courses

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Student Learning and Assessment I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.259.1 - 22.259.14



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Paper Authors


Thomas J. Vasko Central Connecticut State University

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Thomas J. Vasko, Assistant Professor, joined the Department of Engineering at Central Connecticut State University in the fall 2008 semester after 31 years with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) where he was a Pratt & Whitney Fellow in Computational Structural Mechanics. While at UTC, Dr. Vasko held adjunct-instructor positions at the University of Hartford and RPI Groton. He holds a Ph.D. in M.E. from the University of Connecticut, an M.S.M.E. from RPI, and a B.S.M.E. from Lehigh University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Connecticut and he is on the board of directors of the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers. He also holds memberships in ASME and AIAA.

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Nidal Al-Masoud Central Connecticut State University

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Dr. Al-Masoud, Associate Professor, earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York in 2002. Dr. Al-Masoud has taught at both graduate and undergraduate level courses at University at Buffalo, he joined Central Connecticut State University as an Assistant Professor in 2003. At CCSU, he teaches courses at all levels in the three major areas in mechanical engineering, namely: mechanics, Thermo-fluid, and Control Systems and Dynamics. Dr. Al-Masoud research interests are in the fields of Control Systems and Dynamics, HVAC systems, and Engineering Education. He has numerous journal and conference proceeding publications in the aforementioned area, and was the winner of the ASEE Mechanics Division Best paper Award in 2006. He has an extensive experience in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC) design. Dr. Al-Masoud is very active in many Professional Societies. He serves on the Board of Directors of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Hartford Section; he is also the Faculty advisor of CCSU-ASME Student section. He is a member of the American Institute of Astronauts and Astronautics (AIAA), IEEE, ASEE.

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Peter F. Baumann Central Connecticut State University

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Peter F. Baumann is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Department at Central Connecticut State University. Dr. Baumann received a B.S. in Metallurgy at Penn State, earned an M.S. from MIT Mechanical Engineering, and completed a Ph.D. in Materials Science at Polytechnic University. His industrial experience spans 20 years.

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Assessment of Soft-Skills-Program Learning Outcomes Using Engineering CoursesABET’s Criterion requires engineering students to possess several technical “hard-skills”, andnon-technical “soft-skills”, upon their graduation, where the former is usually easier to assessand evaluate than the later. In this paper, an assessment plan using engineering courses ispresented. The focus of this paper is on the assessment of soft skills such as communication;team work, professional and ethical obligations, global impact of engineering practice, and thedevelopment of engagement in life-long learning competencies. The recently developed andadopted course “Engineering Technical Writing and Presentation,” in which students learn todevelop an effective writing process for writing engineering documents in future courses andindustry, is used in the assessment of competencies concerning effective oral and writtencommunication skills. Another new course, “Engineering and Workforce Diversity,” whichanalyzes workforce diversity and legal, ethical, and equity needs in engineering, is used in theassessment of professional and ethical obligations and the global impact of engineering practice.Students in the senior capstone project, which is typically a comprehensive assessment tool, mustwrite and present a global impact statement that outlines and highlights the product impact onhumankind, environment, and economy. Finally, the paper presents results from the fluidmechanics course used to assess the life-long learning competency through a set of semester-long assignments that include topics like nano-fluid mechanics; severity of the poor conditions ofolder dams in the US; new methods and technologies of pressure measurement; survey of fluidvelocity measurements techniques; fluid mechanics of hurricanes; and liquid jet cutting, tomention a few. Rubrics, detailed assessment plan, analysis, and evaluation of the results arepresented in the paper.

Vasko, T. J., & Al-Masoud, N., & Baumann, P. F. (2011, June), Assessment of Soft-Skills-Program Learning Outcomes Using Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17540

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