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Departmental To Inter Collegiate Engineering Poetry Contests

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Writing and Communication I

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.398.1 - 10.398.9

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

Session 1661

Departmental to inter-collegiate engineering poetry contests

Ann D. Christy and Julie A. Graf The Ohio State University


Engineering poetry contests and assignments have been pioneered by individuals at institutions such as Michigan State University, Drexel University, and University of Michigan. An engineering poetry contest was inaugurated at the Ohio State University (OSU) in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering during spring 2004 and expanded to the entire College of Engineering in 2005. The objectives were to enhance students’ writing skills, to encourage their creativity, and to expand their appreciation for the interconnectedness of all aspects of their college education, especially the arts and humanities. The contest was open to departmental undergraduates, alumni, faculty, staff, and graduate students. Judges were recruited from OSU’s Department of English based on their poetry credentials and student recommendations. All three, including OSU’s Poet Laureate, were very enthusiastic and supportive of the project. Four categories were awarded: students vs. non-students and technical subjects vs. non-technical. Prizes included rosette ribbons and gift certificates. Entries were read aloud at an evening poetry reading gathering in the student lounge which included live music, food, and a fine art gallery provided by students, staff, and faculty. Evaluation methods included participant interviews and a web-based survey of departmental undergraduates, alumni, faculty, staff, and graduate students that explored their attitudes towards poetry, engineering creativity, and the humanities.


Poetry is a compressed form of creative writing which incorporates concrete language, complex imagery, and rich sensory details. Poetry writing can benefit engineering students by enhancing their written communication skills, and giving them the opportunity to explore another side of their creativity. The Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) affirmed the value of several traits that can be enhanced by participation in poetry writing contests by including in their EC 2000 criterion 3 the following:1 (g) an ability to communicate effectively (h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Graf, J., & Christy, A. (2005, June), Departmental To Inter Collegiate Engineering Poetry Contests Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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