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Engineering Technology Workplace Competencies Provide Framework for Evaluation of Student Internships and Assessment of ETAC of ABET Program Outcomes

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

ETAC, ABET, & STEM Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.510.1 - 24.510.11



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Paper Authors


Carmine C. Balascio University of Delaware

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Carmine C. Balascio, Ph.D., P.E., is an Associate Professor in the departments of Plant and Soil Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware. He earned bachelor’s degrees in agricultural engineering technology and mathematics from UD. He earned an M.S. in agricultural engineering and a Ph.D. double-major in agricultural engineering and engineering mechanics from Iowa State
University. He has taught engineering and engineering technology courses in surveying, soil mechanics, and stormwater management for over 28 years and has research interests in urban hydrology, stormwater management, and enhancement of student learning. He is in his tenth year of service on Delaware’s Engineering Licensing Board, the DAPE Council, and has been active on several NCEES committees.

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Engineering Technology Workplace Competencies Provide Framework for Evaluation of Student Internships and Assessment of ETAC of ABET Program OutcomesThe Department of ____________ Engineering at the ________ of ________ has used acompetency-based assessment approach as one means of demonstrating program outcomes forEngineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) of ABET accreditation of its 4-yrEngineering Technology (ET) program. Fourteen ET workplace competencies were derivedfrom Iowa State University (ISU) workplace competencies used for EAC of ABET accreditationof ISU engineering programs. Each workplace competency was designed to be “clear, conciseand independent of all others.” Each competency is demonstrated by a “set of observable andmeasurable key actions.” The ET workplace competencies were validated by mapping them tothe ETAC of ABET a-k program outcomes and showing that mastery of the workplacecompetencies was necessary and sufficient to address achievement of the program outcomes.Undoubtedly, the best venue for demonstrating mastery of work place competencies is in thework place. The _________ of ________ has a general education requirement for all students toengage in a 3-credit “Discovery Learning Experience” that involves substantial outside of thetraditional classroom learning. Such experiences typically include internships, service-learning,independent study, undergraduate research, and study abroad. ET students at __ are encouragedto satisfy the requirement with a “Technical Practicum in Industry” – an internship. Students arerequired to keep a reflective journal documenting their work activities and time on the job, whichmust reach 120 hours for a 3-credit course. The students also submit a final report summarizingtheir experience.The ET workplace competencies provide an excellent framework around which the students canorganize their journals and final reports. Artifacts consisting of work products generated by thestudents can be provided to demonstrate mastery of specific workplace competencies. Studentsare encouraged to document significant workplace experiences using the behavior interviewingresponse technique known as “STAR” – Situation/Task, Action, Result. At the conclusion of theinternship, the students’ supervisors are requested to complete a brief evaluation of their adviseesthat is based on achievement of the workplace competencies. This process yields excellent directassessment data that can be used for ETAC of ABET accreditation purposes and a solid basis forassigning a grade to a student’s internship efforts.

Balascio, C. C. (2014, June), Engineering Technology Workplace Competencies Provide Framework for Evaluation of Student Internships and Assessment of ETAC of ABET Program Outcomes Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20401

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