June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.773.1 - 26.773.8
Filling in the Gaps: An Interdisciplinary Approach for Teaching Professional Competencies to Engineers AbstractEmployer surveys continue to indicate that graduating engineers lack critical businesscompetencies and so-called “soft skills” to become high performers in their organizations. Evenmore concerning are reports that employers feel this competency gap is getting larger not smaller.Competencies commonly cited include communication skills (e.g., presentation, writing,interpersonal), creativity, various business topics (e.g., finance, negotiation, project management),and a number of others. Even in situations where engineers seek advanced engineering degrees,many of these required competencies go unaddressed. Often times, advanced engineering degreeshelp engineers to become technically more proficient, but neglect to address the professionalcompetencies that are so critical to engineers’ performance and career success.This paper presents an interdisciplinary approach to teaching basic professional competencies toengineering professionals. The approach leverages a multitude of teaching media including on-line lectures, case studies, videos, interviews, readings, and hands-on projects. The approachdescribed is interdisciplinary, both in terms of the instructors used as well as the heterogeneouscomposition of students. Targeted competencies and learning outcomes are outlined in detail,within a framework that allows for prioritizing based on needs analyses.This paper draws heavily upon industry surveys, depth interviews of hiring managers,competency modeling, NSF research, and several studies published by the ASEE. Theinstructional approach described is currently being implemented at a major research university inthe Midwest, as part of the university’s educational innovation initiative and life-long learningphilosophies. Pedagogy and assessment techniques are presented in detail.
Nicometo, C. G., & Russell, J. S. (2015, June), Filling in the Gaps: An Interdisciplinary Approach for Teaching Professional Competencies to Graduate Engineers (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24110
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