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From Industry to Graduate School: How Returners (Re)Learn How to Write

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Graduate Education Model, Industry and Practitioner Experience - Graduate Studies Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28391

Download Count

58

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Paper Authors

biography

Diane L. Peters Kettering University

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Dr. Peters is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University. Her research interests include returning graduate students in engineering - those who have significant industry experience before deciding to pursue their graduate education.

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biography

Molly H. Goldstein Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2382-4745

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Molly Goldstein is a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette with a research focus on characterizing behaviors in student designers. She previously worked as an environmental engineer specializing in air quality influencing her focus in engineering design with environmental concerns. She earned her B.S. in General Engineering (Systems Engineering & Design) and M.S. in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

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Joanne Lax Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Joanne Lax is the graduate technical communications specialist in the College of Engineering at Purdue University, where she develops and runs workshops on communications topics. She serves on the board of the ASEE Illinois-Indiana Section.

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Abstract

From Industry to Graduate School: How Returners (Re)Learn How to Write

In recent years, a number of researchers have studied returners in engineering graduate programs; these are students who, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, have chosen to enter the workforce for a significant period of time before beginning a graduate degree. Previous research has shown that returners bring unique strengths to their graduate programs. They are highly motivated, aware of the implications of their work, and interested in applying it to the real-world problems with which they are familiar. They do, however, face many challenges. One such unexplored cost involves writing. Professionals in industry have to communicate, and much of this communication is in written form; however, the rhetorical genres in industry differ significantly from academia. This may present challenges, and returners need to transfer their writing skills from the industrial context to an academic context. In this exploratory study, we developed an interview protocol and conducted interviews with four (n=4) returner participants in the engineering doctoral programs at a major Midwestern university. The common themes revealed in the interviews form the basis for implications for how graduate engineering programs can help returners make a successful transition from skilled industry writers to effective academic writers.

Peters, D. L., & Goldstein, M. H., & Lax, J. (2017, June), From Industry to Graduate School: How Returners (Re)Learn How to Write Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28391

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