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Incorporating Abet “Soft Skills” Into Energy Conversion Courses

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

New Ideas in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.716.1 - 9.716.23



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Paper Authors

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Timothy Skvarenina

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

Session 2533

Incorporating ABET “Soft Skills” into Energy Conversion Courses

Timothy L. Skvarenina School of Technology, Purdue University

Abstract Both the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET have adopted outcome-based evaluation criteria. The EAC began the process with early visits in 1997. TAC began later with the adoption of its Technology Criteria 2000, or TC2K, and conducted its pilot visits in 2001, with full implementation in 2004. In both cases, there is a list of required student outcomes, the so-called “a’ through “k” lists. Although they are different for the two commissions, there are many similarities, particularly in what are commonly referred to as the “soft skills.” These include teamwork, communications skills, global perspectives, ethics, life-long learning, and contemporary issues. Often the faculty would like to leave many of these to the students’ humanities and social science courses. However, at many schools there is a wide variety of electives for students in those areas and it is impossible to guarantee that they will receive exposure to all of the a to k items. Thus, it is the author’s contention that the technical courses must cover these topics.

The author teaches a required course in Electrical Power and Controls in the second year of an Electrical Engineering Technology program. To insure that students are exposed to ethics and global perspectives, two case studies were developed relating to these areas but also to the course topics. Specifically one case study addresses the Enron Corporation debacle while the other addresses global warming and the Kyoto Protocol.

This paper describes the case studies, how they were used in class, and some of the results of student discussions.

Introduction The Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET have both moved to outcomes-based accreditation of engineering and technology programs, via EC 2000 and TC2K, respectively. Both EC 2000 and TC2K require that every accredited program develop a set of program outcomes, which must insure that students have demonstrated the achievement of eleven outcomes, the so-called “a” to “k” lists. The outcomes are different for the two sets of criteria, but they have a number of similarities. Table 1 shows a listing of the “a” to “k” outcomes for EC 2000 and TC2K. With the change from previous accreditation criteria, ABET has gone away from the so-called “bean counting” that required certain numbers of credit hours in various categories, such as mathematics, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Instead each program must evaluate and assess its curriculum on a continuous basis to show that graduates are demonstrating the required outcomes.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Skvarenina, T. (2004, June), Incorporating Abet “Soft Skills” Into Energy Conversion Courses Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13126

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