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Integrating Soft Skill Development into a Manufacturing Systems Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Manufacturing Curriculum and Course Innovations

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Faisal Aqlan Penn State Behrend Orcid 16x16

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Faisal Aqlan is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at Penn State Behrend. He earned Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2013. Dr. Aqlan is a certified Lean Silver and Six Sigma Black Belt. He is a senior member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) and currently serves as the president of IISE Logistics and Supply Chain division. He is the Principal Investigator and Director of the NSF RET Site in Manufacturing Simulation and Automation.

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Qi Dunsworth Penn State Behrend

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Qi Dunsworth is the Director of Center for Teaching Initiatives at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College. She holds a master's degree in Communication Studies and a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. At Behrend she supports faculty in classroom teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has created a series of faculty teaching workshops and is the recipient of several grants for course revision, educational research, and professional development.

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Mary L Kahl The Pennsylvania State University, the Behrend College

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Dr. Mary L. Kahl is Professor of Communication at the Pennsylvania State University, the Behrend College. A former president of the Eastern Communication Association and an award-winning teacher, she served as an administrator/professor at the University of California at Davis, Boston College, Stonehill College, SUNY-New Paltz, and Indiana State University, prior to her arrival at Penn State in 2016.

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The labor market today requires well-educated engineers with a variety of skills to effectively solve problems and improve processes. The majority of these skills reside outside of technical competence, but soft skills such as communication and big picture understanding in order to succeed1. In addition, engineering work often involves effective teamwork. Despite such demand in the engineering workforce, academic engineering curricula tends to focus on developing the technical skills of the students, overlooking the soft skills or 21st century skills that are just as important. The 21st century skills include critical thinking, communication, teamwork collaboration, metacognitive awareness, and creativity2. Developing such skills will enable future engineers to effectively engage in interdisciplinary endeavors and adapt to changes in national policies and emergent technologies. In this paper, we present a project that integrates 21st century skill development (i.e., metacognitive, constructive thinking, communication) into an undergraduate manufacturing systems course. Students learn about manufacturing systems through a series of teamwork-based manufacturing simulations. Workshops on developing metacognitive and teamwork skills were added to the course. Finally, we draw conclusions on the effectiveness of the skill integration into the manufacturing simulations.

Aqlan, F., & Dunsworth, Q., & Kahl, M. L. (2018, June), Integrating Soft Skill Development into a Manufacturing Systems Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30688

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