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Outcome Assessment of Liberal Education Skills

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Integration of Liberal Education into Engineering

Tagged Divisions

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society and Engineering Ethics

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1131.1 - 22.1131.10



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Paper Authors


Tom A. Eppes University of Hartford

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Tom A. Eppes is Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Hartford. He earned a Ph.D from the University of Michigan and an M.S. degree from Texas A&M University. His research interests are fiber optic communications, photonics, laser manufacturing processes, multiphysics modeling, and remote laboratories.

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Ivana Milanovic University of Hartford

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Ivana Milanovic is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hartford. She earned a Ph.D. from Polytechnic Unviersity, New York, and an M.S. degree from the University of Belgrade. Her research interests are vortical flows, computational fluid dynamics, multiphysics modeling, and collaborative learning strategies.

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Frederick Sweitzer University of Hartford

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Assistant Provost and Dean of Faculty Development

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Assessing Core Liberal Education Outcomes in Capstone ProjectsAbstractCapstone projects have long been used to assess ABET-related outcomes in both engineering andtechnology programs. As an integrating experience, senior design projects provide a rich array ofboth technical and soft skills that can be evaluated. Foremost is the need for students to completea successful design either by themselves or as part of a team. On one hand, this requirescompetence across multiple sub-disciplines to be evident. In addition, the ability to manage aproject is also required. Bounded by limited time and resources, a successful demonstration withsupporting results must be completed, documented and presented orally. In the course of thecapstone, challenges inevitably arise that require a complex blend of technical, professional,interpersonal and communication skills. Assessment of ABET program outcome criteria (a-k)falls into three categories: (1) design within realistic constraints, (2) professional and ethicalresponsibilities and (3) soft skills such as oral/written communication and an ability to functionin teams.While outcomes assessment in ABET-accredited programs has been required since 2000, anemerging trend among regional accrediting bodies is to focus on learning outcomes that arecommon across the institution. The most relevant liberal education outcomes for engineering andtechnology graduates are creative and critical thinking, inquiry/analysis, problem solving, andinformation literacy. Hence, there is a growing need to assess the full complement of these skills.During the last academic year, we undertook to incorporate liberal education outcomeassessment within a capstone course in addition to those customary performed for ABET. Thispaper reports our findings, experiences and recommendations.

Eppes, T. A., & Milanovic, I., & Sweitzer, F. (2011, June), Outcome Assessment of Liberal Education Skills Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18799

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