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Preparing Engineering Graduates for the Real World

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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

Entrepreneurship Courses and Outcomes II

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1172.1 - 22.1172.21

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Paper Authors

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Jessica R. McCormick Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Beverly Radloff Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Nancy Lamm Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis


Terri L. Talbert-Hatch Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Terri Talbert-Hatch is the Assistant Dean for the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI. In this position she is responsible for recruitment of undergraduate students and all scholarships. She is responsible for all marketing for the school including program brochures and the school’s website. She also oversees the School’s Career Services office and is the advisor to the school’s student council. She received her Bachelor’s in General Studies and M.S. in Adult Education at IUPUI. She is currently working on her dissertation toward an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at Indiana University.

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Preparing Engineering Graduates for the Real-WorldAs the engineering profession continues to evolve, so should the engineering curriculum. It is theresponsibility of the educational program to provide an education that prepares graduates whoare ready to work in the real-world. Engineering students have always been taught to be excellentproblem-solvers, have a strong knowledge in math, science and technology, and learn how tofind solutions to technological problems. However, companies are looking to hire engineers thatpossess attributes beyond the traditional education commonly offered. Engineers of today mustunderstand the social, political, cultural and environmental impacts of technology andinnovation. Engineering graduates from traditional programs are lacking in skills required to besuccessful after graduation. This paper focuses on an innovative dual degree program thatencompasses the liberal arts, experiential education, and cultural and international exposureproducing engineers ready for the real-world work environment.Some research attention has been focused on traditional three-two programs orBachelors/Masters programs, however little has been focused on the innovation of dual degreeprograms where engineering and non-technical fields are paired together. These dual degreeprograms produce engineering graduates who are well rounded and can function in the society oftoday and the future. Through the incorporation of traditional engineering coursework and astrong background in the liberal arts, students become an attractive candidate to employers. Inaddition, these graduates have the social understanding, human interaction and communicationskills that the traditional engineering student does not possess.This research paper will address the benefits of a dual degree program and show how itsgraduates are better prepared for work upon graduation. The innovative dual degree program is apartnership between a small private university and a large state university resulting in twobachelor’s degrees in five years. The data will be gathered from graduates from the dual degreeprogram and traditional undergraduate engineering at the large university back to the first yearthe dual degree program graduated engineers. The data results will be analyzed in comparisonbetween the two groups in order to determine whether a disparity exists between job placementand opportunities for graduates of both programs. The researchers believe data will show that thedual degree program graduates are more successful in their job search than their peers in thetraditional engineering program, because of this innovative partnership. In addition, responses tothe open ended questions will provide feedback on the benefits of the program from graduateperspectives.

McCormick, J. R., & Radloff, B., & Lamm, N., & Talbert-Hatch, T. L. (2011, June), Preparing Engineering Graduates for the Real World Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC.

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