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Preparing Engineering Students for Work in the 21st Century

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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

Assessing, Developing, and Enhancing the Engineering Experiential Education Experience

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1173.1 - 22.1173.9



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Paper Authors


Dean C. Millar University at Buffalo, SUNY

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Dean C. Millar is an Assistant Dean of Engineering at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In 1994, he began the Engineering Career Institute, a program that complements engineering coursework and gives engineering students key career-professional skills, including pre-employment classes and credit-worthy industrial employment experience.

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Abstract for Annual 2011 ASEE Conference Preparing Engineering Students for Work in the 21st Century A Proven Professional Development Program to Supplement Required Engineering Technical Coursework. Goal: Enhanced Success of Students’ Careers and Engineering Schools’ Accreditation.Statement of Need:For students- Engineering undergraduate students are well prepared with engineering theory andfundamentals when they graduate, but generally lack broader professional success skills(supporting survey evidence will be presented). This imbalance diminishes the likelihood thatundergraduate students will have sufficient career development tools for the right job or graduateschool decision by commencement.For engineering schools- ABET now requires proven technical as well as broader educationaloutcomes in their Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, specifically, Criterion 3,Program Outcomes, (a) though (k). A sample of these required outcomes are (d) “an ability tofunction on multidisciplinary teams,” (f) “an understanding of professional and ethicalresponsibility,” (h) “the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineeringsolutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context,” and (k) “an ability to usethe techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.”Proposed Solution-- 17 Continuous Years of an Engineering Professional DevelopmentProgram that Meets both Student and Engineering School Needs:. Pre-employment success - includes step by step actions for engineering undergraduates toaccomplish personal assessment and job-search skills to obtain career related co-op/internshipemployment and secure an optimal job offer when they graduate.. Professional success subjects – expert advice from industry and academia - includeessential engineering professional functions/opportunities and personal/professional success skillsubjects offering wisdom from appropriate industrial and academic experts. Presentation ofprofessional success knowledge enables engineering students to “hit the ground running” whenthey enter employment or graduate school.. Co-op or internship experience - is strongly recommended for undergraduate engineers inorder to gain career related, on-the-job experience enabling application of theoretical knowledgeto achieve tangible project results. Co-op and internship programs allow students to gainexposure to a real engineering employment situation, demonstrate technical and teamwork skills,obtain applied relevance of their engineering curriculum, verify their career objectives,strengthen their resume and, in short, increase the odds of a permanent job offer atcommencement. Quantified evidence of specific co-op successes will be presented, along withalumni testimonials.

Millar, D. C. (2011, June), Preparing Engineering Students for Work in the 21st Century Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18448

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