Asee peer logo

Professional Development Buffet: From Banquet To À La Carte

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Education: Upperclass Years

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.987.1 - 15.987.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Lisa Bullard North Carolina State University

visit author page

Dr. Lisa G. Bullard is a Teaching Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University. She served in engineering and management positions within Eastman Chemical Co. from 1991-2000. A faculty member at NCSU since 2000, Dr. Bullard was named an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor at NCSU and was awarded the Outstanding New Teacher Award by the Southeastern Section of ASEE, the NCSU Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award, the COE George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award, and the NCSU Faculty Advisor Award.

visit author page


David Ollis North Carolina State University

visit author page

David Ollis, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University, has contributed education articles to ASEE conferences, Chemical Engineering Education, and the International Journal of Engineering Education. He co-edited Liberal Education for 21st Century Engineering Education (Peter Lang Publishers, NY, 2004) with K. Neeley (Virginia) and H. Lueginbiehl (Rose Hulman).

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Professional Development Buffet: From Banquet to À La Carte Abstract

Both ABET and industrial advisory boards encourage engineering departments to include instruction in “soft skills” that reflect the broader professional qualities necessary for student success in their careers. These include oral and written communication, ethics and professional behavior, resume and interviewing skills, electronic and professional etiquette, information literacy, and broader knowledge of engineering solutions in a global or societal context. While some departments dedicate one or more instructional credits to accomplish this objective, others may integrate such topics into existing core courses. This paper presents a one-credit model for a junior-level course in professional development in chemical engineering at a large public university. The topical content which has been developed may also be used “À la carte” for incorporating elements into existing engineering courses if there is not room in the curriculum for an integrated course of this type. The complete course content, including the syllabus, subject matter presentations, assignments, and relevant links, is available on a public web site for use by engineering instructors: ( Course evaluations indicate that students assign high values to this required seminar.


Engineering departments employ different strategies for introducing soft skills such as writing, oral presentation, teamwork, information literacy, and ethics. A frequently used approach is to utilize a first year course, either within the department or at the college level. 1-5 Depending on the resources available on campus, departments may choose to “outsource” this material by having students taking a technical writing, public speaking class, and/or engineering ethics class through the English or Communications Departments. Some departments choose to integrate this material within existing courses, such as senior design or labs, as evidenced by “writing across the curriculum” efforts. 6 Finally, a few departments have a dedicated course later in the curriculum, but this is not as common due to the demands of the curriculum. 7 (Add other literature from Dave’s folder)

In this paper we describe a one unit junior/senior seminar course in professional development of a variety of soft skills. The course integrates writing and speaking opportunities in a variety of formats to address the ABET soft skills areas. The course lecture materials are found on the web site ( Reading assignments appear on the website and in two books of case collections involving technology and society. Speaking opportunities include a mock job interview, a technical case history, and a memorized poem.

Course Content

The course topics, sequence and assignments appear in Table 1. The class and assignments include practice in writing (Assignments 1-4) and oral presentations (Assignments 2, 5,6), lectures and discussions on ethics (Assignments 4,5), case histories on technology and society (Assignment 3), and current issues in science and technology (Assignments 4 and 5), and a literature search to update a case history (Assignment 3).

Bullard, L., & Ollis, D. (2010, June), Professional Development Buffet: From Banquet To À La Carte Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15630

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015