April 9, 2021
April 9, 2021
April 10, 2021
Civil and environmental engineers have the responsibility to not only design and build infrastructure critical to public health, safety, and commerce, but also the responsibility to effectively communicate with diverse stakeholders affected by or interested in our work. In 2019, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) updated the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK) to, among other changes, update the communication skills needed by engineers entering practice and the competencies that a new engineer should develop as they progress through their professional career. In addition, this Third Edition of the CEBOK (CEBOK3) emphasizes that engineers should also develop an appreciation for effective communication and demonstrate key abilities related to the affective domain. With the importance of communication to future engineers’ practice of civil engineering clearly defined, undergraduate curricula must adapt to meet this need. At [UNIVERSITY], the civil engineering curriculum included significant communication content prior to the issuance of the CEBOK3. However, the standard communication coursework of public speaking and technical writing left a gap in critical communication competencies needed for successful civil and environmental engineering practice. To address this gap, the civil engineering curriculum added a new course entitled Communicating with Stakeholders in Engineering. This course covers topics including communication theory, stakeholder identification, communicating through conflict, communication planning, implicit bias, public engagement principles, and more. The content was selected to fill the gaps in traditional communication classes taken by civil engineering students to expose students to tools and approaches to workplace communication and communication with public stakeholder groups. The topics covered in the course allow students to develop an understanding of and gain extensive practice with written and in-person communication skills. This practice is critical for the students to learn about themselves as communicators and about the audience they are communicating with. Engagement with the practice of communication at this level also requires an understanding of how humans communicate, needs that humans have, and professional obligations to society, all of which contribute to development of empathy in civil engineers. Spring 2021 represents only the third offering of the class, and the first as a required element of the civil engineering curriculum; therefore, it remains a work in progress. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the course has also evolved from its original in-person format to a synchronous online delivery model. This paper describes course content, delivery, interactive activities, and student feedback to date, and in doing so offers a model for similar course development in other engineering curricula.
Saxe, J. P. (2021, April), Teaching empathy through a stakeholder-focused engineering communications course Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/36321
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: © 2021 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