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The Communications Centered Senior Design Class At Virginia Tech

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.985.1 - 6.985.8

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Paper Authors

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Jack Lesko

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Eric Pappas

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

Session 1161

The Communications-centered Senior Design Class at Virginia Tech Eric Pappas, Jack Lesko Virginia Tech

I. Introduction

In "Engineering and Art," our 2000 ASEE presentation in St. Louis, we noted that the non-technical Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) 2000 "a-k" requirements appeared to describe more than the typical technical skills necessary for students to become competent engineering professionals. We suggested that these requirements described many of the characteristics of a well-balanced, productive, and creative individual, rather than simply those of a highly technically educated individual. These characteristics include the following: 1) good communication skills, oral and written (ABET "g") 2) the ability to work well with a variety of individuals (ABET "d") 3) a sense of values (ABET "f") 4) a variety of educational experiences and training to understand the interdependence among disciplines (ABET "h") 5) the desire and ability to continue to educate oneself (ABET "i") 6) a knowledge of contemporary issues (ABET "j")

There is a natural progression from these characteristics and the "added four attributes" noted by the Task Force on Engineering Education that suggest students develop leadership and diversity skills, and understand and commit to quality. Nationwide, industry is requiring a greater number of communication and interpersonal skills from entry-level engineers. These facts signal a need to change the way we teach engineering in order to respond to rapidly escalating technology and its effects on the individual, family, and society, and to be more in accord with the increasingly complex nature of life and work in the Twenty-first Century.

As engineering faculty members, we must prepare our students for a significant challenge they face: the speed at which technological advances are changing our society and the workplace requires students to possess a greater number of personal skills with which they can effectively cope with the increasing demands placed upon them in the workplace. Such rapid growth is new to those now living, but during other periods of intense growth and change, most notably the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, technological changes resulted in challenges to existing values and social, economic, and cultural practices. Currently, changes in the nature of work, methods of communication, lifestyle, and demands on time and

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Lesko, J., & Pappas, E. (2001, June), The Communications Centered Senior Design Class At Virginia Tech Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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