June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society and Mechanical Engineering
22.1687.1 - 22.1687.13
Why Industry Says That Engineering Graduates Have Poor Communication Skills: What the Literature Says In a recent survey completed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 52percent of ME department heads considered the written and oral communication skills of theirME graduates to be strong, while only 20 percent considered these skills to be weak.Unexpectedly, a parallel survey of industry representatives found almost opposite results, withonly 9 percent considering the skills of recent ME graduates to be strong and 52 percentconsidering those same skills to be weak. Given these results were gathered from 68 MEdepartment heads and more than 1000 engineers and managers, a disconnect clearly existsbetween what communication skills we are teaching to engineering students and what industryexpects our students to know.Why does this disconnect exist? Why does such a large percentage of industry leaders considerthe communication skills of engineering graduates to be weak while many leaders of engineeringdepartments believe their graduates are well prepared to communicate in the workplace? Also,what particular aspects of writing and oral presentation skills does industry consider to be weakin engineering graduates? Which communication aspects are valued in industry?This paper addresses these questions through a review of studies that have assessed thecommunication skills of recent engineering graduates. This review will shed light on the seemingdisconnect between academic and industrial needs, lay the groundwork for further investigations,and will support a discussion of ways to address and repair the gap.
Donnell, J. A., & Aller, B. M., & Alley, M., & Kedrowicz, A. A. (2011, June), Why Industry Says That Engineering Graduates Have Poor Communication Skills: What the Literature Says Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18809
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