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Science, Technology and Medicine open access publisher.Publish, read and share novel research. Professional Skills: The Globalization EqualizerRonald Welch1[1] The University of Texas at Tyler, USA1. When completing this reading worksheet, students will choose between two words to correctly complete each sentence. IntroductionAccording to the International Monetary Fund (IMF Staff, 2008), globalization “refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through the movement of goods, services, and capital across borders.” This integration can be positive or negative depending on one’s point of view. Nothing from this site may be stored on Google Drive or any other online file storage system. This worksheet encourages legible handwriting and provides reading and vocabulary practice.
No worksheet or portion thereof is to be hosted on, uploaded to, or stored on any other web site, blog, forum, file sharing, computer, file storage device, etc. Matrix ‘bucket’ for program outcome 9c and 9e (portion of CE Program Criteria Professional Outcomes). Friedman’s (2005) Book, The World is Flat, highlights how technology has allowed many countries to include China and India to become part of the global supply chain for manufactured goods as well as services such as engineering. The materials found on this site are available for you to print and use with your child or the students in your class. Of course, globalization not only affects economics, but there are also broader political, environmental, and cultural dimensions which have resulted in globalization becoming a major focus for many companies and universities as well as nations.What are the skills needed to compete in the global economy? The European Union is currently studying how to not only improve the workforce skills through “New Skills for New Jobs” (European Commission, 2011), but to ensure they have a unified employment strategy that builds upon successful cooperation between higher education and businesses to modernize educational preparation of new graduates with skills for the global markets of the future. Many schools point toward their International Studies programs as the gateway to a “broad, interdisciplinary program with a flexible curriculum that emphasizes the development of knowledge and analytical approaches needed to understand the contemporary global system.” (UW-Parkside, 2011) Others require a semester abroad or the completion of a team project abroad. Some schools require the faculty to travel abroad in hope they will pass along their global perspectives to their students. One Dean has stated that “international study shouldn’t be elective.” (Goinglobal, 2011)Career counselors highlight the need to be not only strong in one’s discipline expertise using cognitive skills such as problem-solving, decision making, and knowing how to learn, but also through the use of social skills such as working in multi-cultural teams and personal skills such as being flexible and innovative.
Even the prime minister of the United Kingdom called for expanded apprenticeships to aid in Britain’s “global skills race” to remain internationally competitive. Investigation of program criteria provides insight into additional professional skills being required within the Civil Engineering program criteria – leadership, business practices, public policy and administration, and asset management.
All of these professional and global skills point to the growing importance of the management of engineering services over a focus solely on number crunching work. Are these not some of the same skills desperately needed within engineering companies as they move toward international markets?If these professional skills are possibly a globalization equalizer and initial understanding and skill development occurs within university curriculum, then academic programs must provide the correct emphasis of these professional skills within their programs.
These topics are sometimes relegated to a senior seminar during the last semester before graduation. If they are important enough to be elevated to outcomes, and some feel they are difficult to master and assess, then why are they sometimes addressed and demonstrated only once in the curriculum?
Professional outcomesWhat is the current emphasis of professional outcomes within curriculums? The ABET criteria are based on input from the numerous professional societies that are continuously evolving the required skills of future employees. The Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) works with the professional engineering societies to establish the skills required for future engineers. After many years of discussion and negotiation, EC2000 Criterion 3 a-k were adopted in 1997. Even though the EC2000 criteria and the professional skills have been part of the assessment process for two assessment cycles for many programs, programs are still experimenting with how best to assess and demonstrate accomplishment of these professional skills. The difficulty arises in how students demonstrate or fully understand what these outcomes are asking when the demonstration is occasionally left to a single event such as a seminar within the senior year.
These professional outcomes have been referred to as “soft” outcomes by many when they were first presented as part of ABET EC2000 Criterion 3. Another example of the difficulty is that students may properly assess a situation based on proper ethical reasoning, but there is no assurance that they will actually act ethically. Some define professional skills as how we perform in professional settings, but how do educators develop and assess such skills? Does the educator possess professional experience and a professional engineer (PE) license? Even a PE needs a methodology understood by all to properly and continually assess professional practice skills.Even though EC2000 was newly adopted and programs were investigating how best to demonstrate accomplishment of all new criteria, ASCE recognized the lack of certain knowledge and skills among civil engineering graduates. ASCE took the lead in education reform and formed a committee to study and develop a Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK) (ASCE 2004) to document the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for future civil engineers.


Two key factors associated with the BOK were: 1) a lack of a clear definition of expected performance levels by these new engineers even though the wording was consistent with ABET definitions which are generally difficult to define clearly, and 2) the addition of four new outcomes focused on additional professional topics and discipline depth. Very quickly it was determined by most programs and ASCE that the discipline depth could only occur at the Master’s level with larger breadth occurring at the undergraduate level. The addition of professional skills above what even ABET EC2000 requires reflects greater recognition of the importance of the development of professional skills at the bachelor’s level.
How are these additional topics to be covered when some programs are required to decrease credit hours for faster graduation rates without decreasing the required Core courses? The engineering programs within the University of Texas System decreased their credit hours to 128 or less in 2007 based on legislative requirements to decrease time to graduation. Currently, there are discussions to possibly decrease the number of credit hours to 120 credit hours for all programs within publically supported programs to decrease the amount of funding being sent to schools of higher education as part of state-wide cost cutting measures. Many universities are facing similar conditions while needing to meet global skills of future engineers.ASCE also realized that adjustments to the first edition of the BOK (ASCE, 2004) were needed based on the comments that arose from the ASCE Curriculum Committee (ASCE, 2007) investigating how to implement the outcomes. The central issue was the lack of a methodology to determine how well and at what level a program needed to demonstrate accomplishment of outcomes. Some of the schools on the ASCE Curriculum Committee working towards implementation of the outcomes decided after reviewing numerous taxonomies that Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom et. One of the first orders of business of the new BOK II committee (ASCE, 2008) was to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy (read action verbs) to define the level of demonstration of each outcome at not only the undergraduate level, but master’s and experience levels as well. Another focus as a result of the earlier ASCE Curriculum Committee’s work was the splitting of ABET outcomes into a larger number of smaller outcomes.
For example, ABET Criteria 3.a is “an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering,” (ABET, 2011) which became in BOK II outcomes 1 Mathematics, 2 Natural Sciences, 5 Materials Science, and 6 Mechanics. Can apply knowledge of traditional mathematics, science, and engineering skills, and use modern engineering tools to solve problems.2. Can design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data in more than one civil engineering sub-discipline.3.
Can design systems, components, and processes and recognize the strengths and areas for possible improvement of their creative designs within realistic constraints such as regulatory, economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, constructability, and sustainability.4.
Can demonstrate a commitment to learning and continued professional development outside the classroom, incorporate contemporary issues and historical issues during problem solving, and determine the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.9.
Can explain professional practice attitudes, leadership principles and attitudes, management concepts and processes, and concepts of business, public policy, and public administration.10. Can demonstrate the importance of humanities in the professional practice of civil engineering.11. Can demonstrate the incorporation of social sciences knowledge into the professional practice of civil engineering.12. Can use the knowledge of material sciences to solve problems appropriate to civil engineering.13. Can apply principles of sustainability to the design of traditional and emergent engineering systems.15.
The new outcomes are: sustainability, historical perspectives, globalization, humanities, social sciences, risk and uncertainty, and breadth in civil engineering areas.
Some of these new outcomes may be considered professional practice skills such as humanities, social sciences, historical perspectives, sustainability and, of course, globalization.
The ASCE Fulfillment Committee (Fridley, 2010) is currently studying implementation techniques for the new outcomes as well as implementation of adjusted levels of outcome demonstration at the undergraduate level using Bloom’s Taxonomy.
It is only a matter of time before these new outcomes and levels of demonstration occur within ABET general program criteria as is being called for by some (Ressler, 2010) or CE program criteria as the new outcomes in BOK I did in 2008 just four years after BOK I was in print. The current CE program criteria professional outcomes are leadership, public policy and administration, business practices and asset management (adopted in 2008). Can programs successfully demonstrate these professional outcomes at the Bloom’s Taxonomy levels indicated in the BOK II?As a case study, this chapter will provide an in-depth look at the CE program at The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler).
PO 9 specifically incorporates the new undergraduate professional requirements located within the current CE program criteria (from BOK I). Like a number of programs, UT Tyler has added the new outcomes and adjusted others to begin experimenting with how best and where to implement and demonstrate them. Alumni and employer assessment of professional skillsHow important are current professional outcomes to recent graduates working within the civil engineering profession?
The importance of professional skills to engineering is clear through the inclusion of professional outcomes within ABET EC2000 and the civil engineering profession through the inclusion of professional outcomes within the program criteria in 2008. An available data source for investigating the importance of professional skills is surveys from recent alumni of UT Tyler and their employers within East Texas. As expected, the return rates were much better for the alumni (82 percent) than the employers (33 percent).


Using these results presented in Table 3 (professional outcomes are bold), it is clear that the alumni felt they had improved their professional skills through their one year of experience and that the demonstration of the professional skills as worded was highly appropriate. The employers also rated highly the alumni professional skills and felt that even in East Texas that the assessment of these professional skills as worded was highly appropriate. The local focus of the firms and the limited leadership opportunities for new Engineering-in-Training (EIT) engineers would severely limit rapid development through on-the-job experiences. The results did highlight for the program that these outcomes may require more emphasis within the curriculum such that alumni may more aggressively take on leadership roles when opportunities arise. The employers also did not feel that demonstrating the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context was as appropriate, and from the East Texas focus of the firms the result is expected. As with any survey, the perception of those being surveyed must be considered.The transition to a need to understand and demonstrate the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context within all engineering firms is somewhat similar to the transition by structural engineers from Allowable Stress Design (ASD) to Load Resistance and Factored Design (LRFD) for steel and reinforced concrete design a number of years ago. A major portion of the transition work was completed within universities through their preparation of the next generation of employees. The firms were able to make the necessary senior level hires to manage new hires through a successful transition to the new structural analysis and design techniques. Could a similar process that provides some level of stability within a company be used during the development of required global skills in all employees?A key point from the data in Table 3 is that the employers did not feel that an outcome such as demonstrating the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context was inappropriate at all, just not as important for their firm.
On the other hand, the employers provided a maximum score not only on the alumni demonstration, but the appropriateness of demonstrating proper analysis of a situation and making appropriate professional and ethical decisions. Many programs are still investigating, applying, and assessing how, where, and how much demonstration of each professional skill is required within engineering problem solving.2.
A possible process to improve professional skillsCan professional (global) skills be taught?
Every program is challenged with how best to teach and then assess the demonstration of each outcome, but especially professional outcomes. As a PEV, the data and assessment of professional outcomes were the hardest to interpret and evaluate for proper demonstration based on the wording used by ABET (ability, recognize, understand). The use of action verbs with each outcome would greatly decrease the uncertainty of whether a program has demonstrated accomplishment of an outcome. The UT Tyler program used the following process to teach and then assess the professional outcomes.
First, action verbs were associated with an appropriate Bloom’s level, and more recently with the levels proscribed within the BOK II (Table 1). ABET outcome (3.h) broad education is addressed within the confines of the healthy Core (44 credit hours) program at UT Tyler, but are students making the connection between the humanities and social sciences that they are taking and how these disciplines influence engineering design? This type of questioning most likely led to the adjustments from BOK I to BOK II where humanities and social sciences were elevated to an outcome. The BOK II has led many programs to begin the process of demonstrating all newly proposed outcomes.
ABET Outcome (3.f) professional and ethical responsibility is addressed in the senior design and an Introduction to Ethics Course (sophomore year), but could students miss fully understanding and demonstrating this outcome when completing an engineering design since all of the work within the senior design is completed in teams? The UT Tyler Civil Engineering Program decided to add a required course to the curriculum to ensure coverage of the professional topics in the title as well as integration of the other professional skills. Formal assignment of embedded indicators to courses based on ability to demonstrate an outcome as well as annual assessment of these embedded indicators collected not only provided BOK compliance, but also accreditation through ABET (Welch, 2009a). Even though some public policy is being covered in environmental engineering, the in-depth coverage of public policy and administration within CENG 4341 along with leadership, business practices, asset management and other professional skills provides a synergistic meshing of these multiple professional practice issues as they occur within practice.
Leadership, public policy, business practices, asset management, CENG 4341CENG 4341 is comprised of four modules each with papers and an exam leading to a comprehensive final exam.
When the issue of how to give credit for one-fourth of a course became a stumbling block, the author decided to develop each block himself.
Upon reflection of the order of topics to develop a richer experience as well as provide linkage to additional professional topics, it was obvious that all of the professional topics focus on the engineer being a leader within their firm - so it is covered first.
Public policy affects a firm’s business practices and it takes leaders within government for public policy to be enacted. The key focus in small business practices (a large number of civil engineering firms are considered small) is the development of a business plan which is affected by public policy and the leaders within the firm. Once the business plan is in place, leaders manage firm assets to accomplish assigned tasks and missions to meet the desired level of business performance. Sometimes a single focused non-technical course is more synergistic for the learning process than inserting single or multiple lessons into existing technical courses.



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