Facilitating intellectual and personal skills development in engineering programmes

Duffy, G. (2011) Facilitating intellectual and personal skills development in engineering programmes. [Conference Proceedings]


Accreditation of engineering programmes now requires evidence of substantial development of professional skills in addition to discipline knowledge. Criteria developed by professional bodies refer to a broad range of professional skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, self-direction for life long learning and ethical awareness. It is argued here that the development of professional skills is synonymous with a growth in intellectual development (Perry, 1999) and reflective judgement (King & Kitchener, 1994). Engineering programmes are in general very good at developing technical knowledge and skills but many students fail to achieve acceptable levels of intellectual development by final year. Student-centred learning, provided through a group-based, project-driven spine throughout the programme, can facilitate a high level of intellectual development and lay a foundation in thinking for professional skills to be developed to the level required by professional bodies. Programme teams should consider measuring and reporting levels of intellectual development as part of quality assurance and accreditation processes.

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