Although technical ability is typically the primary focus of chemical engineering education, professional skills — such as communication, teamwork, ethical behavior, and time management — are often more important in an engineer’s career, Phil Wankat of Purdue Univ. says in the July AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Teaching Professional Skills.” Because of the importance of these skills in engineering careers, ABET requires that certain professional skills be taught and the ability of students to perform these skills must be assessed. However, most chemical engineering professors are content experts, not skills experts.
In the Perspective article, Wankat discusses the perceived importance of professional skills and describes methods for helping students develop several of those skills and related abilities:
- an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
- an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
- an ability to communicate effectively
- the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
- a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, lifelong learning
- the ability...
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