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ENGINEERING STUDENTS´ AWARENESS OF THEIR PRESENT AND FUTURE PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISES

C. Pinto 1, L. Babo 2, J. Mendonça1

1Polytechnic of Porto, School of Engineering (PORTUGAL)
2PPorto, School of Accounting (PORTUGAL)
This study analyses second year Baccalaureate Level Engineering students’ awareness of the development of the skills described in the Criterion 3 – Student Outcomes, of the Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), for the 2020-2021 Accreditation Cycle [1]. Our main goal was to compare the degree of development of these skills and the importance students’ attribute to them.

The skills are [1]:
1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics;
2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors;
3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences,
4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts,
5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives,
6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyse and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions,
7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

We did a survey to 47 students and posed questions regarding the above above. The statistical analysis of the results of the survey revealed some interesting patterns. The students recognise these skills to be very important in the professional success of an Engineer. On the other hand, they seem mature enough to acknowledge that, at their present academic and personal level, they haven’t fulfilled all of the requirements to excel at them. We detail the skills less blossomed in the students and the ones which are less recognised, in terms of importance. Moreover, skills 2. and 4. are in this last category, which raises some questions regarding what students feel will be their future role in the society. Skills identified as extremely important are 1. and 6, thus involving aspects of academic and problem-solving, as well as critical thinking. We will develop further these findings.