Engineering graduate students are some of the most technically trained students on a university campus, but sometimes they lack the personal skills acquired in professional development such as leadership, conflict management and adaptability. No matter how well students excel in their graduate degree curriculum, they often feel unprepared to fill the role of “employee.”
The program developed a technique that enables the intentional practice of nontechnical skills. It aimed to determine the competencies that are essential for successful grad students and whether increased professionalism improves productivity, retention and success.
The pilot project involved asking TU graduate students in mechanical, petroleum and chemical engineering to follow similar competency models that companies use to strengthen oral and written communications, conflict management, fairness and cultural adaptability. They completed assessments about themselves and identified activities they could begin in graduate school and continue in the workplace.
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