Introducing professional skills during unit operations laboratory
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CitationRende, S., Rende, D. & Baysal, N. (2011). Introducing professional skills during unit operations laboratory. Paper presented at the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, 1-18.
Unit operations laboratory (UOL) course is considered to be a crucial and integral part of the chemical engineering education. The primary objective of the course is to enable students to combine theory and practice. Problems in industry however entail more than finding technical solutions. Indeed professional life requires other skills such as an ability to propose ideas, develop practical solutions, participate in teamwork, meet deadlines, establish communication between technical support and suppliers, oversee financial issues, and finally reporting and presentation skills. This study describes how in three consecutive courses, we preserve academic rigor of the UOL course while incorporating components such as experimental design, project development and teamwork, which aim to meet the needs of professional careers. We follow up the course outcomes with a survey targeting the graduates of the program. The results show that graduates employed in industry frequently rely on these skills during job interviews, research and product development, whereas those who pursue advanced degrees in academia use these skills predominantly for their research, highlighting the need for adaptive approach for different graduate trajectories in designing the course. For both groups of graduates, the skills introduced during the UOL courses are reported to be valuable in their daily life, emphasizing life-long learning.