Measurement and Practice of Transversal Competencies in Engineering Education: Evaluation of Perceptions and Stimulation of Reflections of industry, lecturers and students

    Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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    The engineering industry has changed in the last decades with the increasing complexity of technology, the global mobility of the engineering profession, the concern with sustainability and social responsibility, and the need for innovation and creativity. This shift has caused employability issues that include both the lack of engineering graduates available for recruitment and graduates equipped with the necessary set of transversal competencies. One of the efforts to produce engineering graduates ready for the labour market was the emphasis on transversal competencies. They have been highlighted in the Boeing list of “Desired Attributes of Engineer” and by the accreditation bodies in the United States of America and Europe. The focus shifted from only technical competencies to including also the transversal competencies in the field of engineering education around the world. Although engineering curricula have expanded curricular and pedagogical arrangements to include transversal competencies to prepare graduates for employment, there is still a gap between what engineering education provides to students and what employers desire from engineering graduates. Employer’s feel students lack transversal competencies such as communication, interpersonal, management and team working skills. The emphasis on the inclusion of transversal competencies has triggered the need for instruments that could measure and assess these competencies or their perceptions, or even to trigger reflection on these competencies. However measuring transversal competencies or their perceptions is considered difficult because of the lack of consensus on the transversal competency definitions between engineering educators, government bodies and employers, the overwhelming lists of transversal competencies created by universities and non-academic establishments with different terminologies and without collaborations between these parties, and finally the nature of transversal competencies which often are intertwined with the technical competencies and can also be acquired outside of the curriculum. The research presented in this thesis contributes to the measurement of perceptions of transversal competencies, and practice and reflection on transversal competencies in the field of engineering education. This work is part of the PREFER (Professional Roles and Employability of Future EngineeRs) project, which was a European project that started in 2017 to reduce the transversal competency gap in the field of engineering and to increase the employability of future engineers…
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Delft University of Technology
    • de Vries, M.J., Supervisor
    • Saunders, G.N., Advisor
    Award date20 Dec 2021
    Print ISBNs978-94-6421-576-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Transversal competencies
    • Measurement
    • Practice
    • Reflection
    • Keywords: Transversal competencies, Measurement, Practice, Reflection, Teaching intervention


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