Tau Beta Pi Engineering Futures Program
The award-winning Tau Beta Pi Engineering Futures Program was founded more than 20 years ago in response to a need to provide engineering students training in the "soft skills," those non-technical skills necessary for success in the workplace but rarely included in engineering curricula. The Engineering Futures Program received national recognition as winner of the 2007 Excellence in Engineering Education Collaboration Award.For additional information, select a topic below:
The Tau Beta Pi Engineering Futures Program comprises six modules, listed below. The modules are listed in their logical order but can be presented in any order. A module typically lasts from three to four hours. Engineering Futures sessions, which can include one or more modules, are usually conducted on weekends but may be conducted at other times depending on Facilitator availability.
The modules are:
- People Skills (approx. 4 hours)
- Team Chartering (approx. 2 hours)
- Group Process (approx. 2 hours)
- Analytical Problem Solving (approx. 4 hours)
- Effective Presentation Skills (approx. 4 hours)
- Equity, Inclusion, & Ethics (approx. 3 hours long)
People Skills — communicating and resolving interpersonal problems
- Communicating Interpersonal Problems
- Learn how to communicate interpersonal problems in a manner that will get the problem solved while maintaining relationships with others.
- Diagnosing the Cause of Interpersonal Problems
- Resolving Motivational Problems
- Learn how to motivate people by communicating consequences of not resolving the problem. Also learn how to set up and follow plans once a solution is agreed upon to help ensure that the problem is permanently solved.
- Resolving Ability Problems
- Learn how to involve the individual with the ability problem in developing a solution to his or her ability problem.
- Resolving Emergent Problems
- Learn to identify and resolve emergent problems (secondary problems that arise during the resolution of a problem) such as high emotion (anger, stress, etc.) or complex, unintelligible responses to questions.
Team Chartering — working in teams
- Defining the Role of Teams
- Learn the importance of teams in today's world and the growth stages experienced by all teams.
- Developing the Team's Charter
- Learn how to create a charter for a team. Participate in an entertaining team-building exercise.
Group Process — planning and managing effective meetings
- Planning a Meeting
- Learn how to plan for a meeting, including deciding when a meeting is necessary, whom to invite to the meeting, things to consider relative to the meeting's location, and the content of the meeting. Learn how to organize a meeting agenda to include the above items.
- Conducting Effective Meetings
- Learn specific roles participants in a meeting need to play and how to keep a meeting on track once it has started. Practice the skills in a mock meeting.
Analytical Problem Solving — solving problems in a team environment
- The Problem-Solving Process
- Learn a structured process for problem solving. Each step of the process requires two basic activities in order to perform it successfully: generating ideas through brainstorming and choosing the best idea to implement.
- Creative Thinking
- Participate in creative thinking exercises.
- Identifying and Implementing the Problem Solution
- Learn how to reduce a list of potential solutions and selecting the best idea(s) using specific evaluation techniques. Learn techniques to facilitate decision-making.
Effective Presentation Skills— public speaking and formal presentation preparation
- The fear of public speaking
- Learn and practice techniques for overcoming the fear of speaking in public.
- Formal presentation preparation
- Learn the "do's and dont's" of oral presentations. Create and deliver team presentations.
Equity, Inclusion & Ethics— increasing understanding of equity, inclusion, and ethics issues as they relate to the practice of engineering
- Equity & Inclusion
- Recognize the impact of conscious and unconscious assumptions, preconceptions, biases, and prejudices and acquire skills to manage them.
- Increase understanding of equity and inclusion and their influence on engineering.
- Identify concrete strategies for learning about and addressing issues of equity and inclusion.
- Become familiar with the code of ethics developed by the Society of Professional Engineers.
- Articulate ethical issues in engineering research and practice.
- Clarify your role in practicing ethical behavior and educating others about ethics.
Each module lasts between three and four hours, though the Facilitator may be able to adjust the time to some degree to meet the chapter's needs. The materials work best for groups of 15 to 25 students.
During a session the following techniques are employed to enhance learning:
- Icebreakers for students to get to know each other
- Group discussions
- Videos demonstrating situations and applications of the skills
- Role playing exercises
- Group exercises
- MS PowerPoint presentations and handouts
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Engineering Futures sessions must be hosted by Tau Beta Pi collegiate chapters and participation is restricted to currently enrolled students. These sessions are provided at no cost to the chapter. Please try to allow at least 6 weeks to schedule a Facilitator.
If you are interested in hosting a session, please review the guidelines for hosting a session and fill out the session request form.
Publicity posters are available at:
- People Skills
- Team Chartering
- Group Process
- Analytical Problem Solving
- Effective Presentation Skills
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Please see our Directory for a list of current Facilitators and their locations.
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If you are interested in becoming a Facilitator, read the position description for requirements, responsibilities, and the application process. Questions and application materials should be directed by to Katy Colbry, Director of Engineering Futures.
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