Understanding faculty and student beliefs about teamwork & communication skills

Holly M. Matusovich, Marie C. Paretti, Andrea M. Motto, Kelly J. Cross

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Strong communication and teamwork skills remain essential for engineering graduates in both academic and industry settings. They are considered by ABET to be key student learning outcomes for accreditation and are consistently high on employers list of necessary skills for new hires. Despite recognition of their importance, gaps in teaching these skills persist. While extensive research on communication pedagogy exists, teamwork suffers from a dearth of research on effective pedagogies. Regardless of existing research suggesting the significance, relatively few engineering courses integrate communication and teamwork skills. Our three-year mixed methods study grounded in motivation theory seeks to explore faculty and student beliefs about teamwork and communication, and to close the critical gaps between knowledge, belief, and practice. This paper focuses on outcomes from Phase1, which included 50 interviews with faculty from civil, mechanical and industrial/system engineering. We address the research question: How do faculty believe they are teaching teamwork and communication skills? Our findings suggest faculty approach teaching teamwork and communication differently. They typically have more structured definitions of good communication skills and, similarly, more structured strategies for teaching communication skills. In comparison, the interviews revealed less structured ways of talking about good teamwork skills and more ad hoc ways of teaching such skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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