472508 A Required, Non-Credit Professional Development Seminar Series for Chemical Engineering

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 3:15 PM
Continental 2 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Timothy M. Raymond, Jeffrey Csernica, James E. Maneval, Elif E. Miskioglu, Michael J. Prince, Ryan C. Snyder and Margot Vigeant, Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

A professional development seminar series at Bucknell University has been implemented for more than 25 years in the Spring semester to all four years of Chemical Engineering majors. This course is required but also listed as zero credit. It gets an attendance rate of nearly 90% every week as motivated by both the opportunity for "bonus points" in other core classes and due to the value of the course to the students. Faculty organizing the seminar series receive teaching credit. Most speakers are alumni of the department and receive reimbursement only for mileage and occasionally for overnight accommodations. Despite the minimal amount of incentive to obtain new speakers and the lack of credit students received, the series has been well-attended and well-received over the years. Its success lies in the value students receive and the support and importance placed on the seminar series by the faculty of the department. We use the seminar, in part, to address ABET outcomes on lifelong learning and to reinforce this theme to the students.

The seminar series also serves to show students the types of careers and opportunities that will be available to them as practicing chemical engineers. In addition to the external speakers from industry, government, or academia, we also have special seminars each semester that feature such topics as undergraduate research, career development, engineering ethics, AIChE and related activities, and National Engineering Week. The seminar also serves as a common time to get all class years and faculty together in one place which helps to build a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie in our department, even among the first-year students. For the faculty, this series provides a continuous source of information about current industrial practice and directions. Finally, the series helps to build and maintain relationships between alumni and the department.

This talk will provide a larger overview of this seminar series and document its assessment and outcomes. We will present data including historical attendance records, course evaluations and survey results. Discussion will include how we evaluate the success of professional development opportunities for our students as well as what would be involved in setting up a similar program at other institutions.

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See more of this Session: Best Practices in Undergraduate Professional Development
See more of this Group/Topical: Education Division