On the Use of Outcomes to Connect Students to an Engineering Identity, Culture, and Community

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



The Iron Range Engineering and Twin Cities Engineering programs were developed as outcomes-based programs. Beginning with the ABET a-k outcomes, engineering faculty from around the United States who were well versed in education research imagined the best way to get to those outcomes if they could start from the ground up. The implementation of that vision uses project-based learning to teach engineering design, professional skills and technical competencies to upper-division students. Along with the a-k outcomes, the programs include outcomes in leadership, entrepreneurship and inclusivity.

Rather than use a-k, or a-n, as descriptors, the outcomes are divided into technical, design, and professional outcomes. These outcomes are introduced to incoming students during orientation and then revisited through each of their four semesters as they gather portfolio evidence for each outcome. This paper will present the ways IRE and TCE students and faculty use the outcomes to support student learning, professional development, and preparation to join the broad community of engineers upon graduation.

As a project-based program, the weight of the external value of the outcomes is significant. Students will participate in the breadth of the project work, in the depth of writing and communicating, in the connection to broader contexts, when they are assured that this is what is expected by employers and future colleagues. Faculty have observed that students internalize the outcomes and construct their learning and work to show how they meet these outcomes. This paper will also present a picture of student and graduate perceptions of student outcomes and how they meet these outcomes.


Integrated Engineering

Publication Title

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition