With support from the Davis Educational Foundation, the University of New Haven has launched an innovative effort to improve the technical communications skills of engineering graduates. “The goal of this project is to emphasize professional communication skills across engineering disciplines,” said Ronald Harichandran, dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering at UNH. “Employers want engineering graduates to display the ability to clearly communicate; good communications skills will give our graduates an advantage in the marketplace.” The communication skills training at TCoE will be woven into regular engineering courses. PITCH contains a number of defining features:
- PITCH faculty developed a comprehensive set of outcomes based on surveys of both engineering faculty and TCoE alumni and employers. These surveys measured not only which technical communication products are critical in the profession, but which technical communication behaviors are likely to drive success.
- Communication assignments are based on engineering content and design to have students achieve stated outcomes in a developmental progression throughout their programs.
- PITCH will leverage technology to provide students and faculty with supporting resources.
- Engineering faculty engaged with PITCH are being trained to develop and evaluate effective technical communication assignments. That step, along with using a consultant, avoids the need to hire instructors from outside engineering and will help make PITCH sustainable and cost-effective.