Supporting professional skills development in chemical engineering students

Esther Ventura-Medina, David De La Cruz

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


The development of professional skills (e.g. leadership, project management, teamwork and communication) is fundamental for graduates to be competitive in a global job market. In Chemical Engineering courses opportunities for the development of these skills are normally provided in the curriculum as part of project teamwork. Commonly the assumption is that students entering universities know what it means to work in a project team despite the fact that work at schools is mostly individual. Consequently a common situation is that students have neither a clear notion of what is it that working effectively in a project team means nor do they know what is expected from them in terms of acquiring and developing these skills. The educators on the other hand hope that students will develop this set of professional skills by simply putting them to work together on a project with minimal or no support. This work presents the results of a project carried out in the department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University during the final year Design Project 2014 aiming to provide support for students to further develop their professional skills. Materials and activities (e.g. guidance on dealing with conflict, leadership strategies, team-evaluation surveys) were developed and used throughout the unit to complement the support from mentors and a 'Teamwork Support Officer'. Students’ feedback indicates that although this approach has benefits it should be introduced much earlier in the curriculum to increase its value.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering (APCChE) Congress Incorporating Chemeca 2015
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015
EventAsia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress - Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 27 Sept 20151 Oct 2015
Conference number: 2015


ConferenceAsia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress
Abbreviated titleAPPChE
Internet address


  • education
  • professional development
  • teaching methods
  • engineering design education
  • professional competence


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