Strong Communication Skills are Critical for Success
Regardless of professional title, strong communication skills are critical for success. A key component of graduate education is the development of a professional identi-ty through a variety of communication opportunities, from research project presenta-tions in courses to conference papers and presentations. Those students in the pro-ject, thesis, or PhD track will have to prepare a lengthy written paper documenting their research and orally defend their work to an audience. This seminar will provide information to help students understand the importance of three factors – under-standing their audience, developing time management skills, and organizing their thoughts – in their ultimate success as engineers and researchers.
Nancy Barr is the Senior Design and Technical Communications Advisor for the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department at Michigan Technological University. She teaches technical communica-tion at the undergraduate and graduate level and assists faculty in creating assignments that encourage communication and critical thinking skill de-velopment in disciplinary courses. She earned a master of science in rhetoric and technical communication from MTU and is now working to-wards a PhD in rhetoric, theory, and culture at MTU. Her research fo-cuses on graduate teaching assistant training and the use of portfolios to assess curriculum changes.