Publication Details

West, M. & Raper, J. A. (2003). Cultivating generic capabilities to develop future engineers: an examination of 1st year interdisciplinary engineering projects at the University of Sydney. In A. Brown (Eds.), Engineering Education for a Sustainable Future: Proceedings of the 14th Annual Conference for Australasian Association for Engineering Education and 9th Australasian Women in Engineering Forum (pp. 117-125). Melbourne, Australia: Australasian Association for Engineering Education.


Looking towards the future it was commented in 1994 that the professional engineer of the twenty-first century will require a degree of flexibility and a technical skills base difficult to imagine at this time. The educational system must be responsive to that need. From this response has emerged a collection of generic attributes and capabilities that are desired of graduates upon completion of their undergraduate engineering degrees. This paper examines some of the ways in which the Advanced Engineering Program at the University of Sydney and particularly the Interdisciplinary Projects undertaken in the first year foster some of these attributes early in the university experience of high achieving students. The program offers engagement with different research groups, opportunities to develop teamwork, management and communication skills and the promotion of innovation and creativity within the interdisciplinary context, and thereby identifies a vision that could be applied to other undergraduate engineering courses in Australia

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