Monday, 7 July 2014

iTeach: Skills for Chemical Engineers Survey

A frequent issue raised by industrialists across Europe when discussing new chemical engineering graduates is the difficulty in finding candidates with the right skills and competencies as well as knowledge to carry out the job. Universities are trying various approaches to improve this situation, but to date there is no reliable and robust framework that would enable them to measure the relative effectiveness of these approaches. iTeach is an EU funded ERASMUS project bringing together academics, industrialists and professional bodies to develop such a framework. As part of their work they have produced a questionnaire to establish a baseline for required skills and competences – and are asking industrialists to get involved. The deadline for participation in the iTeam survey is 20 July.

The first step in the iTeach programme is to establish what skills, competencies and knowledge industrialists consider important and how they currently measure these in their recruitment processes. The iTeam consortium is seeking views of representatives of as many potential employers of chemical engineering graduates as possible to inform the development of the framework.

Anyone taking part in the project will also have an opportunity to receive the project’s findings and in the longer term to influence the holistic training of chemical engineering graduates and ensure they acquiring the right skills and competencies. Participants will also be able to establish close links with academic institutions across Europe to broaden their pool of high quality candidates for recruitment in the future.

Robust and objective
The iTeach project is working to develop a robust and objective framework for the evaluation of the effectiveness of delivering core chemical engineering knowledge and employability skills to graduates. As a first step, they are gathering information on the current state-of-the-art in measuring effectiveness of teaching and perceptions from academics, employers and recent graduates.

As part of this a short (10 minutes) questionnaire has been developed. The responses received will be invaluable in helping to formulate the framework, which will be disseminated widely and made accessible to all chemical engineering academic institutions.

All responses to the questionnaire will be confidential and only used for the purposes of iTeach project. Within the survey free text boxes allow respondents to expand on any of the issues described. At the start of the questionnaire respondents are asked to provide an e-mail address if they wish to receive the results of this survey and also updates on the development of this very important framework. The email address will be kept separately from any responses to the questionnaires to avoid any breach of anonymity.

The iTeach team will also be happy to share with participants the eventual framework to test in their institution.

Please feel free to pass on news of this survey to other colleagues who may be interested in participating in the questionnaire.

About iTeach
The iTeach consortium is looking to improve the training of the future generations of chemical engineering graduates in Europe. The Improving Teaching Effectiveness in Chemical Engineering Education (iTeach) project brings together six European academic institutions from the UK, France, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Portugal, Slovakia and Germany who provide Chemical Engineering degrees with professional or accreditation bodies. Alongside these academic partners the project also involves a number of employer organisation representatives as associate partners of the consortium.

Over three years the project will develop a framework to support the assessment of teaching effectiveness in delivering not only core Chemical Engineering knowledge, but also core employability competencies. The project runs from October 2013 to the end of September 2016.

For more information contact project coordinator Jarka Glassey at Newcastle University.

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