Dodson suggests adding an important fourth “C” to engineering education - context. “Think of context as ‘the messy human condition.’ Context includes politics, financial pressures, social stratification, gender and identity issues, and so on. Helping engineering students increase their social awareness enhances their ability to be empathetic and to make smart decisions.”
WPI conducted a survey of 2500 alums that indicated employers strongly believe the IQP experience translates into significant value for their companies. Employers believe the IQP helps shape world views, a sense of personal responsibility, and the professional character that allows WPI graduates to contribute to any team on the job.
Dodson concludes, “Employers know that all engineering graduates have technical knowledge, but WPI graduates also have cultural knowledge, experience working on interdisciplinary teams, and an understanding of the arc of projects – including what can go wrong. Perhaps most significantly, graduates gain an appreciation of the importance of incorporating human experiences and perspectives into the work we do as engineers.”