Ohio University

Faculty, students featured on United States Department of Labor's web series for Engineering Competency Model

Published: September 25, 2020 Author: Jessica Steele

Students and faculty from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology have been featured on the United States Department of Labor website’s series, Stacking the Deck for Students, for their newly developed competency card deck. Robe Professor Greg Kremer led a group of Ohio University faculty and staff with graphic design support from Colleen Carow and the Russ College communications team to develop a student-focused set of competency cards inspired by The U.S. Department of Labor’s Engineering Competency Model.

This student-focused approach to engineering competency development has taken years to develop and was created in an effort to help university students prepare for interviews, be more intentional with their educational experiences, and to prepare them for professional work.

“The Engineering Competency Model generated by The U.S. Department of Labor provided a good starting point to categorize and describe a broad set of engineering competencies, but to make the model engaging and appropriate for students required effort and significant design work,” Kremer said.

Kremer and the College of Engineering team have created a card deck with one card for each competency or ability. On one side of the card are challenges to guide students to further develop the competency and, on the backside, there are interview questions associated with the competency. This card deck has been tested using numerous approaches in hopes to be successfully integrated into energy engineering and mechanical engineering programs.

“The use of the model in education is a form of guided experiential learning in that students are challenged to take on specific tasks or roles and then to reflect and practice telling stories about the experiences to deepen their competency and build their identity as an engineer, and as a bonus develop their abilities to interview,” Kremer said.

Ohio University graduate Connor Renkey began practicing with the competency cards during his senior year in the mechanical engineering program. 

“I would say the competency models help during interviews. As a reflection tool, it allowed me to be comfortable with recalling stories for interview questions regarding engineering competency,” Renkey said.

Renkey is currently working for Naval Air Systems Command in the Department of Defense for the United States Navy.

“Connor is one example of the student success that has and will come with the further implementation of the competency model into engineering curriculum at Ohio University,” Kremer said.