Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Edgar A. Kelley

Second Advisor

Dr. Cassius Hesselberth

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff


The purpose of the study was to compare and critique the nontechnical curricula content of three Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree program model curricula. Curricula content areas that are similar were critiqued by employers of engineers. Model curricula importance and first year BSE nontechnical skill performance were rated by engineering supervisors. The main postulate is that differences among actual, model, and employer-desired nontechnical curricula are factors that may influence curricula change in engineering education. A secondary purpose was to investigate whether the proportion of nontechnical courses to total required courses in BSE college degree programs changed between 1975 and 1985 and how actual proportions compare with recommended proportions.

Three BSE model curricula were compared for similarities. Nine nontechnical categories were named and described using a decision rule that the category must be contained in at least two of the three models. Twenty-nine supervisors of engineers were surveyed by mail to obtain ratings of first year BSE employees' skill levels. Six of the nine nontechnical categories were rated 'often required for job performance.' The six are: (1) oral skills, (2) written skills, (3) professionalism, (4) ethics, (5) human relations ability, and (6) learning ability. Five of the six (excluding ethics) skills importance to job performance ratings differed above the.05 significant difference level with first year BSE employee skills performance ratings.

The secondary investigation indicated that in the 1980 top 10 ranked BSE college programs there was no difference between 1975 and 1985 requirements for proportion of required nontechnical credits. However, the average percentage of required credits (17%) was closer to engineering program study commission recommendations (20%) than to the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology minimum requirement (12.5%).

The major conclusion was that five of six (oral skills, written skills, professionalism, human relations ability, learning ability) BSE program nontechnical skills rated by engineering supervisors as most important for job performance were not as well performed by first year BSE employees as supervisors desired. This indicates that supervisors may expect skill improvements to take place either on the job or through continuing education. Colleges could also better prepare BSE graduates in the five nontechnical skills categories.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access