An Imported Essay
Dr. Lee Harrisberger
Former President of ASS
(and an old retired guy)
This essay focuses on the absolute necessity that all engineering
education programs provide training their students in the development
and utilization of interactive skills. Fail to develop these abilities
produces failures in the developments and utilization of engineering
projects and professional success
Proficiency in interactive skills can and must be taught and developed
as a part of the engineering program. Engineering education focuses
on the learning of the technology of the discipline. It must also
focus on the utilization of that technology. The utilization of
that technology depends on the student’s use of the interactive
skills necessary to create acceptable solutions and operational
activities in their careers.
Back in the early eighties, I established a senior year clinic
that focused on the development of the interactive skills to create
an acceptable engineering solution for a client. I was amazed at
how few skills the students had. I was also amazed at how quickly
they responded to the interactive skill program. At the end of the
clinic they had greatly improved those abilities and were totally
At the end of the clinic semester they were assigned to a 3-person
team that lasted throughout the last semester of their senior year.
This team served as consultants to an industrial client somewhere
in the state. Their clients were impressed by the professional skills
they saw and received. So was I.
Here I am, 82 years old, in my 16th year of retirement (from my
100 years as an engineering professor) and raving on about interactive
skill education in engineering. The motivation came from my accidental
discovery of the huge program of Emotional Intelligence that is
surging throughout industry.
I found three books written by Daniel Goleman that expound EI.
1. Emotional Intelligence (1995)
2. Working With Emotional Intelligence
3. Emotional Intelligence (2005)
These books provide, in extensive detail, this list of the attributes
of emotional intelligence (which I call Interactive Skills).
8. Oral Communication
9. Creative Responsive
10. Self Pride
12. Negotiating Disagreements
13. Dealing with Power Figures
All three of his publications provide a resource for developing
teaching programs to create operational proficiency in these skills.
All of these interactive skills are extrovert skills… a right
brain resource whereas engineering skills are essentially a left
A student’s MBTI profile will show an inherent in-built preference
for operational behavior. The test shows that the general population
is about 50% extrovert. My clinic tests of the engineering students
showed that there were more introverts than extroverts. We also
noted that the engineering extroverts were quite low on the extrovert
The literature also shows that there is now available an on-line
that creates a persons Emotion Quotient (EQ). It determines how
well they interact (i.e. extrovert skills). The score identifies
how low or high they are in their skills. In effect, it determines
how good they are at being extrovert… or how good they are
at using interactive skills.
So, when you look at the list of 16 skills, you will have to admit
that all are valuable assets for an engineer at work. Thus, they
are as needed in engineering training as is all the engineering
technology now in curricula.
This is a NEED!!
Get on it and DO it!!