The transition from academic to professional cultures requires that former students adjust to new forms of feedback. As students, most people expected continuous, quantitative and prompt feedback on their performance, but as professionals feedback is much more likely to be sporadic, qualitative, and infrequent. The typical approach adopted by many large, technological organizations is the annual performance review. The figures below exemplify the types of criteria against which many engineering professionals are typically evaluated.
Unlike engineering school, where students are evaluated largely upon technical, analytical (i.e., cognitive) outcomes, professional settings place greater emphasis on communication, teamwork, leadership and other interpersonal skills. In other words, performance evaluation in professional settings depends to a great extent on how supervisors feel (i.e, affective) about the employee.
For example, “Values and supports diversity” relates to the affective aspect of the brain (feelings, values), whereas “Organizes and plans work assignments” is conative. Even a cursory review of the criteria demonstrates that the emphasis in professional settings is heavily on the conative and affective, in contrast to academic evaluations, which are almost exclusively cognitive.
One of the objectives of Engineering Business Practices is to professionalize engineering students — that is, prepare them to leave the academic world and enter the professional. Accordingly, it makes sense to cross-check the learning objectives listed in the #CEE300 syllabus with the performance evaluation criteria listed above. The table below lists each learning objective and indicates how many of the professional performance criteria relate to that learning objective. Those that are best represented in the performance criteria are teamwork and communication — two topics that receive a great deal of attention in #CEE300. Moreover, all of the #CEE300 learning objectives are listed at least once in the performance criteria, suggesting that #CEE300 is designed to fulfill the overall objective of professionalization.
Twitter assignment. #CEE300 students taking Engineering Business Practices should create two tweets related to this blog post: 1) List the number of performance evaluation criteria that relate to the cognitive, affective, and conative aspects of the mind (by your own count. Some could count in more than one category), and 2) Pick one conative criterion and indicate to which action mode(s) the activity relates. (Again, it could be more than one).
Once we understand the evaluation criteria important in professional engineering settings, a few important discussion questions emerge. Use the ‘reply’ space below to post your answers to the following:
- Should students their approach to their remaining education, given an improved understanding of workplace expectations? How?
- What do the conative aspects of the criteria listed say about the expectations of the engineering workplace? Is engineering welcoming of a diverse set of conative strengths?
- Performance Evaluation (mcasile.com)
- Six Benefits of Assessing Your Current Workforces’ Behaviors (hiring-line.typepad.com)
- Ridding of the Annual Performance Evaluations (vankca.wordpress.com)
- How To Eliminate Performance Reviews In Your Organisation (barebrilliance.wordpress.com)
- 5 Steps to Better Performance Reviews (entrepreneur.com)
- From Student to Professional (iamthepdxsx.com)
- 6 Tips for Successful Mobile Video Assignments in the Classroom (chronicle.com)