Soft skills and abilities such as ABET-specified outcome item (h) [the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context], which is mandated for all engineering programs, are difficult to assess, and difficult to improve. In this paper, in the context of Industrial Engineering, we show how such outcome items can be assessed and improved. We achieve this through a continuous improvement process via changes to the capstone design course and the creation of a Kaizen course, both of which emphasize qualities important to all vested interests, including students, industrial partners, advisory board members, and faculty. Improvement in the achievement of outcome item (h) is demonstrated first. This is followed by improvement in the achievement of various other outcome items. Results of outcome item measurement are compared between both students and industrial partners. Finally, insights obtained from the experimental Kaizen course are described, and future course changes are detailed, including methods of outcome assessment.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/leslie_potter/4/