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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $109.99

288 pp.
45 figures; 1 map; 7 photos; 26 tables, 6" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Fundamental Competencies for the 21st-Century Engineer

Second Edition

A. Bruce Dunwoody, Tatiana N. Teslenko, Jenny Reilly, Patrick J. Cramond, Susan E. Nesbit and Carla S. Paterson

This indispensable guide offers first-year engineering students an accessible overview of the essential skills required of every engineer: people skills, communication skills, and project skills. Thoroughly updated, and now with new chapters dedicated to project management, leadership, and the creative process, this text is a flexible resource for various institutional approaches.

Readership : First-year students taking introduction to engineering courses at universities and colleges nationwide.


  • "Teaching engineering is much more than teaching technical expertise to students, it is about developing the competencies through applying them in a friendly environment. This is the first text I have seen that achieves this over such a broad range of relevant topics for engineering undergraduate students."
    --Andrew Maxwell, York University

  • "The information provided is equally useful for both Canadian and non-Canadian future engineers. It is a very well written book that deals with most of the situations arising at [a] modern work place.... Reader[s] will find the information on safety, ethics, leadership, design, and project management to be very useful."
    --Tanvir Sadiq, Grande Prairie Regional College

Note: Each chapter concludes with:
- Summary
- Exercises
- References
1. Introduction
1.1 A Definition of Engineering
1.2 Company Background
1.3 Mentorship Program
1.4 Projects
1.4.1 Ore Slurry Pipeline
1.4.2 Green Building
1.4.3 Run-of-the-River Hydroelectric Power Plant
1.4.4 Marine Traffic Control for the Gulf of Aqaba
1.4.5 Biogas Generator
Part One: People Perspective
2. Acting Ethically
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Outcome Objectives
2.3 Engineering Ethics
2.4 The Expansion of Engineering Ethics
2.4.1 Micro-Ethical Issues
2.4.2 Macro-Ethical Issues
3. Collaborating with Others
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Outcome Objectives
3.3 A New Paradigm
3.4 What Is a Team?
3.5 Team Development
3.6 Team Roles
3.7 Team Diversity
3.8 Global Virtual Teams
3.8.1 Trust
3.8.2 Social Media
3.9 Managing Conflict
3.9.1 Competing
3.9.2 Accommodating
3.9.3 Sharing
3.9.4 Avoiding
3.9.5 Collaborating
3.12 References
4 Leading Others NEW
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Outcome Objectives
4.3 Leadership Theories
4.3.1 Trait Theory
4.3.2 Behavioural Theory
4.3.3 Transformational Theory
4.4 Emotional Intelligence
4.5 Relationships
4.6 Culture
4.7 Gender
4.8 Leading the Individual in a Fast-Changing World
4.9 Tools and Practices
4.9.1 Training and Development
4.9.2 Strategic-Leadership Decision-Making Training
4.9.3 Mentoring
4.9.4 Rotation and Secondment
4.9.5 Performance Reviews
4.10 Inspiring Ethical Leadership
4.11 Pitch and Presentation Style
4.12 Organization and Prioritization
4.13 Effectiveness
Part Two: Communication Perspective
5. Communicating: Principles
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Outcome Objectives
5.3 The Communicative Situation
5.3.1 Contexts: Diverse, Intercultural, Global
5.3.2 Collaborative Writing
5.4 Purpose
5.5 Audience
5.6 Topic and Organization
5.7 Style
5.7.1 Structure and Format
5.7.2 Correctness and Accuracy
5.7.3 Cohesiveness and Completeness
5.7.4 Clarity and Conciseness
5.8 Tone
6. Communicating: Text Applications
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Outcomes Objectives
6.3 Genres of Engineering Documents
6.4 Media
6.4.1 Internet
6.4.2 Oral
6.4.3 Written
6.5 Patterns
6.5.1 Direct
6.5.2 Indirect
6.6 Types
6.6.1 E-mail
6.6.2 Social Media
6.6.3 Chats
6.6.4 Presentations
6.6.5 Correspondence
6.6.6 Proposals and Reports
7. Communicating: Documentation Graphics
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Outcome Objectives
7.3 Text and Graphics
7.3.1 Tables and Figures
7.3.2 X-Y Graphs and Line Charts
7.3.3 Bar Charts
7.3.4 Pie Charts
7.3.5 Flow Charts
7.3.6 Gantt Charts
8. Communicating: Technical Drawing
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Outcome Objectives
8.3 Perspectives
8.3.1 Isometric Projections
8.3.2 Orthographic Projections
8.4 Lines
8.4.1 Dimensioning
8.4.2 Sectioning
8.5 Drawing Organization and Control
8.6 Other Drawing Types
8.6.1 Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD)
Part Three: Project Perspective
9. Managing Projects NEW
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Outcome Objectives
9.2.1 Variations by Industry
9.3 Information-Gathering
9.4 Planning
9.4.1 Constrained Resources
9.4.2 Deadlines
9.4.3 Uncertainty
9.5 Implementation
9.6 Finishing
9.7 Tools
9.7.1 Graphical
9.7.2 Software
10. Designing
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Outcome Objectives
10.3 Initiation
10.4 Understanding the Solution
10.5 Creation
10.6 Assessment
10.7 Design Refinement
10.7.1 Optimization
10.7.2 Prototype Testing
10.8 Design Review
10.9 Strategy
10.10 Implementation
10.11 Communication
11. Assessing
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Outcome Objectives
11.3 Definitions
11.4 Overview
11.5 Initiation
11.6 Decision Statement
11.7 Information Gathering
11.7.1 Legislation and Codes
11.7.2 Strategic Plan
11.7.3 Users
11.7.4 Experience
11.7.5 General Public
11.8 Assessment Construction
11.8.1 Satisfaction
11.8.2 Lifetime
11.8.3 Impacts
11.8.4 Non-Quantifiable Impacts (The Story)
11.8.5 Weighting
11.9 Types of Assessment
11.9.1 Constraint Assessment
11.9.2 Qualitative Assessment
11.9.3 Quantitative Assessment
11.9.4 Sensitivity
11.9.5 Risk
11.10 Decision-Making
11.11 Validation
12. Predicting
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Outcome Objectives
12.3 Assumptions
12.4 Relationships
12.4.1 Conservation
12.4.2 State
12.4.3 Heuristic
12.4.4 Compatibility
12.4.5 Derived
12.4.6 Other
12.5 Variables
12.5.1 Exogenous
12.5.2 Endogenous
12.6 Components and Phases
12.6.1 Differential Elements
12.7 Validation
12.7.1 Units
12.7.2 Sensitivity
12.7.3 Comparison with Known Solutions
12.7.4 Reasonableness
12.8 Solution Strategies
12.9 Example
13. Creating NEW
13.1 Introduction
13.2 Outcome Objectives
13.3 Design Hierarchy
13.3.1 Functional Decomposition
13.3.2 Creation of the Component Parts
13.4 Combining Components
14. Anticipating Failure
14.1 Introduction
14.2 Outcome Objectives
14.3 Definitions
14.4 Identification
14.4.1 Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
14.4.2 Fault Tree Analysis
14.4.3 Strengths and Weaknesses
14.5 Prevention - Factor of Safety
14.5.1 Sources
14.5.2 Uncertainty
14.5.3 Consequences
14.5.4 Cost of Safety
14.6 Controlling
14.6.1 Redundancy
14.6.2 Failsafe Design
14.6.3 Progressive Failure
14.6.4 Weak Link
14.6.5 Operational Safeguards

Instructor's Manual:
For each chapter:
- Chapter overview and objectives
- Teaching aids
- Annotated lecture outlines
- 2-3 class activities/exercises
- 2-3 sample assignments
PowerPoint Slides:
- 20-30 slides for each chapter, including images from the text
Image Bank
Student Study Guide:
For each chapter:
- Chapter overview
- 5-8 learning objectives
- Review questions:
-- 10 multiple choice questions
-- 5 true-or-false questions
-- 2 short answer questions
E-Book ISBN 9780199026616

A. Bruce Dunwoody, an MIT graduate, is Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, where he researched and taught since 1985 before retiring in 2014 after winning the Faculty Member of the Year Award. The idea for a text based on a case-study-based approach was born from his many years teaching and designing courses for introductory engineering students to help them engage holistically with the profession after their school years.

Tatiana N. Teslenko holds PhDs from both Ukranian and Canadian universities, where she specialized in writing and rhetoric; her specialty is cross-cultural communication. She teaches technical communication for engineers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia.

Jenny Reilly is the program director at the Engineering Co-op Program at the University of British Columbia, which is the largest program of its kind in Canada. For 20 years she has been creating networks between engineering students and the professional world they will work in; her team has secured more than 21,000 student experiences around the globe. Her connection to both the academic and professional worlds brings balance and real-world experience to the second edition of Fundamental Competencies for the 21st-Century Engineer.

Patrick J. Cramond is a Senior Instructor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia.

Susan E. Nesbit is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia.

Carla S. Paterson has a background in the history of medicine and technology and teaches in the area of technology's impact on society.

Writing in the Technical Fields - Thorsten Ewald
Engineering Communication - Robert Irish and Peter Weiss
Making Sense in Engineering and the Technical Sciences - Margot Northey and Judi Jewinski
Engineering Your Future - William C. Oakes and Les L. Leone
Engineering Your Future - William C. Oakes and Les L. Leone
Effective Communications for the Technical Professions - Jennifer MacLennan

Special Features

  • A balanced presentation of soft skills and hard skills demonstrates the importance of pairing teamwork and communication with design and modelling in developing a successful career.
  • A recurring case study positions students in the field as participants in a mentoring program at an international engineering consulting firm, encouraging students to apply their skills and navigate relevant issues, including global cross-cultural matters.
New to this Edition
  • Three new chapters on leadership (Ch. 4), project management (Ch. 9), and the creative process (Ch. 13) prepare students for success in engineering practice and beyond.
  • More Canadian coverage with the inclusion of a new section outlining the expected skill set for graduating Canadian engineers (Ch. 1).
  • Fully updated throughout with new discussions on topics such as types of communication (Ch. 6), creating and refining ideas (Ch. 10), the effects of projects on the general public (Ch. 11), and more.
  • New chapter summaries, outcome objectives, and numerous exercises help students grasp the core concepts in each chapter.