- phase completed
- phase in-progress

In order to hardwire relevant writing instruction into its curriculum, the College of Science and Engineering's new Industrial and Systems Engineering Department engaged the WEC Program in 2013-even before students enrolled in its brand new major. As a result of the WEC Program, Industrial and Systems Engineering now offers students an interdisciplinary curriculum that will prepare them to write effectively about analytics, engineering, science, mathematics, and management and thus prepare them for work in a variety of industrial, government and non-profit contexts.

WEC resources have supported a new TA workshop about grading student writing in Industrial and Systems Engineering, a peer review and revision process applied to team projects in courses across the curriculum, and an increased understanding in the student body about writing expectations for industrial engineers. ISyE Undergraduate Writing Guide has developed a student writing guide addressing the eight most common writing tasks students face in their courses and in industry.

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Writing in Industrial and Systems Engineering

The Industrial and Systems Engineering faculty generated the following description in response to the question,* **“What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?”*

**Descriptive, **inputs; conveying processes and data.** **

**Analytical, **emphasizing the logical examination of subject(s), decisions, constraints, and objects/objectives.

**Explanatory,** conveys complex technical concepts and methods and/or large amounts of data into generally comprehensible definitions and/or instructions.

**Data-driven:**

- Data feeds models.
- Fact, not opinion, based arguments.
- Use mathematical principles.
- Logical steps.
- We use high-dimensional data sets and find what is interesting about them, as well as talk about large data sets.

**Concise, **excludes repetitive or extraneous information that could confuse or distract a reader.

**Collaboratively authored, **work is often conducted with a team that may or may not be co-located.

**Written and formatted in ways that are appropriate to the intended audience**, either technical or non-technical

Common types of writing in the professional and academic fields related to Industrial and Systems Engineering include:

- Correspondence (email)
- Presentations
- Proposals
- Reports
- Graphics and visualizations of data and processes
- Articles
- Records
- Research plans
- Brief, informal responses
- Problem sets and equations
- Executive summaries

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Writing Abilities Expected of Industrial and Systems Engineering Majors

The Industrial and Systems Engineering faculty generated the following list in response to the question,* **“With which writing abilities should students in this unit’s major(s) graduate?”*

**Minimum Requirements for Writing in the Major:**

**Describe mathematical models in words**, such that all necessary elements of the problem are included and that a reasonably knowledgeable person can create/replicate the model.

**Write mathematical models in standard forms.**

**Describe the steps of an algorithm and/or utilization of a formula in a clear, concise ****manner**, such that the algorithm or formula can be followed and applied by someone in the field.

**Explain and justify insights and conclusions of complex analyses to non-technical audiences**, such that audiences have the information they need and would be willing to take the recommended actions.

**Synthesize and summarize key points.**

**Create clear, impactful oral presentations with visual aids** (e.g. PowerPoint).

**Write project documentation intended for a technical audience containing:**

- Mathematical model descriptions
- Algorithm description
- Mathematical solution
- Other necessary technical details such that the audience is convinced of
**technical validity and repeatability.**

**Write project documentation intended for a non-technical audience containing ****a d****escription of a problem, description of modeling and solution approaches for a non-technical audience**, and a s**ummary of conclusions, insights, and recommended actions.**

**Represent themselves professionally, both in written and oral forms.**

**Appropriately integrate visual aids (graphs, networks, charts, tables, flow charts).**

**Communicate among a project team using web-based collaboration tools.**

**Create cohesive team-written documents, **such that team-authored documents read in one voice.

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Menu of Grading Criteria Used in Industrial and Systems Engineering Courses

**1. Describe mathematical models in words:**

- Describes mathematical models in words, such that all necessary elements of the problem are included and that a reasonably knowledgeable person can create/replicate the model. This includes defining notation and identifying variables used in the model.

**2. Write mathematical models in standard forms:**

- Uses standard forms for written mathematical models.

**3. Describe the steps of an algorithm and/or utilization of a formula in a clear, concise manner:**

- Describes the steps of an algorithm in a clear, concise, and complete manner, such that the algorithm can be followed by someone in the field; and/or
- Describes the components of a formula in a clear, concise, and complete manner, such that the formula can be applied by someone in the field.

**4. Explain and justify insights and conclusions of complex analyses to non-technical audiences:**

*Explains**Justifies*

**5. Synthesize and summarize key points:**

*Synthesizes**Identifies*

**6. Create clear, impactful oral presentations with visual aids (e.g. PowerPoint):**

*The presentation is...*

- organized clearly.
- practiced.
- delivered with confidence.
- appropriate in tone and formality.
- included appropriate details, given audience’s level of knowledge.

*Visual aids...*

- support the oral presentation.
- are labeled clearly.
- presented in large enough format to be readable from the back of the room.
- can stand alone, such that an audience member could understand the visual aid without the oral presentation.

**7. Write project documentation intended for a technical audience (a) mathematical model descriptions; (b) algorithm description; (c) mathematical solution; and (d) other necessary technical details:**

- Assembles necessary ingredients of project documentation intended for a technical audience such that audience is convinced of technical validity and repeatability.

**8. Write project documentation intended for a non-technical audience (a) description of problem; (b) description of modeling and solution approaches for non-technical audience; (c) summary of conclusions, insights, and recommended actions such that the text:**

- Describes clearly the problem to be solved in a project report for a non-technical audience.
- Describes clearly the modeling and solution approaches for a non-technical audience in a project report.
- Summarizes conclusions for a non-technical audience in a project report.
- Summarizes insights and recommended actions for a non-technical audience in a project report.

**9. Represent themselves professionally, both in written and oral forms:**

- Uses a tone that is unlikely to distract the target audience.
- See #6.

**10. Appropriately integrate visual aids (graphs, networks, charts, tables, flow charts):**

*Integrates visual aids such that...*

- the visual aid is appropriate to the information or concept being communicated (e.g. correct type of chart).
- all data, units, and symbols are labeled.
- visual aids are readable in the intended format (for presentations, text and graphics are large enough to be seen) (for printed reports, data is distinguishable in the prescribed printing format (Color or B&W)).
- visual aid is at appropriate place in the document or presentation and correctly labeled.

**11. Communicate among a project team using web-based collaboration tools:**

- Criterion not necessary for this ability….#11 refers more to the overall collaboration process, and could include things like meeting minutes, brainstorming documents, team communication plans, etc..

**12. Create team-written documents:**

- Is cohesive, such that team-authored documents read in one voice.

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Highlights from the Writing Plan

WEC resources have supported a new TA workshop about grading student writing in Industrial and Systems Engineering, a peer review and revision process applied to team projects in courses across the curriculum, and an increased understanding in the student body about writing expectations for industrial engineers. ISyE Undergraduate Writing Guide has developed a student writing guide addressing the eight most common writing tasks students face in their courses and in industry.