Mechanical Engineering, enrolling approximately 600 undergraduates in its major and offering courses taught by about 43 faculty members, is among the largest of the twelve departments belonging to the College of Science & Engineering. The department enrolled in the WEC Program in 2006, during the program's pilot phase.
In its three writing plans, Mechanical Engineering has focused on ensuring that explicit and relevant writing instruction has been integrated into its mid-level courses so that as they matriculated into their final year, students were better able to deliver the kinds of design reports and technical communication expected of them in capstone-level projects. As a resource to all ME courses, graduate student Ben Adams collaborated with faculty members to develop, publish, and pilot three discipline-specific writing style guides: problem sets, lab reports, and design reports. For its third edition plan, faculty and instructors worked with WEC staff to create and improve rubrics for writing assessment and developed accompanying TA workshops.
Motivated by their 2019 ABET review, the Mechanical Engineering Department has engaged with the WEC Legacy Project to ensure continuous improvement in technical communication skills. The department will expand its professional development offerings for faculty and instructors, ensuring that new members of the department are acculturated to the writing emphasis of the curriculum. In addition, a comprehensive review of current writing guides will both refresh the content of the style guides and emphasize writerly choices over explicit prescriptions. The Mechanical Engineering Legacy plan was approved in September 2020.
Additional activities include: Durfee, Flash, Adams, and Applesies: "A Writing Program for Mechanical Engineering" in Proceedings of the 118th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, 2011.