n South African Journal of Higher Education - Changes in teaching professional skills, including ethics, within an engineering faculty's skills development unit




This article explores the ability of Professional Communication Studies (PCS), a skills development unit, situated within the larger Faculty of Engineering, to respond to the requirements of an external standards' board and the challenges of institutional policy priorities as regards the teaching of ethics. Policy strategy at the University of Cape Town (UCT) (Conradie, Paxton and Skelly 2010) has emphasised 'graduateness' as encapsulating what students require in preparation for the challenges of professional life. Within this analysis comes an increasing focus on ethics as a key area of graduateness. The professional body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the training and qualification of engineers, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), has highlighted requirements prioritising ethics. Ethics has been situated within the curriculum for professional communication. The article concludes by summarising how changes in policy require creative engagement by the department in order to have positive and lasting impact.


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