Art of engaging with the community for successful engineering projects
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It is becoming increasingly challenging to initiate, finance and implement engineering projects due to community and public opinion particularly due to environmental and sustainability reasons. Accordingly, a major field of competency for engineering education encompasses the various skills of community engagement. Community engagement is an art combining knowledge of various humanities knowledge with technical skills. This blend of competencies allows engineers be able to address issues of relevance to concerned communities in order to transform a project into a community serving one with indispensable benefits to the community. For instance, a project, which besides its main technical objectives is able to secures better roads, transportation, education and health, is a well regarded project to almost every community. While to an investor, those community beneficial aspects are merely added cost it is becoming increasingly essential to pursue community acceptance to the project. This study presents types of competencies social, analytical and managerial, which engineers need to acquire in order to be able to present a project and secure backing of the community. Competencies required include communication and presentation skills analytical approaches, interdisciplinary skills, and intimate ability to lead. This shall lead to a harmony between the community, the environment, and the economy. The paper presents the key competencies needed to achieve community engagement represented in the capacities of social observation and exploration leading to cultural appreciation, project and human management, managing and appreciating diversity and leadership. © 2012 IEEE.
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