About the UPCP

What does the UPCP do?

We teach electrical and computer engineering students how to communicate effectively. We teach them how to write like engineers, how to speak like engineers, how to present like engineers, and how to think like engineers. We are student-centered and results-oriented.

How do we do that?

At the sophomore and senior levels (ECE 2031 and ECE 4011/4012), we work side-by-side ECE faculty to design writing and presentation assignments that reinforce course content, that are relevant, audience appropriate, and technically accurate. We teach students how to write engineering documents—proposals, application notes, recommendation reports, design reports, user manuals—not essays. We teach students how to get to the point, eliminate fluff, to be clear, concise, and accurate. At the junior-level (ECE 3005 and 3006), we give students freedom of choice, lots of flexibility, and personalized instruction to help them hone their communication skills.

ECE Master’s and Ph.D. students play an integral role in the UPCP’s success. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) from the School of ECE are trained as writing consultants who act in a dual capacity as both tutor and evaluator. The GTAs are responsible for helping students understand technical content, evaluating technical writing and presentations, and providing meaningful feedback on communication tasks.

How do we know it’s working?

We collect assessment data, we conduct routine calibration/norming sessions to ensure consistent grading across all sections and graders, we perform inter-rater reliability studies, and we use feedback from faculty, students, and industry. We are in a constant mode of self-improvement.