Professional Development Group

Mastering the technical aspects of an engineering field is only part of being a successful engineer. There are many other areas that go toward building and continuing a professional career.

The School of Engineering has established the Aba and Leja Lefkowitz Center for Professional Development to strengthen the non-technical attributes required of its engineering undergraduates. The program provides a range of experiences and training

through a zero-credit course of seminars and workshops under course number ESC000.1-000.4 with a PASS/FAIL grade. Successful completion of the course is based solely on attendance, which is mandatory for engineering freshmen and sophomores. 

Because this is a zero-credit course, failure to attend the seminars or workshops will not affect a student’s GPA, his or her ability to graduate or inclusion on the Dean’s List. However, full attendance of a semester’s seminars and workshops will result in a note on the transcript stating: “ESC000.X Engineering Professional Development Seminars and Workshops—Successfully Completed.”

The course is designed to introduce students to the profession of engineering, as well as aspects of their professional development. The Cooper Union’s CONNECT (Cooper’s Own No Nonsense Engineering Communication Training) program is an integral part of this course and provides intensive training in communication skills and awareness of the importance of effective communication in engineering. Additionally, a wide range of topics are covered in ESC000 including ethics, environmental awareness, lifelong learning, career development, interpersonal skills, workplace issues, professional societies, professional licensure, teamwork skills, etc. These topics are dealt with using methods such as case studies, role-playing and interactive activities—“learning by doing.” In addition, guest professionals, experts and alumni participate where appropriate.

These experiences help to make students aware of the importance of the non-technical skills needed for professional success. The course introduces engineering students to a number of the topics required for student outcomes (a–k) by ABET. Through this program students are given significant help in easing the transition into the workplace and ensuring success.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.