Blog Post 6 – Empathy in engineering

Nowadays, according to the National Academy of Engineering, civil engineers are asked to empathize more and more in their daily professional activities, in both technical and social tasks. Every day engineers have to engage with multiple stakeholders, design for future users, develop plans for sustainable projects, review the work of colleagues, report technical and administrative tasks to their superiors, and inform the general population, among other tasks. To tackle these challenges, civil engineers should broaden their technical expertise to social competencies such as empathy, communicational skills, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Also, while in recent years there has been a new boost of research articles and book publications about empathy, there is still little research about the connection between engineering and empathy education. The need to address this connection is highlighted by a number of studies. For example, the National Research Council addresses the need for higher education programs to move towards more holistic education that includes students working more directly on issues of contextual design, multiple stakeholder engagement, and interdisciplinary communications.


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