Kozarich and Shulman both thought that students need to have some exposure to interviewing skills, which is in a sense an extension of problem solving. Shulman thought that these kinds of “employability skills” could be incorporated into the new requirement in the ACS guidelines that call for students to have a capstone experience.
Shulman also asked the panel if the salary premium that chemical engineering graduates receive compared with chemistry graduates is a result of the former having more of these employability skills. Both Palmer and Bullard agreed with that statement completely. Palmer noted that the chemical engineering graduates she hires have much more experience in collaborative problem solving and in presentation skills because those are emphasized in the chemical engineering curriculum. Bullard added that the training focus in chemistry is on independent research in a specific area, not interdisciplinary research in a team context.
Peoples noted that when a company hires a chemical engineer, it knows that it can assign him or her a problem and the chemical engineer will know how to tackle it and solve it. Chemists with a bachelor’s degree come with the expectation that they will be supervised.I think that chemists and chemical engineers are typically asked to work on different sorts of problems, but Dr. Peoples' opinion has the air of truthiness around it. I'm skeptical that it is indeed an accurate statement (especially that chemical engineers have magic problem-tackling skills), but what do I know?
UPDATE: Should I nominate Dr. Peoples' for the first-ever Banholzer Award in Truth-Telling about Chemical Employment for his opinion that B.S. chemical engineers have more Git-'Er-Done-ness than B.S. chemists? I am tempted.