Engineering students soft skill: the extension projects role


  • Alana Santos Souza Universidade Federal de Itajubá
  • Lílian Barros Pereira Campos Universidade Federal de Itajubá



university extension; transversal skills; soft skills.


The indissociability between teaching, research and extension promotes extension activities to the same level of other university responsibilities. This is ensured by law and reaffirmed by higher education managers. One question guided this research: "What is the role of extension projects in the development of transversal skills (TS) of engineering students?" To answer this question, 19 HTs were identified in the literature as demanded by the labor market in the context of engineering. Based on this, an online survey was carried out among engineering students from the Federal University of Itajubá - Itabira campus to identify the frequency that the extension projects provided the use of these TSs. Responses were given on a Likert scale that indicated 1 - never, 2 - rarely, 3 - sometimes, 4 - most times and 5 - always. 115 students answered the questionnaire and, by analyzing the percentage of answers 4 (most of the time) and 5 (always), the most used HT were identified: teamwork, flexibility, listening, communication and responsibility, with more than 80% of responses 4 and 5. The less developed HTs were argumentation and power of persuasion, learning ability and foreign languages, with less than 40% of answers 4 and 5. This article indicates that university extension is an educational process of practice of transversal skills. And, in engineering education, this is even more important since many people believe that the classroom is a locus of exclusively technical skill development.


Ahmed, F. & Capretz, L.F. & Bouktif, S. & Campbell, P. (2013). Soft Skills and Software Development: A Reflection from Software Industry. International Journal of Information Processing and Management (IJIPM), 4 (3),171-191.

Campos, Lilian Barros Pereira & Pinto, Janaina Antonino & CampoS, Roger Júnio.(2018). Entrepreneurial and Engineering Education - a twofer proposal. In: 9th International Symposium on Project Approaches in Engineering Education (PAEE) 15th Active Learning in Engineering Education Workshop (ALE).Anais. Brasília.

Chaves, António & Basto, Diogo & Teixeira, Diogo & Pacheco, Guilherme; Cruz & Henrique; Costa & João; Pires & Nuno.(2009). Soft Skills: Enriquecimento do Curriculum Vitae. (2009). 35f. Trabalho realizado no âmbito da disciplina Projecto FEUP, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Porto.

Direito & I., Axevedo & G., Pereira, A. & Duarte, A. M. O. (2009).Competências transversais nas engenharias: comparação de estudantes do Brasil e Portugal. XL Congresso Brasileiro de Educação em Engenharia (Cobenge) Anais. Belém.

Krajcik, J. S. & Blumenfeld, P. (2006). Project-based learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences. New York: Cambridge. 317–334.

Lettenmeier, M. & Autio, S. & Jänis, R. Project-based learning on life-cycle management – A case study using material flow analysis. Retrieved from:

Lima, E. & Lopes, R. M. & Nassif, V. & Da Silva, D.(2015). Opportunities to Improve Entrepreneurship Education: Contributions Considering Brazilian Challenges. Journal of Small Business Management, 53 (4),1033–1051.

Lima, R. M. & Mesquita, D &, Fernandes, S. & Marinho-Araújo, C.& Rabelo, M. (2015) Modelling the Assessment of Transversal Competences in Project Based Learning. In Fifth International Research Symposium on PBL, International Joint Conference on the Learner in Engineering Education (IJCLEE 2015), Anais. San Sebastian.

Lima, R. M. & Mesquita, D. & Flores, M. A. (2014) Project Approaches in Interaction with Industry for the Development of Professional Competences. Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC 2014),Anais. Montréal.

Lima, R. M. & Mesquita, D. & Rocha, C.& Rabelo, M. (2017) Defining the Industrial and Engineering Management Professional Profile: a longitudinal study based on job offers. Production Journal,27. doi: 10.1590/0103-6513.229916

Mitchell, G. W. & Skinner, L. B. & White, B. J. (2010). Essential Soft Skills for success in the twenty-first century workforce as perceived by business educators. Delta Pi Epsilon Journal, 52 (1), 43-53.

Nogueira, Maria das Dores Pimentel (org). (2000). Extensão Universitária: diretrizes conceituais e políticas – Documentos básicos do Fórum Nacional de Pró-Reitores de Extensão das Universidades Públicas Brasileiras 1987 – 2000. Belo Horizonte: PROEX/UFMG; o Fórum.

Puhl, M. J. & Dresch, O. I. (2016). O Princípio da Indissociabilidade entre Ensino, Pesquisa e Extensão e o Conhecimento. Revista Di@logus, 5 (1), 37-55.

Ohland, M. W. & Frillman, S. A. & Miller, T. K. & Carolina, N. NC.(2004). State ’ s Engineering Entrepreneurs Program in the Context of US. Education that Works: The NCIIA 8th Annual Meeting, 155–164.

Robles, M. M. (2012) Executive perceptions of the top 10 soft skills needed in today’s workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4),453-465.

Santos, M. P. Extensão Universitária: Espaço de Aprendizagem Profissional e suas Relações com o ensino e a Pesquisa na Educação Superior.(2012). Revista Conexão UEPG, 8 (2),154-163.

Täks, M. & Tynjälä, P. & Toding,M. & Kukemelk, H. & Venessar, U. (2014) .Engineering Students' Experiences in Studying Entrepreneurship. Journal of Engineering Education, 4 (103), 573-598.

Torres, M. A. & Velez Arocho, J. I. & Pabon, J. A.(1997). BA 3100 - Technology-Based Entrepreneurship: An Integrated Approach to Engineering and Business Education, 738–743.Retrieved from:

Van Hattum-Janssen, N. & Mesquita, D. (2011). Teacher perception of professional skills in a project-led engineering semester. European Journal of Engineering Education, 36 (5), 461-472.



How to Cite

SOUZA, A. S.; CAMPOS, L. B. P. Engineering students soft skill: the extension projects role. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 8, n. 4, p. e684712, 2019. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v7i4.712. Disponível em: Acesso em: 26 sep. 2021.