There's an interesting, brief article in The Oredigger about the importance of communicating for engineers. Though this isn't a technical writing class, we are learning how to do different types of writing and communication for different audiences. This excerpt from the piece was particularly pertinent, I thought:
"Our final product is typically a written report," adds Lauren Evans '82, president of a Lakewood-based consulting firm called Pinyon Environmental Engineering Resources. "A lot of times the work is for a client who's not a technical person, such as a banker or a real estate developer, so we have to be able to communicate our findings and recommendations to them in a way they can understand." Moreover, she says, the report has to be persuasive. It's not enough simply to present data clearly; that data must also be placed into context and shaped into an argument. In other words, rhetorical skills are important for the engineer.