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ENGINEERING E^' I~GT'^N | DQSI9n jn9 On HdOPtIVQ System Board on Engineering Education Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1995
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The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the governing board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government. This study by the Board on Engineering Education was conducted under National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council's Cooperative Agreement (No. OSR- 9344774) with the National Science Foundation. Additional contributors were the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, National Academy of Engineering, The Boeing Company, and Xerox Corporation. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 95-69924 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05278-5 Copies of the report are available in limited supply from: Board on Engineering Education 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20418 202-334-3505 email@example.com Copies are available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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BOffl~ ON ENGINEERING EDUC~10N KARL S. PISTER, Chai'^, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz PETER CANNON, Vice Chair, Managing Partner, V.R.E., Ventura, California BETSY ANCKER-JOHNSON, Vice President General Motors Corporation (retired), Chair, World Environment Center, Naples, Florida WILLIAM F. BALLHAUS, JR., Vice President, Science and Engineering, Lockheed Martin Corp. ELEANOR BAUM, Dean of Engineering, The Cooper Union, New York, New York DAVID P. BILLINGTON, Professor of Civil Engineering and Operations Research, Princeton University, New Jersey ERNEST L. BOYER, President, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, Princeton, New Jersey (until June 30, 1993) GEORGE BUGLIARELLO, Chancellor, Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, New York ROBERT P. CLAGETT, Dean (retired), College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island, Kingston JOHN P. CRECINE, President, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (until June SO, 1993) EUGENE M. DELOATCH, Dean, School of Engineering, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland AVERY H. DEMOND, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor DENICE D. DENTON, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison SAMUEL C. FLORMAN, Vice President, Kreisler Borg Florman Construction Company, Scarsdale, New York DAVID L. FREYBERG, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Stanford University, California MARIO J. GONZALEZ, Associate Vice Chancellor for South Texas and Border Area Development, Temple Foundation Endowed Professor, The University of Texas System, Austin WESLEY L. HARRIS, Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C. (until June 30, 1993) JAMES S. LANCER, Director, Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara PETER Y. LEE, Dean, School of Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo ROBERT W. LUCKY, Vice President of Applied Research, Bellcore, Red Bank, New Jersey MARK B. MYERS, Vice President-Research, Xerox Corporation, Stamford, Connecticut WILLIAM B. STREETT, Dean of Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (until June 30, 1993) CHARLES M. VEST, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge SHEILA E. WIDNALL, Associate Provost and Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (until June 30, 1993) . . .
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DOROTHY S. ZINBERG, Lecturer, Public Policy Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Uolson Members to the Boord on Engineerlog Educotlon Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems: NAOMI F. COLLINS, Executive Vice President, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Washington D.C. (from July 1, 1994) JAMES J. SOLBERG, Professor of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University (until June 30, 1994) PAUL E. TORGERSEN, President, Corporate Research Center, College of Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (until June 30, 1994) GEORGE L. TURIN, Vice President, Teknekron Corporation, Menlo Park, California (until June 30, 1994) ROBERT V. WHITMAN, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (from July 1, 1994) Stofl MARY KAYE BENNETT, Staff Assistant (until February 1994) DUNCAN BROWN, Consultant/Writer (until October 1993) ALAN E. FECHTER, Executive Director, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (until October 1994) COURTLAND S. LEWIS, Consultant/Writer (from July 1993) KERSTIN B. POLLACK, Board Acting Director 1V
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Foreword Since the early (decades of this century, when engineering programs became well established at many U.S. universities, engineering lead- ers in academe and industry have conducted periodic evaluations of the path that engineering education ought to take. The "Wickenden report" of 1 930 (SPEE, 1 9301; the two "Hammond reports," Aims and Scope of Engineering Curricula (SPEE, 1940) and Engineering Education After the War (SPEE, 19441; the "Grinter report" of 1955 (ASEE, ~ 955), and the ~ 985 report of the National Research Council's Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer (the "Haddad report"; NRC, 1985) were all landmark studies of the past that contributed a strong sense of "where we are now" and "where we ought to go" in engineering education. Because they were authorita- tive, their recommendations were often heeded when decision makers in universities and government considered policy choices affecting program directions, curricula, funding, and faculty advancement. However, one might argue that, at least in some senses, none of these reports was truly revolutionary. To a great extent, they described and reinforced unchanging principles that are basic to engineering education. It is startling to read them and recognize the consistency of many of their themes across the decades: · the need for strong grounding in the fundamentals of mathemat- ics and the physical and engineering sciences; · the importance of design and laboratory experimentation; · a call for more attention to the development of communication and social skills in engineers; v
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V1 FOREWORD · the need for integration of social and economic studies ant] liberal arts into the curriculum; · the vital importance of good teaching and attention to curricu- lum development; ant! the neec! to prepare students for career-Ion" learning. . The various reports differ mainly in the relative weight accorded these themes. However, they also reflect changes in the fundamental political, economic, and social circumstances governing each period. Thus, the Wickenden report reflected the rapid expansion of large, technology-based inclustrial organizations; the Hammond reports reflected! both the explosion of technologies ant] the exigencies of a World War; the Grinter report was a reaction to the wartime demon- stration that engineers required better grounding in mathematics ant! the physical sciences; and the Ha(lda(1 study respon(ie(1 to sharply declining engineering enrollments and sharply increasing industrial competition from overseas. The same holds true for the current effort of the National Research Council's Board on Engineering Education (BEEd), reported here. The central themes remain, but the emphases among them and the specific terms with which they are approached are different. What prompted this particular study? Partly it is that the environment for engineering is different even from that of the mid-19SOs, in some critical respects. Chief among the new factors are the end of the Cold War and reduction in the defense budget; a persistent worldwide economic challenge, with major restructuring of business and inclus- try to meet global competition; the ubiquitous and rapidly evolving applications of information technologies; a strong growth of minor- ity and immigrant populations in the United States without concomi- tant representation in engineering; the entry of large numbers of women into the workforce, also without concomitant representation in engineering; and a widening recognition of the responsibility of engineers to consider the social and environmental impacts of their work. Government programs also drive change. The National Science Foundation (NSF), which traditionally has focused on support of research anti graduate Placation, has a mandate to support under- gra(luate anti precollege education in science, engineering, anti mathematics. In the NSF's Directorate for Engineering, several engineering education coalitions are pursuing a fundamental restruc- turing of parts of the undergraduate engineering curriculum. The Engineering Research Centers consi(ler education a vital part of their mission. Outreach programs sponsored through several NSF direc- torates, particularly the Directorate for Education and Human Re
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FOREWORD . . V11 sources, offer engineering educational opportunities to women and minorities, the disabled, students from small colleges and non-engi- neering colleges, ant! high school students and teachers. The Clinton Administration's National Science and Technology Council, through its Committee on Education and Training, has developed a five-year strategic plan for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education under which the efforts of all federal agencies will be coordinated. (The NSF efforts are integral to the council's strategic plan, as are similar programs at the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.) The opening paragraphs of this foreword suggested that many of the problems in engineering education are perennial problems-"the more things change, the more they stay the same." Given the changes just described, a basic question is whether this is actually true today; that is, will engineering practice remain more or less the same in the future, or will it require radical rethinking of educational content and process to reflect the nature of new knowledge and the changing modes of its transmission, the globalization of technology, the chang- ing nature of engineering jobs and career patterns, and the changing nature of the university itself. The BEEd has come to the conclusion that, in many areas, major change in the engineering education system is incleed necessary if it is to meet the needs of the nation ant! the world in the coming century. ~ agree with this assessment, and ~ urge your attention to this report. Coming as T do from the industrial sector, T also wish to issue a special call to the nation's industrial leaders to recognize the responsibility they have to help reform and sustain engineering education. Norman R. Augustine, Chairman National Academy of Engineering
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetu- ating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineer- ing research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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?refoce The Board on Engineering Education (BEEd) is charged with identifying significant issues in engineering education; facilitating communication about engineering education needs among academic, inclustrial, and government leaders; developing long-term strategies for engineering education in the context of rapidly changing circum- stances, technologies, and demands; formulating timely policy rec- ommendations; and stimulating actions to implement the strategies and policy recommendations. To that end, in 1991 the BEEd em- barked on an effort tog · identify the critical challenges facing U.S. engineering education today; · present a vision of engineering education for the future; · develop a plan for meeting the challenges; and · stimulate a nationwide effort to implement the plan. The boar(l's goal in this effort is to achieve an engineering education system that reflects the needs and realities of the United States and the worI(1 of the twenty-first century. As a first step in that direction, following a series of meetings at which the viewpoints of a wide range of organizations anti in(lividuals interested in engineering education were heard, the BEEd prepare(1 a working paper (NRC, 1993) that provicle(i a preliminary framework for (liscussing policy, programmatic, anti budgetary alternatives. The iSee Appendix A for complete task statement. 1X
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x PREFACE BEEd presenter! the working paper in four regional symposia to engineering faculty, administrators, policy makers in industry ant! government, and representatives of both professional societies and student groups.2 Through the symposia discussions on a regional and national basis, involving many of the nation's 311 engineering schools, its professional engineering societies, ant! state and federal agencies, the board hoper! to develop a consensus document setting forth plans for adciressing the pressing issues describer! in the working paper. Following the four symposia, the board analyzed all comments voicer! during the symposia as input to its further delibera- tions, which culminates! in this report. Thus, virtually all sectors of the nation's engineering education community have participated in the development of this report and the actions it recommends, which are aimed at a realization of the BEEd's vision for an engineering education system appropriate to the next century. The board has not attempted to prioritize the many recommencled actions; such an exercise would be not only difficult but also highly subjective. instead, what was considered to be a more reasonable approach was taken by dividing the actions into two categories: those relevant to all institutions and "other possible actions for consideration." Also, four areas are singled out in Chapter as high-priority actions. ~ would point out that there are two key themes in this report that may distinguish it from other recent reports on engineering educa- tion. First, there is a broad recognition of the external context, national and increasingly worldwide, within which engineering education is conducted and of the fact that the culture of engineering education must adapt to that changing context. The second, related theme is the Beecl's strong belief that engineering education institu- lions must evaluate themselves in the context of a shared vision of the future of the engineering education system, then determine which elements of that vision can be framed as objectives that are consistent with their particular institutional mission, and finally make the necessary changes to achieve those objectives. Thus, if there is a simple catch-phrase to describe our call to action, it is this: "think globally, act locally!" On behalf of the BEEd, ~ would like to express my appreciation to the many individuals who contributed to this extensive study and who participated in the preparation of this report. Literally hundreds of 2The symposia and their participants are listed in Appendix B. Other contributors to the study, including presenters at smaller, topic-focused colloquia held by the BEEd, are listed in Appendix C.
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PREFACE - people demonstrated their interest in the future of engineering educa- tion through active participation in meetings, symposia, and colloquia convened by the BEEd. (They are all listed in appendices B and C.) From the beginning of its deliberations, the BEEd has striven to ensure that its report would reflect as wide a spectrum as possible of the views of the engineering education community. Consequently, this is truly a consensus document; the ideas and beliefs of those many partici- pants inform the report throughout. A special thanks is extended to Charles M. Vest, who chaired} the BEEd's Report Development Committee. A critical review process overseen by the National Research Council's Report Review Commit- tee contributed to the refining of the report. T would like in addition to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the National Research Council's Archie L. Wood, Executive Director of the Commission on Engineering and Technological Sys- tems, and Alan E. Fechter, Executive Director of the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel. Finally, the BEEd gratefully acknowleclges the excellent support provided by its staff members: Kerstin B. PolIack, our able Acting Director throughout the study; staff assistant Mary Kaye Bennett; consultant Duncan Brown, who (lrafte(1 a white paper to assist the board in its cleliberations; and consultant CourtIand S. Lewis, whose work in synthesizing the material clerived from the boarcl's deliberations was indispensable. Without their assistance, this report would not have been completed successfully. Karl S. Pister, Chair Board on Engineering Education
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Contents THE BOARD'S MESSAGE 2 ENGINEERING AT THE MILLENNIUM: A NEW VISION The Changing World of Engineering, 12 A Vision for the Twenty-First Century, 14 ENGINEERING EDUCATION TODAY Some Important Strengths, 19 Areas Needing Improvement, 20 Undergraduate Curriculum, 21 Teaching Styles and Methods, 25 Diversity of Students and Faculty, 27 Faculty Reward System, 31 Flexibility and Adaptability, 32 A New Collegiality, 33 K-12 Preparation, 33 Technological Literacy, 36 Continuous Education of Engineers, 37 4 ACHIEVING CHANGE Structural Aspects and Issues, 40 System Structure, 40 Implications for Change Strategies, 42 Strategy for Change, 43 x~ 12 19 40
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XIV CONTENTS 5 A CALL TO ACTION Actions for All Institutions, 45 Conduct Institutional Self-assessment, 45 Redress Imbalances in the Faculty Incentive System, 46 Improve Teaching Methods and Practices, 47 Ensure That the Curriculum Supports the Institution's Strategic Plan, 48 Expand Beneficial Interactions and Outreach, 49 Other Possible Actions for Consideration, 50 Actions to be Undertaken by Institutions, 50 Actions to be Undertaken by Industry, 52 Actions to be Undertaken by Professional Societies, 53 Actions to be Undertaken by Government, 53 Actions to be Undertaken by Government-Industry University Cooperatives, 53 Actions to be Undertaken by the Accrediting Authority, 54 Actions to be Undertaken by Other Groups of the Engineering Community, 54 Epilogue, 55 REFERENCES APPENDIX A: BEEd TASK STATEMENT APPENDIX B: LIST OF REGIONAL SYMPOSIA AND PARTICIPANTS APPENDIX C: CONTRIBUTORS TO THE STUDY APPENDIX D: TOWARD A PROGRESSIVE NEW ENGINEERING CURRICULUM 44 56 59 60 68 77
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ENGINEERING e-l I~GTl^N | DQS19nIn9 On Hd~ptive System
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