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Defining the Engineering Community The Changing Nature of Contemporary Engineering Once the roles of engineers were fairly uniform and clearcut. On one hand military and civil engineers performed marvels in taming the continent and opening it up for development. On the other hand inven- tors and early corporate engineers helped build U.S. industrial might, providing materials and machines to make life easier and more pleasur- able. From this era derive the romantic images of the engineer: the lone surveyor in boots and Mackinaw, the wizard inventor in his workshop, and the master of the industrial dynamo. These images embodied the heroic concept of the engineer celebrated in American folklore until very recently. Throughout this century, however, the nature of engineering work has been changing steadily. The corporate engineer has come to pre- dominate, with work characterized by large project teams, relative individual anonymity, and dedication to discrete bits of technology advancement in a highly specialized field. Business itself has changed. Modem corporations are generally much larger, more bureaucratic than their earlier counterparts, and dominated by professional man- agers, often with little technical background. The global sphere of oper- ations of the modern corporation is another new factor {Report of the Panel on Engineering Interactions with Society.) Rapid technological change has also led to the greater diversification of engineering disci- plines. Today there are numerous engineering specialties, each repre 31

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32 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE sensed by a professional society and each composed of highly defined subdisciplines that may eventually emerge as separate disciplines in their own right. ~ Compounding the trend toward diversification has been the emer- gence of entire new fields of engineering because of scientific break- throughs or clusters of technological breakthroughs that offer the potential for completely new products. Examples would certainly include the invention of the transistor in 1948, which inaugurated the field of solid state electronics. Some 10 years later, the development of the integrated circuit in turn produced rapid expansion in computer science and engineering. Such developments have had an enormous effect on engineers, on engineering schools, on engineering-intensive industries, and on the way engineering work is done. For instance, not only have many engi- neers become involved in the research, development, and design of computers and computer systems, but a new toot has made possible better designs in less time. This same advance has also given rise to a new support person the computer specialist. By 1982 there were more than 500,000 of these professionals {Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1983~. Today, the emergence of the very large scale integrated circuit is about to create another revolution in the computer field as it sets the stage for artificial intelligence and other potential "fifth-generation" applications. Another emerging field is that branch of bioengineering called bio- chemical engineering {or sometimes biotechnology!. Built on scien- tific breakthroughs in genetics and molecular biology, it might seem an unlikely candidate as the basis for extensive engineering activity, but the number of companies operating in this field has grown rapidly since the late 1970s, and the number and usefulness of potential products are seemingly endless {Office of Technology Assessment, 1984a) . Some of these emerging technologies will profoundly alter the nature and practice of engineering, particularly if several gain momentum at the same time. Automation in manufacturing, including computer- aided design and manufacturing, and computer-aided engineering, are examples. Composite materials and artificial intelligence are progress- ing rapidly and are undergoing intensive R&D. Yet the nature of tech- nology development is such that technologies that initially appear ~ Some of the major currently recognized engineering disciplines are civil, mining, mechanical, electrical and electronic, computer, chemical, aeronautical/aerospace, manufacturing, industrial, petroleum, marine, agricultural, nuclear, bioengineering, engineering mechanics, environmental, and ceramic, metallurgical, and materials.

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 33 promising sometimes do not come to fruition and are abandoned, while others emerge unexpectedly. Ferroelectric technology is an example of the former; random access disk memory is an example of the latter. The impact of a new technology such as the computer is usually pervasive throughout engineering. Not only does it change the way engineering work is done in every discipline, but it can also change the amount of engineering work available. For example, the full impact of manufacturing automation cannot yet be predicted with confidence. However, it is certain that it will affect engineers as well as craftwork- ers Office of Technology Assessment, 1984b) . In addition to new fields and specialties of engineering, there has also been a diversification of engineering-style activity within the corporate framework. For example, technologists {usually holders of a bachelor's degree in engineering technology) and technicians {frequently holders of associate degrees in engineering technology) today often perform work that formerly required engineers; they are frequently qualified for many specialized or routine engineering tasks, and this is therefore the most efficient use of human resources. Conversely, engineers are often found to be doing repetitive, routine tasks rather than the creative tasks for which they are educated. The reasons for this seemingly inefficient use of resources may include regulations, automation, poor management, administrative necessity, or even individual preference. In addition, engineers often work in management, sales, and other support positions. The complexity of the overall picture thus contributes to a prevailing confusion about what engineering is and what an engineer does. Another factor in the changing nature of engineering and this is characteristic of many occupations today is that engineers enter and leave the labor pool at different times and for different reasons. An individual may enter the work force after graduation, leave it to return to school for advanced study, then return to practice in a different specialization; he or she may leave industry for a teaching position, or vice versa, or may leave temporarily to raise a family. Major shifts in demand for engineers in a certain field may bring large numbers back into engineering from other occupations or, conversely, may cause large numbers of practitioners to leave engineering entirely. Engineers also leave the field for better opportunities, to pursue other interests, or to retire. Foreign-bom engineers may be required by the conditions of their visas to leave the country. This constant flux in the engineering work force makes it more difficult to characterize accurately the engi- neering profession, to determine with any certainty who is what, how many engineers there are, and where they work.

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34 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE Characterizing Engineering's Infrastructure All these factors of change have caused a blurring of the concept of engineering within our society. Yet a clear understanding of the profes- sion is necessary as a basis for national policymaking, for fiscal and economic planning, and in general for gaining a better understanding of how the technology development process works crucial knowledge in today's world. Consequently, the Panel on Infrastructure Diagram- ming and Modeling undertook the task of developing information and tools that could improve our understanding of the engineering profes- sion in the contemporary context. Objectives andAccomp~ishments The panel asked of what components the engineering profession consists and how it functions as a system. To that end the panel formulated a set of definitions relating to the concepts "engineer" and "engineering." In addition, it developed a set of flow diagrams that provide, at varying levels of detail, a representational basis for under- standing and quantifying the dynamics of the engineering system. The committee believes that the results of this effort represent a major contribution toward achieving those goals. They have withstood sustained scrutiny and criticism on the part of the panel members, the committee as a whole, and a range of interested outside observers. Although the definitions and diagrams may need modification to accord with the specific needs of future efforts in this direction, they nevertheless provide a firm and rational base upon which future contri- butions can be built. After developing the representational flow diagrams, the pane! next attempted to fill in the comprehensive diagram with data for different years. In the process it found that the existing data bases, although numerous and extensive, are inadequate for that purpose, for reasons described later. Thus the panel was able to flesh out the diagram only partially and with considerable uncertainty. Future efforts along these lines will have to begin with the standardization and consolidation of data bases relating to engineering personnel resources. In addition to the foregoing, the panel conjectured that a computer mode! could be developed that would represent the overall flow dia- gram and thus make it more useful. Such an investigative tool could provide a controlled "what if" capability for evaluating assumptions within a low-cost study environment. However, an attempt to develop a model sufficiently detailed and comprehensive to analyze the flows

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 35 described in the overall diagram would have required resources beyond those available to the panel or the committee.2 Therefore, the panel decided to develop an interim simulation model as an aid in analyzing flows for the purposes of its study. The resulting model represents a small subset of the overall diagram. It is limited in its capabilities, and is not predictive with any degree of reliability. However, the panel concluded on the basis of its experience that such models could be useful for gaining insights and drawing broad conclusions about cause- and-effect relationships. The following sections describe in greater detail the activities and findings associated with these development efforts. Definitions As a starting point, the panel saw the need to define engineering in the broadest possible way so as to include all those activities that con- stitute the engineering function. The panel then developed the concept of an engineering community consisting not just of degreed engineers but of all those involved in engineering work, support of engineering work, or engineering education, whether they be engineers, scientists, technologists, or technicians. This all-encompassing approach pro- vides a "universe" that was deemed necessary for describing ade- quately the complex dynamics seen within engineering practice today anal anticipated for the future. The definitions follow: Engineering3. Business, government, academic, or individual efforts in which knowledge of mathematical and/or naturals sciences is employed in research, development, design, manufacturing, sys- tems engineering, or technical operations with the objective of creating and/or delivering systems, products, processes, and/-or services of a technical nature and content intended for use. 2 The National Science Foundation is developing a model that will be capable of serving that purpose in the long term {National Research Council, 1984. ~ 3 The precise wording of the definition of engineering produced considerable contro- versy within the panel and the committee. Debate focused on whether the phrase "intended for use" was strong enough to convey the basic motivation or intention of engineering. Many of the panel members felt strongly that the definition should convey the notion of optimization or economy in the design and delivery of the engineering product. Yet such qualifiers "however true or desirable) also seemed to make the defini- tion more complex and diffuse-perhaps unnecessarily so, because the intention "for use" could be construed to imply optimization directed at the needs of the user. 4 Including physical sciences.

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36 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE Engineering Community. People meeting at least one of the fol- Towing conditions: a. Actively engaged in engineering, as defined previously. b. Actively engaged in engineering education. c. Qualified as an engineer, engineering technologist, or engineer- ing technician (see definitions below) and actively engaged in such engineering support functions as engineering management or adminis- tration, technical sales, or technical product purchasing. d. Qualified as an engineer, engineering technologist, or engineer- ing technician and was but is not now actively engaged in engineering, engineering education, or engineering support. An important point is that the definition of engineering as well as the other definitions developed by the pane! is by no means an ideal- ized one. It is not meant to prescribe or judge. It is designed to facilitate the collection and analysis of data about the engineering community. Other definitions {for example, those used by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) are qualified so that they focus on different aspects of the engineering function; those definitions are thus appropriate for the particular purposes for which they were formulated. The panel's next step was to define the members of the engineering community. The definitions of engineer, engineering technologist, and engineering technician were set forth in terms that were specific but also inclusive, again so as not to place artificial restrictions on attempts to model the real world of engineering. The occupational definitions are: lions: Engineer. A person having at least one of the following quaTifica a. College/university B.S. or advanced degree in an accredited . ~ eng~neermg program. b. Membership in a recognized engineering society at a profes- sional level. c. Registered or licensed as an engineer by a governmental agency. d. Current or recent employment in a job classification requiring engineering work at a professional level. Engineering Technologist. A person having at least one of the fol- lowing qualifications: a. A bachelor's degree from an accredited program in engineering technology. b. Current or recent employment in engineering work, but not qualified as an engineer as defined above.

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 37 Engineenng Technician. A person having at least one of the follow- ing qualifications: a. A degree or certificate from a one-to-three-year accredited tech- nical program. b. Current or recent employment in engineering work, but not qualified as an engineer as defined above and at a Tower job level than that required of an engineering technologist. While the occupational definitions differ little from those employed in previous studies and reports, the notion of an engineering commu- nity that is far broader than a mere community of engineers is a distinct departure from most earlier approaches. The panel's initial examina- tion of flows of personnel into and out of activities that are decidedly engineering made it clear that individuals without formal education in engineering would have to tee taken into account, as would all those not currently engaged in engineering work but nevertheless qualified by virtue of training or experience to become active as the need might arise. In addition, technical personnel engaged in engineering support functions would have to be included. To leave out any of these catego- ries of people would, it was felt, greatly oversimplify the description of the way that engineering work is performed and engineering needs are met today. Flow Diagrams As described earlier, in order to provide a representational basis for understanding and quantifying the dynamics of this complex system defined as the engineering community, the pane! developed a series of flow diagrams. The basic flow diagram {Figure 1) provides a simple representation of the flows of people into engineering education and employment, and their eventual exit from the engineering community. The comprehensive flow diagram {Figure 2) is an expansion of the basic diagram. It depicts all the significant sources, flows, and activities of different elements of the community. InFigure2, aggregate~poolsof people {defined es "stocks") areiden- tified that make up the sources from the population at large, the various modes of educational preparation for entry into the engineering com- munity, categories and flows of people actively engaged in engineering- related work, the technical reserve of potentially active participants, and the various modes of permanent exit from engineering.

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38 ( Entry)~( ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE foreign Entrant, r ~ Cu rrentl y Em pi oyed Ponl Deserve J FIGURE 1 Basic flow diagram for the U. S. engineering community. Ex it ~ Based on the comprehensive diagram, the panel next elaborated a series of detailed flow diagrams, each of which focuses on one particu- lar "stock" and tracks allflows into and out of that pool. At this level of detail, it becomes practical to associate numbers of people with the discrete pools and flows. A variety of existing data bases {see the next section) were employed to quantify individual data elements within each detailed diagram, thereby giving a series of one-year snapshots of flows into and out of that particular pool. Figure 3 is 1 of 19 such detailed diagrams; the example shown here depicts the flows of U.S. secondary school students. The alphanumeric codes in parentheses are data-element labels. Table 1 presents the corresponding numeric val- ues for each data element in the diagram in three different years. Of course, these illustrations are not easily interpreted without a fuller explanation of their meaning. For more information, see the Report of the Panel on Infrastructure Diagramming ant! Modeling. Apart from the obvious value in having a graphic representation of a complex system, the availability of these flow diagrams affords a num- ber of important benefits:

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 39 It reduces the ambiguity involved in dealing with technical human resources by establishing a consistent, clearly defined set of relationships among the groups involved. It provides a framework for use in quantifying the various pools and flows. It permits the tracking of past events with respect to the engineer- ing community and can be used as a basis or framework for forecasting future problems. It provides a standardized mode! for studying the behavior of sub- sets of the community. As a case in point, developing the comprehensive flow diagram led to the identification of two large populations not fully recognized previ- ously a technical reserve pool and a staff support pool. These are essential and integral elements of the engineering community; with- out them the functioning of that community cannot thoroughly be understood. In addition, the development effort revealed that the engi- neering community has a greater complexity in structure and flows than has generally been appreciated. Data Bases Fourteen or more data bases, considered significant, were used to obtain data and estimates on the education and employment of groups making up the engineering community. These data bases had been compiled by a variety of national organizations and agencies concerned with technical personnel.5 While an enormous amount of information was available, a number of difficulties were encountered in using the existing data bases to derive values for the flow diagrams. One problem was a lack of compatibility among data bases because of the diversity of purposes for which they had been compiled. Lack of consistency In the definitions used by various compilers was also a problem. Because of the differing needs of data base managers, there are differences In the focus of data bases {for example, how scientists and engineers are employed versus where they are employed!. As a result, there are marked differences in measurement criteria from one data 5 The main data base sources were the Engineering Manpower Commission jEMC) and the Bureau of the Census-primarily data collectors only-and the National Sci- ence Foundation, the National Research Council, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Center for Education Statistics-all data collectors as well as interpreters.

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40 I-2 st_t,8 1 Pa ~ l ~i . l _ ~ . r - ~ J ~ outs Cal - ~ ~ ~ ~ - ~ ___ ~ ~ ~ arm Ma |~] ~ _ ~ i r Chub 14 ~ For ' '10~ ~ I - ~t . ~ ~11 - P 0 - am am- DO ~ ~+ , ~ ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE 7 Blah ~ _ r ~ _ ~ . ~ `. ~e ~ ~ , ~ 1, t ~ _' l i-. . 1 ,~r ~ ~ . - 1 1 1 _ -r _ -r . _ . ~ rid -I , Ark ~ , I FIGURE 2 Comprehensive flow diagram for the U.S. engineering community.

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY ~*, 1 ~2 fig hate P" l ~ _ my, T I T D-1 "T - R POOL my, 1 ~ 1 D4 D~ClU PCOL # ~e~a1. Ink Fly _ ~ . _ . ~0 to F-1 ~ 1 ~1' r Pa ~ ~ . , ,~ : . W 1 Lo . I, , l rl D-3 _ Oaf ho _ _ .~1-c, ~.~. 1 - i. l Dim, ~ ~ 1 1 _ . 1 . -7 l - -3 that D - ~ Daunt! ~ - B-2 Exalt A t _ J tom m- DF =~ 41

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42 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE To Engineering (A- 1 1 1 1 ) To Science/Math (A-1 1 12) Engineering Students (B-1 000) Science/Math Stude nts ( B -2000 ) -- 1 Non-Technical Students ( B-4000 ) To Technology Technology Students ( B-3000 ) Admitted ~ '1 (A-1 1 10) U.S. Graduates Secondary Students (A- 1 1 00) (A-1 1 00) a) 4- _ O 0 Hi, 0 ~l: z (A- 1 1 1 3) To Non-Technical - (A-1 1 14) To Below BS-Tech _ - (A-1 1 1 5) 0 ~1 - Tn Rninw R.~-l\IT (A-1 1 1 6 ) FIGURE 3 Flows of U. S. secondary students {A- 1 J . Coil. Below BS Students-Tech ( B-5000 ) Col I . Bel ow BS Students-NT ( B-6000 ) TABLE 1 Numerical Data on Flows of U. S. Secondary Students thousand Label Description 196019701960 A-1000 U.S. Secondary Students 9,600.014,418.015,191.0 A-llOO Secondary School Graduates 1,864.02,896.03,063.0 A-lllO Admitted to College 929.82,080.22,625.1 A-llll To Engineering 67.671.7110.1 A-1112 Science/Mathb 92.3134.9143.7 A-1113 Technology 4.811.0 A- 1114 Nontechnical 4 years plus 460. 1801.6944.6 A-1115 Collegiate Below BS-T 20.260.0150.7 A-1 1 16 Collegiate Below BS-NT 718.8363.5748.3 A-1 120 Noncollege A-1130 Nondegree College A-1200 High School Dropouts 998.0929.01,099.0 a Includes foreign students b Science/Math includes: agricultural/natural resources, biology, computer science, math, physical sciences, general science programs

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 43 base to another. There are also differences in choice of respondent j for example, individuals or households or establishments) and in the fre- quency of updating (varying from 1 month to 10 years). These differ- ences result in significant discrepancies in personnel estimates. Shortcomings of the individual data bases from the standpoint of the flow diagrams presented another problem. Overall, for example, the data bases fait to provide current information on nondegree or associ- ate-degree engineers and computer specialists. A significant number of engineers are not degree holders or are upgrades; lack of such informa- tion is particularly important with regard to technicians, few of whom hold a B.S. degree. Coverage of gender, racial and ethnic background, citizenship, and income is uneven across the various data bases. There are limited data on the flows of students between engineering and other courses of study or across engineering disciplines. Additionally, the data bases often fail to distinguish among master's and doctoral stu- dents or to specify their disciplines. Data on the mobility of students between two- and four-year colleges are also lacking. These shortcom- ings are at least partly a function of the prevailing narrow definition of the engineering community. While they could be compensated for to some extent, the net impact on the flow diagrams developed by the panel is that data elements tend to underestimate the size of stocks and flows. The unavailability of comprehensive, compatible data bases is made more disturbing by the fact that important data are not being used. An example is the Higher Education General Information Survey data, which are collected and filed by each state but not subjected to subse- quent analysis until copies of the raw data are received by the National Center for Education Statistics. These data could be put to more imme- diate and fruitful use at minimal cost to the federal government if they were digitized at the state level {perhaps with federal funding). In short, currently available data bases provide only a limited under- standing of the engineering community. Existing data were inadequate for making historical comparisons or for constructing consistent por- traits of the engineering community, past or present. To rectify this serious problem, the committee recommends that the National Academy of Engineering take the initiative to call together the various public and private data-collecting organizations to see how best to arrive at common definitions, survey methodologies, and dia- gramming methodologies. The purpose of this coordination will be to ensure to the greatest degree possible that data collection efforts result in accurate and compatible data bases that describe the engineering community and its various components in totality.

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44 The Engineering Personnel Mode] ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE As described earlier, the Pane! on Infrastructure Diagramming and Modeling developed and tested a simple computer-based mode! of the dynamics characterizing the engineering community. The mode} developed by the panel is neither econometric nor predictive, that is, it cannot take into account the impact of such external and unpredictable factors as a change in defense spending or a recession. The model merely provides a snapshot of a selected Towpath in which a change in a parameter at one end of the path produces a corresponding change in a parameter at the other end. A very restricted set of objectives was chosen for the model. Using the tenets of the comprehensive flow diagram, the Towpath selected was that for population to education to job market {Figure 4J. The mode} was limited to a relatively high summary level, and only people with degrees in engineering, physical science, mathematics, and com- puter science were included. Finally, the model was run in an open loop mode to permit easier interaction and mode! formulation. The resulting mode! can simulate the flow of engineers in the United States beginning in 1950. It is also possible to run alternative cases, thus affording a relatively crude form of forecast, but because of the restrictions set, the model cannot offer projections at a high level of confidence. {Thirty-year projections based on the statistics of 1950, for example, give results that deviate from the actual by as much as two to one. ~ Indeed, the panel concluded that the rate and unpredictability of change in technology and in the economic, political, and social spheres precludes the development of any reliable predictive model. However, such a model can offer constructive guidance for future causal studies and for the development of new educational policies 6 For a further discussion of modeling and its potential, see the Report of the Pane! on Infrastructure Diagramming and Modeling. The Support Structure for Engineering Along with characterizing of the engineering community, it is impor- tant to understand the organizational context within and through which that community functions. Accordingly, the pane! on support 6 Detailed data on the model and its structure and example runs are available on request from the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel of the National Research Council.

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY Hi: POPS LATI ON High School Graduates ~ , _ First Year College Enrol I ment 1 I _ 1 r Engineering Degrees ~- (Bachelors) Engineering Degrees (Masters) Engineering Degrees (Doctors) Total Degrees Awarded En rol I ment 1t ENGI NE ER I NG WORK FORCE _ t EXIT ~ FIGURE 4 Engineering personnel model diagram. 45 -- 1 Othe Degrees (Bachelors) l l Other Degrees (Masters) . l Other Degrees ( Doctors )

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46 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE organizations undertook to identify the types of supporting organiza- tions and the needs they serve with respect to various sectors of the engineering community. These sectors include engineering academic institutions, government, industry, and private practice. In addition, the needs of society at large were considered in terms of its ability to affect the engineering profession in both positive and adverse ways. The panel identified a wide variety of needs that exist in each of the four sectors of the engineering community and which must be met by specific types of support organizations. One finding was that com- mon support needs exist across the four sectors. There are common needs for: Maintaining technical competence through continuing education. Information exchange and ready access to essential information. Continued professional development, defined in terms of the pro- fession as a whole and in terms of individual development. Professional standards and ethics, involving on the one hand assurance that engineering is functioning responsibly and on the other a greater understanding by society of the effort of the engineering com- munity to be responsive to its needs. A great many organizations serve these and other needs of engineers, including, very prominently, the employing organizations and society itself {through government agencies, legislatures, and schools). Engi- neering educational institutions serve the needs of all sectors, not only through their primary mission of providing degree-oriented instruction but also in offering continuing educational opportunities, conducting research, and facilitating information exchange on many levels. The pane! also took special note of the role played by engineering associations and societies in support of engineers and engineering. There are over 50 such societies and associations {and more than 400 if- state and local organizations are counted). They fall into five major groups: Those focused primarily on established or emerging engineering disciplines, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Those focused on practice in a broad occupational field, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronau- tics end astronautics, and the American Society for Engineering Educa tion.

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 47 Those focused on a specific technology or group of technologies, such as the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Safety Engineers, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Those formed to promote and serve the professional and nontech- nical interests of their members, such as the National Society of Profes- sional Engineers, the Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers. Those societies formed by consortia of other societies to accom- plish different and sometimes complementary profession-wide mis- sions. Examples of these are the American Association of Engineering Societies, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Stan- darcis-setting organizations such as the American National Standards Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials are also in this category. These voluntary organizations provide an extremely wide and varied range of support functions, including publishing technical information and general professional news, presenting seminars and symposia, offering guidance and scholarships to students, representing the inter- ests of engineering in public policy forums, and providing public infor- mation about engineers and engineering achievements. A very valuable area of activity is the setting of standards, including technical standards, professional standards of conduct, and engineering educa- tional standards. The technical/professional societies have generally been very effec- tive in meeting the needs of the engineering community in particular those of their members. However, there is a concern that too small a proportion of the engineering community actually supports these efforts. Taking into account overlapping memberships, the panel made a rough estimate that perhaps only about one-third of the total engi- neering work force actually belongs to one or more societies, although many more enjoy occasional or indirect benefits from the diverse sup- port services that these societies provide. The committee believes that it would benefit the engineering com- munity if a greater fraction of engineers were members of the engineer- ing technical and professional societies. Therefore steps should be taken to enhance the attractiveness of membership. Toward this end the committee recommends that the activities of professional societies be explained more fully to students during the undergraduate years. In addition, industry and government agencies

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48 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE should encourage engineering employees to participate in the activities of the societies and should provide support for that participation. Greater industry support should come as a result of more aggressive efforts on the part of professional societies to make industry manage- ment aware of the many benefits provided by the societies to industry management as well as to the individual engineer. One area in which the technical/professional societies have had only limited success notwithstanding much effort over the years-is in communicating the nature and value of the engineering endeavor to society at large. Many of the problems that engineers must face career dislocation through sudden shifts in demand, problems of professional image and ethics, proliferating regulatory legislation, and inadequate funding for engineering education, for example are related to a poor comprehension {and even apprehension) on the part of the general public about the engineering community and its works. The engineering community to some extent has contributed to this isolation of itself from the public by an attitude of elitism and by a reluctance to discuss often-controversial and complex {as well as pro- prietary} technical matters with the media. Often, too, engineers mis- trust the motives of reporters. Yet these attitudes, however understandable, are self-defeating. Today, the public's perception of technology has become a major factor affecting the country's decision- making processes. Public attitudes toward engineering in general have become more positive in recent years, but there is no guarantee of permanency in this trend. Since the general public depends on the mass media for most of its information, any effort to improve public understanding of engineering must focus on improving media coverage. The engineering community must actively help the media in this regard. Mechanisms for improving media coverage are for the most part already in place, and need only be strengthened and expanded. The various support organizations engi- neering professional societies, government agencies, and engineering schools and corporations can broaden their existing public informa- tion programs vis-a-vis the public and the media. In addition, existing science and technology media services can be used more fully to pro- vide an effective interface between engineers and the media. Organiza- tions of the latter type exist {for example, the Media Resource Service of the Scientists' Institute for Public Information, in New York City), but are not universally used. The committee recommends that the National Academy of Engi- neer~g take the initiative to create a media institute that would pro- vide centralized coordination of a nationwide network of technological

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DEFINING THE ENGINEERING COMMUNITY 49 information sources. This institute would explicitly not be a public relations organization. It would not initiate contacts with the media; rather, it would respond to media requests for information. Punding for this network should come from four sources: the government, through the National Academy of Engineering; media organizations; engineer- ing societies; and corporations. This four-part funding could be useful for ensuring the public credibility that such a network must maintain if it is to succeed. The committee is convinced that, properly imple- mented, this approach would be effective in improving public under- standing of engineering and the engineering enterprise. Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations la. Comprehensive, objective definitions are essential as a basis for describing the engineering community and its constituent elements in general terms. Such definitions are also indispensable for accurate col- lection, display, and analysis of data about the profession. lb. To understand adequately the flows and relationships of group- ings within the engineering community, the pane! found it necessary to construct a comprehensive flow diagram. Development of the flow diagram led to the identification of two large populations a technical reserve pool and a staff support pool that are essential and integral elements of the engineering community. lo. Currently available data bases provide only a limited under- standing of the engineering community. Existing data were found to be inadequate for making historical comparisons or constructing consis- tent portraits of the engineering community. There is a strong need for a more comprehensive and consistent set of data, available on an annual basis, for use in tracking and assessing the supply and utilization of engineers. The committee recommends that the National Academy of Engineering take the initiative to call together the various public and private data-base-co]]ecting organizations to see how best to arrive at commonality in definitions, survey methodology, and diagramming methodology. Organizationalro~es can be determinedin the coordinat- ingmeeting. The purpose Will be to ensure to the greatest degreepossi- bJe that data collection efforts result in accurate and compatible data bases that describe the engineering communityandits various compo- nentsin totality. 2. The technical and professional societies have been generally very effective in meeting the needs of the engineering community-in

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50 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE particular, those of their members. Although the activities and prod- ucts of the societies are available to all, only an estimated one-th~rd of the engineering community supports these societies with their money and talent. Steps should be taken to enhance the attractiveness of member- ship in the technical and professional societies. Toward this end, the committee recommends that the activities of the societies be explained more fully to students during the ''nClergraduate years. In auction, industry and government agencies should encourage engineering employees to participate in the activities of the societies and should provide support for thatparticipation. 3. Many of the problems that engineers must face are related to a poor comprehension {anc! even apprehension) on the part of the general public about the engineering community and its works. Yet today, the public's perception of technology is a major factor affecting our coun- try's (recision-making processes. Because the general public (lepen(ls on the mass media for most of its information, any effort to improve public understanding of engineering must focus on improving media coverage. The committee recommends that the NAB tale the initiative in creating a "media institute '' that would provide centralized coordina- tion of a nationwide network of technological information sources to respond to media requests forinformation. References Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1983. Occupation Employment Survey, 1983. Fechter, A. 1984. The talent pool for engineering: Are the colleges the only source? Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Scientific Manpower Commission and the Engi- neering Manpower Commission. National Research Council. 1984. Labor Market Conditions for Engineers: Is There a Shortage? Proceedings of a Symposium held by the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Office of Technology Assessment. 1984a. Computerized Manufacturing Automation: Employment, Education, and the Workplace jOTA-CIT-235J. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govemment Printing Office. Office of Technology Assessment. 1984b. Commercial Biotechnology: An International Analysis tOTA-BA-218J. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govemment Printing Office. Report of the Panel on Engineering Interactions with Society, in preparation. Report of the Panel on Infrastructure Diagramming and Modeling, in preparation. Report of the Panel on Support Organizations and the Engineering Community, in preparation.