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The Role of Industry In reviewing the role of industry in the continuing education of engi- neers, it becomes important to define the kind of continuing education that is involved. The continuing education process should not be con- sidered synonymous with continued learning; rather, it is merely one part of the continued learning process. Also, it is not necessarily all of the education an engineer receives while an employee because many individuals continue their learning in a variety of directions. Continu- ing education, then, must be associated with the education and train- ing used to provide knowledge and skills that keep engineers productive in their fields. {Whether to include in this definition advanced degree programs, in which one may enroll after finishing formal education and entering industry, presents something of a quan- dary. Some education of this type meets the criteria for continuing education, and some is intended strictly to complete a formal process of education. ~ In this chapter the panel is more concerned with the use of continuing education by industry to enhance the engineer's ability to contribute: by promoting creativity, by preventing obsolesence in an era of technological change, or by imparting new skills so that the engineer becomes more flexible and can contribute in areas of need. In short, the purpose of continuing education is to develop an engineer's problem-solving abilities. A basic goal of this study {see the continuing education model in the Introduction) was to determine the extent to which continuing educa- tion can play a role in increasing the productivity of engineers in indus 38

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THE ROLE OF IND US TR Y 39 try and thereby provide the nation with more cost-effective technical resources. A report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology SMITH {1982) confirmed the importance of this role and concluded the following: The future vitality and competitiveness of U.S. high-technology industry depend on widespread acceptance of lifelong formal educa- tional activities as integral components of productive engineering work. Providing appropriate lifelong educational experiences for engi- neers at the workplace requires close collaboration among engineering schools, industry, and professional societies. The development of lifelong education for working engineers and the creation of the necessary supporting environment at the workplace will require the leadership and personal attention of top executives in industry and in academia. The study was conducted by a group composed of representatives from both industry and academia. It is often quoted when continuing education for engineers is discussed and has, in a way, become the support on which new continuing education efforts are being built. The study's recommendations, directed to the engineering community and to MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering, included the sugges- tion that industrial organizations take positive steps to encourage and support formal study on the part of all engineers, whether working at the bench or managing large projects. Other documents testify to the value of continuing education. For example, Biedenbach; 1978) states: "Over the past decade, continuing education has become vitally important for everyone in any engineer- ing field." He goes on to say that although most people say they learn best on the job, this may not necessarily be the case. Houle; 1972) refers to education as "a way of life for most medium and large companies in the United States . " A study by the Mitre Corporation {Troutman, 19 7 8 ~ estimated that more than $1 billion was being spent annually on employees' technical education and training. The American Society for Training and Development {ASTER estimates that in 1983 industry spent about $30 billion and government about $10 billion for all train- ing and education. While these estimates confirm that a great deal of money is spent on these activities, the huge disparity between them- notwithstanding the five-year time lag illustrates the difficulty of accurately assessing the amount. The main problem appears to be dif- ferences in the ways such data are reported. ~

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40 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS Industrial Continuing Education Programs Most large U.S. companies do have continuing education programs. It is very difficult, however to determine the extent to which the pro- grams fit the definition discussed above for continuing education of engineers. Furthermore, because both universities and industry define continuing education to fit their own perceptions, it is virtually impos- sible to estimate the costs or effectiveness of these programs. R. A. Svenson & Associates, Inc. [1983J, conducted a major study for the American Society for Engineering Education of the extent to which performance-based objectives are being used in industrial training pro- grams and the benefits of such programs. The study team interviewed 13 companies, 5 in person and 8 by telephone. The interviews covered the historical aspects and organizational structure of the programs at the various companies, as well as their nature and extent. The report contains the results of these interviews. One conclusion that can be drawn from the data is that companies' programs and their goals vary greatly, although there is common agreement that training must improve job performance and be efficient and flexible. Types of Programs Significant company programs of continuing education for engineers that have been reported in the literature are discussed below. The Mitre Corporation {Troutman, 1978J is a not-for-profit contract research center that works solely on government contracts. To meet its telecommunications goals, the corporation developed an in-house pro- gram to teach systems engineering. The program used a broad systems approach that included problem solving and case studies. It was con- ducted during working hours and integrated six learning areas: the systems process, human communications, user considerations, tech- nology, nontechnical factors, and trade-off skills. This approach was designed to develop such skills as managing all or parts of the systems engineering process, handling the various resource roles on a systems team, presenting ideas orally and in writing to management and associ- ates, listening, evaluating, reading, and abstracting effectively, and dealing with all kinds of people. As reported by Grassl {1976J, Siemens has developed a worldwide continuing education program that in the mid- 1 970s consisted of 5, 000 courses in which 50,000 employees participated. Two-thirds of the company's 300,000 employees are located in West Germany. At the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, an industry-like facility, Cassell; 1976J reports that the continuing education program has two

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THE ROLE OF INDUSTRY 41 major goals: to provide opportunities for each individual to maintain competence in scientific and technological areas, and to provide the stimulus that will enable engineers to remain creative in their contri- butions to the laboratory programs. Instructors are chosen from the engineering staff in specific subject matter areas. Originally, students were drawn from the ranks of more mature employees whose degrees were 10 to 25 years old. The program includes courses presented by employees and designed specifically to meet laboratory needs, offsite courses in specialized technical or administrative areas, degree-seeking university courses at either the graduate or undergraduate level) confer- ences or seminars, and specific learning assignments. The laboratory program emphasizes planning for educational goals, and these educational plans are usually based on performance in the present assignment, job expectations, interest of the individual, and the needs of the laboratory. The program is linked lay television to three major California campuses [Davis, Berkeley, and Stanford), and stu- dents are permitted a maximum of six hours off per week to pursue educational activities. Career planning sessions and workshops are also held to help both employees and departments establish reasonable and achievable goals. Koves jl976) reports on the continuing education program of the IBM General Systems Division at Rochester, Minnesota. He makes the point that continuing education has been part of the IBM organization since its beginning. Most of its educational programs are organized on company time, and the corporation is committed to providing an envi- ronment that supports personal growth and learning, which includes discussion programs such as the familiar Great Books course. In addi- tion, the Systems ResearchInstitute, in New York City, offers graduate- level education programs in the computer sciences. Its major objective is to provide qualified employees with a graduate-level program to meet the current and future personnel needs of IBM. The local Rochester program is an advanced study program designed to increase knowledge and maintain a high level of technical compe- tence through courses. Special programs include a course entitled "Analysis of Great Ideas," part of the Great Books program. Also included is a two-week concentrated course for engineering managers on modern technical concepts. Its aim is to revitalize the manager's technical knowledge, as well as bringing him/her up to date on the newest advances in technology. Burgwardt jl976) reports on the use of individualized instructional systems at Xerox and claims that these systems provide more flexibil- ity for learning.

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42 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS The continuing education program at Bell Labs was described by Wischmeyer { 1976J. According to Wischmeyer, continuing education in the research and development environment is simply learning that is organized in ways that best support the practicing professional in keep- ing abreast of the latest technological advances. It is education that takes place after the attainment of the highest degree. At Bell Labs, some of the objectives of continuing education include antiobsoles- cence, professional growth {to correct any "blind spots" in an engi- neer's traditional background, increased technical breadth, career redirection, and technical renovation. The faculty for the Bell program is drawn from its own personnel those currently working in the areas being taught. The long-range student body does not change. Yamada [ 1979J, in describing the continuing education philosophy at Hitachi, states that continuing education provides the ability to imple- ment creativity, as well as to simply absorb new technologies. The program is based on the following precepts: social trust, pursuit of the highest technological levels, and strong team spirit. The curricula are designed to impart engineering, philosophy, science, and other relevant knowledge. The formal training sequence includes prestudy by corre- spondence; classwork, homework, and case studies at a laboratory location; and follow-up every two years thereafter. The aim of the Hitachi continuing education program is to promote creativity by elevating, broadening, and refreshing. Participants are both junior and senior engineers of the Hitachi group; their average age is 35. The program is comprehensive and includes both technical and nontechnical skills. The classroom time is initially four weeks, fol- lowed by three days every two years. An in-house program at Exxon Research and Engineering Company was described by Hofstader jl983J. The program provides employees with graduate level education in technological areas of interest to Exxon's overall business. It is interdisciplinary in that it integrates the various sciences and engineering technologies into curriculum areas. The program includes a relationship with Columbia University, which offers graduate degree credits for certain courses developed as part of the technical education program. The courses in the Exxon program have been developed internally and are designed to meet the needs of employees at all levels of the technical population. The major goals of the program are to reinforce individual growth and catalyze the devel- opment of new technology. All courses are offered on company time. Texas Instruments' continuing technical education programs have been designed for the specific benefit of employees with at least 10 years of service with the company. The courses were selected to expose

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THE ROLE OF IND US TR Y 43 these employees to subjects that were not generally taught 10 years previously. In this sense, the effort is a renewing program as much as it . . . IS a contmumg program. Goals andAssessments Company education programs vary from those that have been totally developed internally to those that depend solely on outside courses. Based on the goals and objectives of the programs, each scheme has merit, but it is difficult to compare them by means of any objective measurement. It is evident that no standard goals for continuing educa- tion have been developed by industry. With objectives as broad as indi- vidual growth to those as narrow as being sure that every member of a staff becomes familiar with a specific computer language, it is no won- der that it is difficult, at best, to assess with any validity what is going . . . on in contmumg education. More important, perhaps, is determining whether any of the pro- grams are really designed to meet the goals of lifelong education for engineers, to be effected through the cooperation of industry, aca- demia, and professional societies, as called for by the MIT study t 1982J. University/Industry Interfaces Many continuing education programs are a direct result of univer- sity/industry interfaces. Goel {1978) described a program developed at the School of Advanced Technology, State University of New York- Binghamton, to help industrial scientists and engineers remain up to date in a rapidly changing technological environment. The modular program, called Comet j Concepts of Modern Engineering and Technol- ogy), is a 10-day course focusing on concepts and applications in which 30 topics are covered by 20 authorities. These topics fall into the fol- lowing categories: technologies with future impacts; updating of active technologies; "soft" technologies for problem solving, modeling, and decision making; and cultural topics that may not be directly relevant but are important to the development of the "whole" person. The Comet program was used as the "starter," but several other courses followed, based on identified needs, and a hierarchical approach was developed. Other universities across the country have also developed relation- ships with industries and provide general, as well as specific, programs to meet their needs. Technology, especially in the form of video, has been a major contributor in bringing education from the university to

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44 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS industry. And programs at most major universities permit employees to obtain advanced degrees and continue their education at the work- place. These programs have grown by leaps and bounds during the past several years, even to the extent that degrees will be obtainable by taking a variety of these courses from several universities through The Association for Media-Based Continuing Education for Engineers, Inc. This organization is described later in the section on the universities' role in continuing education. J Effectiveness of Continuing Education There is little doubt that continuing education offers a direct payoff to industry, but measuring its effectiveness is difficult. Part of the difficulty is the absence of clear objectives against which to measure accomplishment. Several studies have addressed the question of the relationship of job performance to the time spent in continuing educa tion. A maj or study by Genesys Systems, Inc . ; Morris, 1 9 7 8b, 1 9 7 9 a, b I, surveyed personnel from four large engineering firms to study the rela- tionship between continuing education and job performance. The study involved 396 engineers who participated on a voluntary basis. Overall, the results indicated that continuing education is related to job performance and that both management courses and technical courses led to higher earnings, with technical courses having the greatest impact. A slight negative correlation was found, however, between participation in technical courses and progression in management. Because this study looked at the engineer directly, the goals of the individual were being studied, as opposed to the goals of the employers. Kaufman; 1978a) conducted a longitudinal study of the relationship of participation in continuing education to job performance of 110 engineers in three different organizations. His data show that the num- ber of graduate-level courses taken early in a career strongly related to job performance in research and development environments only. Engineers with poor performance enrolled to a greater degree in in- house courses, but there was no relationship to subsequent job perfor mance. Both the Genesys and Kaufman studies addressed the performance of the individual and not the performance of the organization. Although individual achievement, as determined by recognition and compensa- tion, should correlate with organizational performance, it is only a part of the organizational performance measure, a part that is at best diffi- cult to assess in terms of the value of continuing education.

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THE ROLE OF INDUSTRY 45 Yamada jl979) described an interesting procedure developed at Hitachi for evaluating the effectiveness of the company's internal con- tinuing education programs. The process uses questionnaires to mea- sure program effectiveness against the following seven objectives: Augment the respondent's ambition to learn in the future. Acquire basic knowledge and engineering technology. Recognize the relationship between the respondent's field and other fields of engineering. Provide information on the availability of experts and literature. Apply the knowledge gained in the course to the respondent's current job. Suggest future job assignments. Clarify important points in the respondent's current assignment. Organizational effectiveness can be measured in terms of the cost of labor for a given revenue level. If reduced labor cost is a measure of technical competence, then the cost of achieving that competence [through continuing education) should be no more than the reduction in labor cost. Kendrick {1983J has proposed that productivity gains in the United States during a 25-year period are the result of improved resource allocation, capital utilization, economies of scale, advances in knowledge, and labor quality or education/training. Education repre- sented about 25 percent of the total improvement. The average indus- trial productivity gain during this period was 2 percent per year. Therefore, an investment in training and education by industry of at least 0.5 percent of payroll could be justified. In fact, most large indus- tries invest 1 to 5 percent of payroll. The effectiveness of preemployment education in the engineering colleges is monitored by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. There is no comparable board for continuing education. However, the Council for Continuing Education Units developed in 1984 a proposed set of standards for continuing education, entitled Principles of Good Practice in Continuing Education. Adoption of this proposal could be a major step toward increasing the effectiveness of continuing education. This chapter has presented some of the generally held beliefs about industry's role in continuing education and its role in shaping the future of modern engineering technology. Current developments in continuing education in specific industries, the relationships devel- oped between industry and universities to provide continuing educa- tion, and some attempts to measure effectiveness have also been discussed. In each case the major conclusion is that without clearly

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46 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS articulated goals for what industry wants, needs, or expects from con- tinuing education, the true value of the programs will remain nebulous at best. No doubt goals such as retraining or teaching a new computer language or skill can be met. But even in those cases the question remains: Are the objectives being met in the most cost-effective man- ner? Where continuing education is intended to increase the productiv- ity of the engineering force, an assessment of its effectiveness becomes more difficult. The panel decided, therefore, to determine how corpo- rate leaders who have already subscribed to large continuing education programs within their companies view some of its values and how they see their educational programs being integrated into the corporate cul- ture in long-range and short-range business plans. The Pilot Study The model used for continuing education in this report {see Chapter 1) describes the process of need being translated into a more effective career. But the question must be asked: Do corporate leaders see this need, and are they willing to support continuing education to satisfy it? To explore this issue, the panel engaged a consultant, Dr. Robert Boruch of Northwestern University, to develop a pilot survey that would help assess the attitudes of corporate leaders as to the value of continuing education programs and how these programs are affected by strategic planning, engineering expertise, and companies' productiv- ity, competitiveness, and capacity to innovate. A large survey was beyond the scope of this project, so the panel sampled 20 companies in a pilot study. Company training personnel interviewed the corporate leader if not the chief executive officer, then another appropriate indi- vidual, chosen by them. This approach yielded an added benefit in that the person responsible for developing the training program would be in a position to discuss training strategies directly with the corporate leadership. The interview guidelines appear in Appendix A of this report. Although the sample is small, it includes leaders in continuing edu- cation in industry. Considering the responses in that light, rather than as representative of the views of a large group of companies, the follow- ing statements can be made: Virtually all policymakers in continuing education have technical backgrounds and most are long-term employees. These characteristics, they say, influence their views about continuing education. All respondents recognize technical change in strategic planning. Most do not incorporate continuing education explicitly into planning

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THE ROLE OF IND US TR Y 47 but depend on personnel decisions to do so. Concern about the techni- cal currency of company engineers is clear. The degree of concern depends on the availability of young engineers, on the particular func- tional area, and on the extent of the respondent's perception of the entire spectrum of development to marketing as a technical issue. About half of the respondents believe the company's productivity can be influenced by continuing education; about half say that compet- itive position clearly can be influenced by it. The remaining respon- dents cited other factors as being more influential. All respondents believe continuing education can influence innovativeness. But some are cautious, maintaining that innovative- ness itself cannot be taught. Rather, continuing education provides the tools, and the opportunity to innovate depends on the area. . "Typical career" paths are clear in only a third of the responding companies. Regardless of whether typical paths can be identified, about two-thirds of the respondents say that the path is primarily a mutual responsibility of the company and the engineer. One-third leaves it mainly to the individual. Most said that no changes are envisioned. Most companies have incentive programs to encourage continu- ing education. But the incentives mentioned e.g., tuition reimburse- ment were unremarkable. Some may even argue that tuition re imbursement is not an incentive. J Other issues that are salient for these respondents include the quality of the technical support staff for engineering. Continuing edu- cation for the technical support staff may be a factor in engineering productivity. Findings 1. Policymakers in the pilot study were equally divided on whether continuing education is a major influence on productivity and competi- tiveness. They were unanimous in their view of it as an influence on innovation. 2. Though change in technology is recognized in strategic planning, according to the results of the pilot study continuing education is not recognized explicitly at the corporate policy level. 3. The continuing education programs that seem most successful are those that are developed with a clear commitment to the company's Objectives. 4. Industrial programs vary in size, type, and complexity and display no consistent pattern. Each program responds to the company's partic- ular needs.

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48 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS 5. Methods of evaluating continuing education programs are not consistent and have not been designed to examine the benefits that accrue to the company. Those reported in the literature examine only the benefits to the individual. The lack of clear-cut objectives for the program makes evaluation difficult. For example, in meeting objec- tives, no clear distinction has beers made between graduate degree pro- grams and continuing education. Recommendations 1. Research must be initiated to develop tools for linking continuing education to the performance of engineers and for evaluating the impact of continuing education programs on the competitiveness of the organization. 2. Companies should set clear objectives for continuing education based on business plans. 3. Professional societies and other influential groups should cooper- ate in programs designed to make corporate policymakers more aware of the value of continuing education to their companies. 4. Industry and academia jointly should define their respective responsibilities in and support approved standards for continuing edu- cation.