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5 The Role of Professional Societies No study of continuing education would be complete without dis- cussing the activities of professional societies. Since World War II, these societies on the whole have become a major, highly efficient means of technology transfer. To place them in proper perspective rela- tive to the continuing education of engineers, representatives of nine societies met in New York on January 31 , 1984. The groups represented were: American Association for the Advancement of Science {AAAS American Association of Engineering Societies {AAES) American Chemical Society {ACS) American Institute of Chemical Engineers jAICHEJ American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers {AIME) American Society for Metals jASM) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers {IEEEJ Society of Automotive Engineers jSAE) National Society of Professional Engineers ASPEN Discussion centered on the following: the role of professional societies in continuing education; their means of listing current continuing education programs and the effectiveness of such means; the gathering of program statistics; 56

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THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES and 57 the determination of current gaps in fulfilling members' needs the future thrust of societies in meeting members' needs in a world of rapidly changing technology. The group generally agreed that the professional societies fill an important role in meeting the continuing education needs of the engi- neer. In many cases the societies provide the only mechanism available to engineers for remaining up to date after completing their formal education. It was agreed, however, that several gaps exist in the societies' pro- grams, that these gaps need to be defined, and that efforts should be begun to fill them. One of the readily apparent issues is that a number of societies that do not recognize the need to develop alternative educa- tion plans for their members and to provide the educational modules and programs necessary to carry out these plans. It was also agreed that most professional groups have a two-tier age profile, a characteristic that affects continuing education offerings. Older engineers are knowledgeable, but they are not readily adaptable to new trends in technology. Also, because these people hold the power positions in the society's structure, changes in programs do not come easily. The younger age group, on the other hand, tends to lack the motivation and the means of taking part in continuing education pro- grams, though it may recognize in itself the personal need to do so. Such programs, therefore, must be designed both to motivate the older group to adapt to changes in methods and to make it possible for the younger members to participate in them. Clearly, professional societies can do more to anticipate trends in technology and build them into continuing education programs based on modern delivery techniques. While conventional delivery methods {e.g., conferences, proceedings, courses, and trade shows) will con- tinue to be necessary and useful, newer methods such as video and audio courses, program tapes, teleconferencing, and the like must be accepted and used to broaden the base of participation in continuing education of members of professional societies. Current Programs Over the past 20 years, professional societies' use of conventional continuing education programs and delivery systems has grown phe- nomenally {Appendix B ~ . Cooperative efforts with industry, academia, and government, and also with each other, have increased as well.

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58 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS Depending on the engineering, scientific, or professional group, and on the technology or the industry, continuing education/professional development programs, both over the long and short terms, have been provided through conventional systems such as the following: conferences and clinics {in depth; formal courses tonsite) and home-study courses; books, proceedings, technical profiles, briefings, tapes, newslet- ters, etc.; combined hands-on trade shows and conferences) multidisciplinary conferences and group discussions; and industry-oriented in-house training programs. The method of development of continuing education subject matter for engineers varies with its source. Examples of such sources include the following: industry driven by critical needs; standing committees' recognition of changes in technology and engineering and, therefore, in the needs of peers; discipline-oriented special committees; multidisciplinary and multisociety groups; academic, governmental, or industrial R&D grants and outputs; and targeted basic scientific or applied individual or joint research projects. Although these six sources provide the bulk of continuing education programs, they are augmented by various forms of cooperation involv- ing professional societies, industry, academia, and government. Motivation for growth in the continuing education/professional development programs sponsored by professional societies takes sev- eral forms: industrial needs short and long range; technical development of individuals beyond the completion of formal education; recognition of individuals for participation by means of plaques, certificates, awards, etc.; formal professional development and certification programs; and achievement of positions of responsibility in academia, peer groups, government interface groups, etc. The societies use various methods to recognize accomplishment in continuing education. The CEU {continuing education unit), for exam

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THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES 59 pie, measures simple participation; the CEAU Continuing education achievement unit) implies or states prior peer evaluation of the content of the continuing education offering. In addition, a number of societies provide central registries of indi- vidual accomplishment. For example, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, IEEE, and NSPE offer the capability to record and document an individual engineer's educational progress, much as the college transcript does. These methods are a decided benefit to the individual and to industry. These cooperative efforts and methods of motivation should be con - tinued and greatly expanded. Because they require the use of tremen- dous financial resources, and the programs should be self-sustaining. Development of Statistics Professional societies have substantial amounts of data on their con- tinuing education/professional development programs. At the meet- ing in [anuary 1984, survey data were provided by SAL ja general survey now being expanded and updated) and IEEE [the results of a professional development program in 34 constituent societies). Results of similar surveys were to be provided by ASM and others present. The group generally agreed that another questionnaire was needed to supply some of the statistical dimensions required for this report. Besides the general conventional statistics [e.g., conferences, pro- grams, and attendance), the panel sought the following information: profile analyses of member groups to which programs are directed; how member needs are determined; how industrial needs for engineering knowledge are determined; data on how well needs are being met; data on programs within industry, academia, professional soci- eties, and government; future trends in technology and the economy; listings of gaps in societies' programs, their seriousness, and con- templated corrective measures; evaluation of the adequacy of present delivery systems for mem- bers; and plans for programs to make cost-effective use of newer delivery technologies E.g., teleconferencing via satellite, video/audio tapes, mobile teaching units, computer-assisted education, and computer home instruction).

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60 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS Despite the studies that have been done by some societies, the group knew of no attempt to develop comprehensive data on society continu- ing education programs, members' needs, focuses, future trends, and other such topics. Earlier in this report, three societies were mentioned as making initial attempts to do so. Although time was limited, the group felt the need to update, in a limited fashion, the data available. A questionnaire was developed using the simplest of questions and the easiest format and sent to approximately 40 societies. Eleven societies responded; the results appear in Appendix C. They confirm these trends: a widespread increase in the number of conventional programs and attendance at them; growth in the number of societies with technical committee struc- tures charged with discerning leading-edge technology and presenting it to members and nonmembers alike; greater attention to member profiles, needs, and professional development; shorter lead time for program development; almost universally advancing technology in the areas served by each society; a move from parochial interests to widespread recognition of the need for multidisciplinary and multisociety approaches to program development; greater attention to formal professional development, continuing education, and certificate and accreditation programs; an indicated effectiveness of member, individual, and group recog- nition programs; and an awareness of the need to modernize delivery systems to make continuing education more rapidly and thoroughly available to greater numbers of members. Professional Societies Today Much of the content of this report was already known or suspected by the members of professional society staffs who met in Tanuary 1984. All of them are intimately concerned with professional development, con- tinuing education, and the necessary program development and deliv- ery. It is their consensus that this study is only a beginning and that much more needs to be done, starting with a large comprehensive follow-up study. Professional societies are heterogeneous bodies comprising academ- ics, scientists, engineers, technicians, industry leaders, and govern

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THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES 61 merit workers. These types of individuals are now involved in all of the societies, and they are learning to appreciate and understand each oth- er's needs, knowledge, and viewpoints and to -Nork together for their common learning and advancement. Government and industry have given long overdue recognition, support, and cooperation to profes- sional societies. One need only look at the increased professional input to governmental processes and the growing number of individuals sup- ported by industry both for membership in professional societies and attendance at their programs to understand the substance and extent of . . . . t. llS reCOgOltlOn. Finding Professional societies today differ from those of 10 years ago they are modern, aggressive, and abreast of technological change. Neverthe- less, although these organizations in recent years have sharply expanded their efforts in continuing education, they could do much more in designing and presenting professional development programs to their members. A major difficulty in doing so is the lack of solid information on members' needs, the extent of current activities, and . .. . slmllar pollers. Recommendation A focused, integrated study should be made of activities and needs in programs of continuing education developed by professional societies. Particular emphasis should be placed on: jlJ early warning of techno- logical advances by the modern means of quick delivery of continuing education; `2J computerization of member profiles and technology data banks; t3J knowledge of the extent of multidisciplinary and multiso- ciety cooperation in program development and delivery; ~4J less costly and more efficient program development and delivery; and ~5J the extent of society, academic, industrial, and governmental cooperation in raising the level of professional competence.