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4 Engineering Technology Education Graduate Study The growth of knowledge in the world of today and the sophistica- tion of its goods and services require that the United States raise its level of technological attainment and increase the ambient level of technical understanding throughout its industrial sector. Engineering and science rely heavily on support personnel. But even more, the technicalization of the production of goods and services increases the demand for technical personnel to apply, repair, and maintain the equipment used for that production. All of these functions are likely to require sophisticated knowledge of hardware and software in the future. The appropriate educational response to this need for technical sophistication is the development of a master's degree in engineering- related technology.~ i~ Some graduates from baccalaureate programs in technology want more depth in a specific field to provide technical support for continuing advancements in engineering. Such intellectual depths are available only in graduate programs. The personnel prepared through these programs will not only disseminate technology more broadly through the work force, they will also produce needed teachers of engineering technology. 16

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ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION 17 Teacher Preparation A constraint on the preparation of engineering technology personnel has been the shortage of qualified teachers. Many teachers have come from graduate programs in vocational education. But since vocational education is more concerned with teaching methodology than with technological content, such graduate training has been of limited value for teachers who would remain technologically current. Because engi- neering generates most technology, the best engineering technology teachers are those prepared in disciplines supported by the engineering . . socletles. Persons with graduate degrees in engineering are sometimes used for engineering technology education. But the best of them usually are more interested in the generation of technology than in its application and dissemination. In general human resources terms, using individ- uals with engineering graduate degrees for the education of engineering technology students further reduces the availability of the supply of people qualified to teach engineering. And finally, if engineering tech- nology is to achieve its own identity as a discipline in the future, it must assume the responsibility for developing its own body of knowledge and its own faculties. A debate continues about the notion of engineer- ing technology as a separate body of knowledge by those who feel engineering technology is the application and/or dissemination of existing knowledge that is neither unique nor separate. Level of Graduate Study For the several reasons stated earlier, some institutions should accept the task of graduate education in engineering technologies. They should define, through performance, what actually constitutes research in the application and dissemination of technology. Such grad- uate education should not be a lesser engineering graduate program nor merely a continuation of undergraduate education. Institutions seek- ing to offer graduate degrees in engineering technology must develop a "graduate school mentality." For example, one problem that must be resolved is admissions. Many engineering technology faculty have become accustomed to the open door philosophy of education in which all who wish to study are admitted. Such an approach, however, would undercut the purposes of graduate education. Institutions offering grad- uate study must establish rigorous criteria for admission of students to the programs, and for the hiring of graduate faculty, one of which must

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18 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION be an intense interest in contributing to the body of knowledge of engineering technology through publication. Opinions on the development of graduate degree programs in engi- neering technology are by no means unanimous, however. There are those who question the need for these programs because traditionally there has been a good match between the aspirations of students at the two- and four-year levels and the needs of industry. It is also uncertain whether universities, governmental agencies, and industry can and will support the high cost of quality graduate education. And finally, there are the questions of "turf": Will graduate education in engineer- ing technology take away some of the resources and uniqueness of traditional engineering programs? This debate will continue just as the debate goes on about which institutions and what disciplines should expand graduate programs in traditional engineering programs. Associate and Bachelor's Degree Programs S tan diardization of Curricula Faculty generally agree that associate degree programs should pre- pare students both for immediate employment as technicians as well as for continuing their education in engineering technology. (Such oppor- tunities for transfer may attract better students to associate degree technician programs.J Transfer and employment are sometimes com- plicated, however, because engineering technology curricula vary greatly in their contents and in the time spent in classes and laborato- ries. Associate degree technician programs range from 60 to 80 semes- ter hours. Some of these programs require very little formal mathematics and science; others are highly quantitative and science based. Some associate degree programs include very little of the humanities and social sciences; others balance such content with tech- nical courses. Some courses serve specific local industry needs and therefore would not have national interest. Programs that are accred- ited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology {ABET) must follow its accreditation guidelines and therefore include pre- scribednumbersofmathematics, science, humanities/socialsciences, and technical courses. In addition, qualitative guidelines are followed, providing a relatively high degree of uniformity in ABET accredited programs. The lack of standardization in many programs for technicians, how- ever, presents problems for baccalaureate programs designed for trans- fer students with associate degrees. Some baccalaureate programs do

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ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION 19 little more than provide nontechnical education at the junior or senior level. Others offer programs balanced between liberal and technical courses that take advantage of the students' maturity. The wide varia- tions in the amount of lab and class time and in the content of engineer- ing technology programs, and the difficulties these variations present to students at all levels, indicate a need for wider agreement on curric- ula in engineering technology. Class andLaboratoryHours Associate degree programs should consist of 64 to 80 semester credit hours; and bachelor's degree programs should require from 128 to 160 credit hours. Establishing such standards should help to achieve some uniformity among programs. Institutions should also establish pat- terns of program content to accomplish each educational purpose. In this way, study will match the requirements of the next level of work, and students can qualify for further study or perform entry-level indus- trial assignments without taking additional courses. Corporations and institutions should promote the Technology Accreditation Commission (TACJ accreditation of engineering tech- nology programs. TAC accreditation offers periodic external review of programs and criteria to ensure at least a minimum of curricular bal- ance and rigor. Furthermore, as a commission within the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology [ABET), TAC is in a unique position to develop guidelines that complement engineering education while maintaining the distinction between engineering and technol- ogy programs for the benefit of employers and potential students. For instance, TAC offers the following descriptions of a credit hour in the student's weekly activity during a semester session: 1. one hour in class and two hours of study or work outside class, or 2. two hours in an instrumentation-based lab and one hour of data reduction and report preparation, or 3. three hours in a studio or project laboratory. TAC also recommends that all science courses and approximately half the technical specialty courses include a laboratory, studio, or project component. Student Chapters Two popular ways of introducing undergraduate engineering stu- dents to their chosen profession are student memberships in national

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20 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOG Y ED UCATION societies and membership in student chapters that operate at various colleges and universities. Engineering technology students, however, do not have as many opportunities to affiliate with discipline-oriented societies and associations for the following reasons: The student member category of membership in a professional association is not always open to the engineering technology student because the eligibility requirement is sometimes written to exclude all but students enrolled in accredited baccalaureate engineering pro- grams. Student chapters and clubs are frequently found at institutions with baccalaureate engineering technology programs but are less likely to be found at colleges offering only associate degree engineering tech- nology programs. Establishing and maintaining a chapter or club is often dependent on the continuing enthusiasm of a faculty advisor who can interest students in pursuing extracurricular activities. Some colleges, however, do have organizations of this sort for engi- neering technology students. One campus of approximately 3,000 full- time students in engineering technology curricula with both associate and baccalaureate programs has student chapters of the American Welding Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of Man- ufacturing Engineers, and Associated Builders and Contractors. Stu- dent clubs include the Radio Club, Model Railroad Club, Solar Energy Club, and Flying Club. Recommendations 1. Desirable academic and industrial credentials for engineering technology faculty should be identified, and faculty development pro- grams should be sponsored to achieve these standards. 2. Some institutions should accept the challenge of offering gradu- ate education in technologies that will include research in the applica- tion and dissemination of such technology. 3. Technology faculty should be encouraged to publish with a focus on the application and dissemination of technology. 4. Examinations should be given in all courses with interinstitu- tional cooperation to establish national standards of achievement in basic science and technology courses. 5. Semester credit hours for technology programs should range from 16 to 20 hours.

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ENGINEERING TECHNOLOG Y ED UCATION 21 6. Whenever quantity and quality compete, the major focus for change should lie on quality. 7. Student chapters of engineering-related associations should be encouraged by the associations and faculty sponsors in order to provide students with additional contacts and activities with national societies and their representatives.