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9 Allocating Resources for Engineering Technology Eclucation The early and middle 1970s were difficult times for both engineering and engineering technology education. Enrollments had declined sub- stantially from their peak in 1966, the multiple job opportunities for graduates that had been the rule seemed to evaporate, and available funds for laboratory renovation and new equipment were much less than what was needed. These problems were particularly evident at independent colleges and universities because of their dependency on tuition income. The period saw the development of crises that have persisted, gradually becoming the status quo. One crisis, the urgency of upgrading laboratory and shop equipment, was heightened by the later upturn in enrollment. Educators were able to call attention to the substantial need for laboratory development, a need that was intensified by a national emphasis on high technology. The public was confident that the nation's role as a leader in the devel- opment oPhigh technology would open new resources for prosperity, as indeed it has. Nevertheless, the United States continues to depend on agriculture and other basic industries, industries that often deal with so-called "low" technology, such as welding, foundry, and building construction. In this context and in the discussion that follows, "low technology" is intended to imply the users of high technology com- pared to " high technology" industries as the producers of high-technol- ogy equipment. 39

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40 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOG Y ED UCATION Planning Wentworth Institute offers an example of the type of planning for both high-tech and low-tech engineering education now being used by many institutions. In 1975, a group at the institute completed a general planning document of goals for enrollment, new programs, faculty, and faculty development. The exercise did not designate laboratory and shop development as either high or low technology. "However, almost 10 years later, out of 10 areas of substantial refurbishing and develop- ment, 5 are low technology and 5 are high technology.J As planning proceeded, the dilemma of limited resources and unlimited claims on these resources remained. The impact of any allocation of financial resources on the academic programs required consideration. An arbi- trary rule of thumb was used to maintain support in two major areas: half of available funds would go toward the renovation and upkeep of buildings and utilities, while the other half would be used in the class- room and for laboratories and shops. This funding formula is also flexi- ble, however, and varies from year to year as resources and needs change. Bases for Resource Allocation For any institution there are various motivators in the allocation of resources and a number of factors must be considered. For example, as a way of dealing with in-house politics, it seems desirable for everyone to get something, but this may spread resources so thin that their impact is minimal. Indeed, the result may actually be negative if large numbers of people feel they did not get what they deserved. The strategy of rewarding and building on strength is a conservative way to ensure the role of leadership by certain departments within an institution. Many believe it reasonable to expect that the best depart- ments have the best claim on added resources. However, this notion does not leave room for the advocate of new programs and laboratories. In addition, some thought must be given to community needs as well as to the desires of the students. In the New England area, for instance, there is a continuing industrial need for engineering technicians in the areas of industrial engineering technology, manufacturing, machining, and welding although these programs are less popular with students. [Students are currently flooding computer software courses. ~

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ALLOCATING RESOURCES 41 Low-Technology Areas Institutions must decide how to allocate their resources within the categories of low and high technology. In the case of Wentworth, there are five areas of low-technology study: precision measurement, weld- ing, foundry, building construction, and internal combustion engine laboratory. Although it is true that a great deal of high technology has been used in these areas with new knowledge being generated every day, study at the undergraduate level should give the student a good grounding in the basics of these fields and some feeling for what high technology will do for them. These five low-technology areas are dis- cussed below. Precision Measurement The Precision Measurement Lab allows instructors in the machine shop to measure length precisely in a temperature and humidity con- trolled atmosphere and to introduce the vocabulary of precision mea- surement, a vocabulary that can be carried over to the measurement of any characteristic. Precision measurement is important for engineer- ing technicians. Learning how to measure length allows greater under- standing of the measurement of temperature, pressure, voltage, current, and the various derivatives such as velocity and acceleration. Welding Years ago, welding was generally added in the corner of the foundry in many manufacturing plants. This was also the case in technical schools, but gradually instruction in welding increased while instruc- tion in foundry activities declined. This reversal was also reflected in the demand for graduates in these two areas.) Introductory welding courses still include the traditional gas and arc welding activities; how- ever, Automatix robot and a variety of automatic inert gas-machine welding experiments are also part of the curriculum. In addition, whereas cutting formerly was done exclusively by oxyacetylene, now plasma cutting arcs slice through multiple layers and high conductors such as aluminum and copper. Foundry Grey cast iron foundry work was included in college curricula until about 1970. At that time, new environmental regulations made it nec-

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42 ENGINEERING TE CHNOL O G Y ED UCA TI ON essary to dismantle the cupolas, which simply produced too much smoke. Foundry work continued, however, using aluminum and the bronzes. In addition, pattern making was an integral part of the foundry course. [Today the craft aspect of pattern making has virtually disap- peared from academic programs because the patterns took too long to shape and finish. Unfortunately the new knowledge that might have increased the speed of pattern making and kept this skill in the curricu- lum was never provided. ~ As foundries were remodeled, safety, cleanli- ness, and eliminating emissions to the atmosphere received major emphasis, reflecting the same concerns that were being addressed by industry. Indeed, one of the goals of engineering technology curricula is to teach students, by means of this foundry experience, the impor- tance of cleanliness to help them in related activities when they go to work. ~ Building Construction-Carpentry Although one sees new types of machines in new carpentry laborato- ries, there are none that could be called high-technology equipment. Even the instruments that read moisture content in the lumber were available in the mid-1940s. Nevertheless, building construction-car- pentry is still an important low-technology area [this shop is one of the busiest places at Wentworth), supplying graduates to major, midsize, and small contractors for all levels in operations and management. Internal Combustion Engines Internal combustion engine courses are modified when new engines, instrumentation, and load banks are obtained. Engines are instru- mented with a variety of temperature pick-ups and flow meters wired to computers. In this case, then, high technology has entered a labora- tory devoted basically to a low-technology activity. High-Technology Areas Institutions can divide their high-technology program resources in a variety of ways. At Wentworth, for example, the five laboratory areas that reflect high technology are the printed circuits laboratory, the physics laboratory, the computer center, the computer hardware labo- ratory, and a numerically controlled machining laboratory. These areas are discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

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ALLOCATING RESOURCES Printed Circuits 43 Students in a printed circuits laboratory begin with a schematic dia- gram; approximately 100 steps later, they are ready to test a completed printed circuit board. All of the components are mounted, and the board is packaged. Current projects at Wentworth include a two-chan- nel audio amplifier, a digital clock, and an auto-alarm system. Printed circuits labs include the photographic process equipment needed to make the masks; imaging, developing, and photo-etch equipment needed to develop the board; the microdrilling equipment; and the soldering apparatus. Such laboratories reflect the major activities of modern printed circuit board manufacturers. Physics Laboratory Physics is an extremely important area for all engineering techni- cians, and the laboratory must be in keeping with what one will find in industry. The temptation is to leave the introductory physics laborato- ries unchanged because the theory and practice of what is done at the undergraduate level was probably well established prior to the year 1900. However, measurement techniques, such as using strobotacs and laser beams, have changed. Computer Center Facilities As engineering technology institutions continue to expand, com- puter center facilities become more and more important. The com- puters are used by both students and faculty in academic programs and also by the institution's administration. {The computers can often be used simultaneously by these various groups, but because of added student loads, more administrative work is done in the early-morning hours. l Computer Hardware Technology A recent addition to the laboratories at technical schools is a com- puter hardware technology laboratory. In this lab, students learn to use small computers to enhance and improve technological processes. They experiment with a variety of sensors that provide analog signals that are digitized and possibly multilexed and then processed by the computer. fin some cases, programs have been written so that a digital

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44 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION signal can be sent to the digital-to-analog black-box, which in turn gives an analog signal to drive some activator. J The equipment is primarily electronic in nature, but the sensors also include devices that measure such variables as linear and rotational velocity, strain-gauge outputs, pressure, and other readings important to civil and mechanical engineering technology. To master this tech- nology, students must learn to use and understand not only applicable software but also the items of digital hardware. Numerically Controlled Machining Because of increased interest in computer numerically controlled [CNCJ and numerically controlled [NC) equipment, laboratories and technical schools are being developed that are fully dedicated to numer- ically controlled machining. Although the machining itself can be con- sidered low tech, emphasis is placed on the design of machine parts tto take advantage of numerically controlled machining) and the actual operation of the NC machines. Conclusions As an example of these activities, Table 4 lists the laboratory and shop areas at Wentworth, the square footage of each area, the space refurbishing cost, the dollar cost of new equipment, and totals for each of these categories. This renewal is part of a program that was begun in 1975. TABLE 4 Wentworth Institute of Technology Renovation and Equipment, 1975-1983 Laboratory/Facility Precision measurement Welding/shop Foundry/sheet metal Building construction-carpentry Printed circuits Physics Computer center Internal combustion engine Computer hardware NC and CNC Machining Totals Area [square feet) Refurbishing Equipment Cost Cost [$000 ($000) 1$) 25 110 30 120 178 20 90 35 194 Total Cost 375 5,500 3,700 10,400 5,100 3,200 1,600 2,400 3,600 1,200 37,075 807 25 130 30 730 40 126 160 1,377 30 235 36 145 308 50 820 75 320 165 2,184

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ALLOCATING RESOURCES 45 When considering changes in engineering technology education, it is important to remember that low-technology, or "smokestack" indus- tries still provide a major portion of the employment for technology graduates (although some students do go directly to high-tech indus- tries J. Because of the interdependency of high and low technology (i.e., low-tech firms use high-tech equipments students of engineering tech- nology must also understand and be prepared to use high-tech equip- ment and processes. Engineering technology programs that prepare students for both of these areas- low and high technology will serve their graduates most effectively. Recommendations 1. Continuing efforts should be made to upgrade laboratories and shops, recognizing the importance they play in the education of engi- neering technicians and technologists. 2. Linkages with industry should be developed to share specialized laboratory and shop facilities both in industry and on the campus.