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1 The History of Technical Institutes In 1956, Smith arid Lipsetti stated that "although the present day technical institutes can trace their history back to the founding of the Ohio Mechanics Institute in 1828, the past twenty-five years have undoubtedly seen a more rapid development of the technical institute movement than any other quarter century. " Today, the same statement holds true, but for different reasons. From 1931 to 1956, the most significant developments in the growth of technical institutes included the Wickenden study conducted for the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education [SPEE); the accred- itation of technical institute curricula by the Engineers Council for Professional Development [ECPD); the establishment of the Technical Institute Division of the American Society for Engineering Education; the accumulation of a growing body of literature on the technical insti- tute movement; the granting of the associate's degree for two-year technical institute programs; and the establishment of the McGraw- Hill Award to outstanding technical institute educators. One of the major benefits of these efforts was the collection of data on the current status of technical institutes, allowing educators and prac- titioners to document growth and determine future directions. For example, only 9 of the 34 institutions listed in the 1931 SPEE study were predominantly technical institutes. The others were regular degree-granting colleges or universities or "industrial schools of mixed character." However, the Seventh Annual Survey of Technical Insti- 4
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HIS TOR Y OF TECHNICAL INS TITUTES 5 lutes, conducted in January 1951 by Smith and Lipsett, showed a major increase in the numbers of technical institutes: · State and municipal 22 · Privately endowed 12 · Extension divisions of colleges and universities 12 · Proprietary institutions 22 · YMCA schools 2 Since 1956 the technical institute movement has continued to grow. The most significant developments include the offering of engineering technology programs in the expanding community college movement, the "vacuum" created lay engineering colleges as they tend to shift toward engineering science, the introduction of four-year bachelor's degree programs, and the certification of technicians. [A history of the development of the baccalaureate degree in engineering technology can be found in the dissertation by Mallonee.2) Four specific areas of devel- opment accreditation, the roles of professional associations and of junior colleges, and continued data collection are highlighted below. Accreditation ECPD inaugurated its accreditation activities for engineering pro- grams in 1932. In 1945 its accreditation of associate degree programs began with visitations to the Bliss Electrical School and Capital Radio Engineering Institute, both in Washington, D. C., and Wentworth Insti- tute of Technology in Boston. Accreditation of baccalaureate engineer- ing technology programs began in 1967 with a Brigham Young University program. The fifty-first annual meeting of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (the successor to ECPD) reported that in 1983 there were 195 institutions with 731 programs being accredited.3 Associations The Technical Institute Division [the name was changed to the Engi- neering Technology Division in 1971 ) of the American Society for Engi- neering Education [ASEE) met for the first time in 1941.4 ASEE also established the Technical Institute Council Now the Engineering Technology College Council in 1962, as a parallel organization to the Engineering College Council primarily for administrators in engineer- ing technology. A review of the ASEE's annual program shows that engineering technology educators and engineering educators have
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6 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION arranged simultaneous programs of about equal magnitude. The mem- bership of ASEE is now approximately 10,000; 2,800 have identified engineering technology education as their main interest. The Engineering Technology Leadership Institute [ETLI) was estab- lished in 1976 and subsequently has met annually to provide leadership development programs to engineering technology faculty and adminis- trators. The three groups, the Engineering Technology Division (for faculty), the Engineering Technology College Council (ETCC) [for institutionalrepresentatives), and the Engineering Technology Leader- ship Institute have issues and members in common. Many concurrent cooperative activities are now planned, and a study group is consider- ing the merits of merging ETCC and ETLI. Development of the Junior College Junior colleges originally were established to offer primarily two- year terminal programs to a large proportion of their students. Cur- rently, however, many junior college programs are similar to the first two years of a four-year liberal arts program, and ample evidence indi- cates good articulation for transfer to four-year institutions for quali- fied students. Junior colleges have recognized the need to prepare youth for industry, and some now offer three types of technology related programs: ;aJ two-year terminal programs in engineering technology, [b) two-year programs designed as the first two years of engineering programs, and (c) two-year programs in industrial technology. Programs designed primarily as the first two years of engineering education are reasonably well defined. But problems of definition exist for programs in engineering technology and industrial technology. These definition issues cause continuing confusion in the categoriza- tion and reporting of enrollments and degrees in the three types of programs at both junior colleges and technical institutes. Continued Data Collection Through the efforts of the Engineering Technology College Council of ASEE, a network of state representatives has been established to report the names of institutions and their programs in engineering technology. Using this network and through a cooperative effort with the Engineering Manpower Commission, more complete enrollment and degree data can be obtained from the institutions to provide infor- mation on the current status of the technical institutes and of technol- ogy education.
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