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2 Engineering Technology and Industrial Technology Definitions The industrial technology graduate is a professional with a broad technical and managerial background in a variety of disciplines related to industry. The engineering technology graduate has the professional skills to apply scientific and engineering knowledge to specific prob- lems in the laboratory or in the field. Although the difference between engineering, engineering technology, and industrial technology is clear to the practitioners of each, there are no universally accepted defini- tions. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology ABET currently uses the following definitions: Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind. Engineering technology is that part of the technological field which requires the application of scientific and engineering knowledge and methods combined with technical skills in support of engineering activities; it lies in the occupational spectrum between the craftsman and the engineer at the end of the spectrum closest to the engineer. The 1979 report of the Engineer Team Definitions Committee of the Engineers' Council for Professional Development tECPD), ABET's predecessor, included descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of
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8 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION the engineering technician, the engineering technologist, and the engi- neer. But these descriptions have not received the exposure that the definitions of the two professions have received. Other engineering organizations and groups, such as the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the National Society of Professional Engineers [NSPE), have discussed the need for better definitions, but they have not produced new and more acceptable ones. In addition to the practitioners' problem of agreeing on an ideal defi- nition of engineering technology, there is also the problem of differenti- ating engineering technology from industrial technology. ABET distinguishes industrial technology from engineering technology by identifying differences in the educational programs. ABET's October 29, 1982, Criteria for Accrediting Programs in Engineering Technology state: Briefly, the differences between educational programs in engineering tech- nology and industrial technology include type of faculty, use of facilities, mathematics, and science sequence content and degree of specialization. More faculty members with professional educational backgrounds appear to staff the present industrial technology programs, whereas a larger number with engineering or technological backgrounds staff the engineering technol- ogy programs. The National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT), which accredits industrial technology programs, defines the area as follows: Industrial technology is a profession which requires education and experi- ence necessary to understand and apply technological and managerial sci- ences to industry. Formal education for such a career is a management-ori- ented technical curriculum built upon a balanced program of studies in a variety of disciplines related to industry. Included are knowledge and under- standing of materials and production processes, principles of distribution, and concepts of industrial management and human relations; experiences in communication skills, humanities and social sciences; and a proficiency level in the physical sciences, mathematics, design, and technical skills to permit the graduate to resolve technical-managerial and production prob- lems. The graduate may specialize in a professional field such as manufacturing, quality control, industrial marketing, transportation or construction. Typi- cal areas include advanced material technology, industrial processes, auto- mated computerized systems, production planning and control, industrial methods and control, construction project management, plant facility and management, safety, cost analysis and control, product effectiveness and industrial management. An apparent difference between the definition ABET uses for engi- neering technology and the definition NAIT uses for industrial technol-
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ENGINEERING TECHNOLOG Y AND IND US TRIAL TECHNOLOG Y 9 ogy is that NAIT has chosen to include in its definition the education an industrial technologist receives and the type of work that will normally be done by a graduate. The National Institute for Certification in Engi- neering Technologies jNICET)s uses the following descriptions to iden- tify engineering technicians and engineering technologists: An engineering technician" is one who, in support of engineers or scien- tists, can carry out in a responsible manner either proven techniques, known to those who are technically expert in a particular technology, or those tech- niques especially prescribed by engineers. Performance as an engineering technician requires the application of prin- ciples, methods, and techniques appropriate to a field of technology, com- bined with practical knowledge of the construction, application, properties, operation, and limitations of engineering systems, processes, structures, machinery, devices or material, and, as required, related manual crafts, instrumental, mathematical, or graphic skills. Under professional direction, an engineering technician analyzes and solves technological problems, prepares formal reports on experiments, tests, and other projects, or carries out functions such as drafting, surveying, designing, technical sales, advising consumers, technical writing, teaching, or training. The education of an engineering technician places great emphasis on mathematics and applied physics with intensive laboratory work in which the technician develops practical knowledge and skills. Technicians differ from craftsmen in the extent of their knowledge of engineering theory and methods, and they differ from engineers by reason of their more specialized technical background and skills. The "engineering technologist" is qualified to practice engineering tech- nology by reason of having the knowledge and the ability to apply well- established mathematical, physical science, and engineering principles and methods of technological problem-solving which were acquired by engineer- ing technology education and engineering technology experience. The engi- neering technologist will usually have earned a baccalaureate degree in engineering technology or gained considerable technical experience on the job. The technologist is a member of the engineering team which will normally include technicians and engineers and, for special projects, may include sci- entists, craftsmen, and other specialists. The configuration of technical per- sonnel possessing complementary capabilities that facilitate the engineering process is, by necessity, peculiar to each situation. The technologist is expected to have a thorough knowledge of the equipment, applications, and established state-of-the-art design and problem solving methods in a particu- lar field. An analogy. In efforts to compare engineering and engineering technology, various analogies can be made to show that each operates at a high level of professionalism, competence, and reward. Engineering technology is to engi- neering as aircraft flight captains are to aircraft designers. In society these two
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10 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOG Y ED UCATION activities would be judged as relatively equivalent, but each performs a differ- ent function. Secondary School Preparation The specific courses and levels of achievement required in high school for engineering and engineering technology are essentially the same. In addition, mathematics and physics provide the intellectual bases for both these fields. The attempts of local, state, and federal groups to improve academic achievement in the public school system will result ultimately in better work lay students at the college level. College faculties are gratified to see the "old standards" for high school graduation being reinstated, because many of the resources now being used for high school level remedial work can be used instead for college level studies. Thus, college entry levels would be raised as a conse- quence of higher achievement by students in the high schools. Although most of the attention in evaluative studies of high school education has been directed toward mathematics, science, and the liberal arts, it is clear that there must be a parallel concern for quality in vocational/technical studies. The assistance given to high schools by colleges and universities should include efforts lay institutions special- izing in engineering and technology. Those efforts could include such mechanisms as curricula review committees, guest lectures, and field trips by high school students to the laboratories and shops of nearby colleges. Recommendations 1. College faculties and administrations should endorse national efforts to raise high school student achievement levels and subse- quently raise college admission requirements for engineering technol- ogy programs by adopting more rigorous entry standards. 2. Vocational/technical programs in high school and engineering technology programs at the college level should join in efforts to upgrade the curricula, faculty, and facilities at both educational levels.