The engineer of 2020 and beyond will face a bewildering array of new technologies, appearing at a rate that will bring his or her professional qualifications constantly near obsolescence. The engineering community will face a world which is more connected than today, requiring both social and political acumen to navigate the changing world conditions. The particular factors that will dominate engineering practice and require reform of engineering education are not predictable, although an array of possible factors is already evident. This report lays out those factors the committee deemed most plausible to have an impact and thus creates a framework of issues that it believes must be considered in a discussion of the action steps for engineering education. That discussion is the subject of Phase II of this project.
A vision of the future engineer is provided by the aspirations and attributes listed in Chapters 3 and 4. These aspirations describe engineers who are broadly educated, see themselves as global citizens, can lead in business and public service, as well as in research, development and design, are ethical and inclusive of all segments of society. The attributes include strong analytical skills, creativity, ingenuity, professionalism, and leadership. We believe that engineers meet these aspirations and evidence these attributes today. The issue is how we can ensure that the engineering profession and engineering education adopt a collective vision including these aspirations and encouraging creation of an environment that promotes these attributes and aspirations in the future.