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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Lifelong Learning Imperative
in Engineering

SUSTAINING AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS
IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Debasish (Deba) Dutta and Lalit Patil
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

and

James B. Porter, Jr.
Vice President (retired), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

In cooperation with the
National Academy of Engineering
of the National Academies
and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS   500 Fifth Street NW   Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this monograph was developed with the input of a National Academy of Engineering advisory committee.

Work on the project was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBE-1044307 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), by the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professorship at UIUC, and by the National Academy of Engineering Fund.

The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering, or the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A PDF version is available at www.nap.edu

Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Lifelong Learning Imperative (LLI) project was initiated to assess current practices in lifelong learning for engineering professionals, reexamine the underlying assumptions behind those practices, and outline strategies for addressing unmet needs.

A project-framing workshop was organized by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in partnership with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in June 2009 to examine the issues relevant to lifelong learning in engineering. A UIUC research team then conducted a survey-based assessment of the issues identified in the 2009 workshop. Preliminary findings from the UIUC study were presented at a second workshop in October 2011 at which these issues were examined more fully. This monograph reflects the opinions of the authors based on the UIUC team’s survey analysis and learning from the discussions at the 2011 workshop.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN PROJECT RESEARCH TEAM

DEBASISH (DEBA) DUTTA, Project Director, Scholar in Residence, National Academy of Engineering; Dean of the Graduate College and Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering

LALIT PATIL, Principal Researcher, Mechanical Science and Engineering

MD. SHAKIL BIN KASHEM, Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts and Sciences (ATLAS)

DAWN OWENS-NICHOLSON, ATLAS

MARYALICE WU, ATLAS

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON LIFELONG LEARNING IN ENGINEERING

JAMES B. PORTER, JR., Chair, Vice President (retired), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

NICHOLAS DONOFRIO (NAE), IBM Executive Vice President (retired), and Senior Fellow, Kauffman Foundation

JAMES DUDERSTADT (NAE), President Emeritus and University Professor, University of Michigan

C. DANIEL MOTE (NAE), President Emeritus and Glenn R. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland

PATRICK NATALE, Executive Director, American Society of Civil Engineers

RICHARD RIFF, Henry Ford Technical Fellow (retired), Ford Motor Company

BETTY SHANAHAN, Executive Director and CEO, Society of Women Engineers

TANA UTLEY, CTO and Vice President, Caterpillar Inc.

PHILIP WOODROW, Executive Director, Merck & Co.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support for the October 2011 workshop provided by the Division of Graduate Education, Directorate of Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation through Grant DGE-1044307. They also acknowledge financial support from the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and from the National Academy of Engineering Fund.

The authors thank the following organizations for helping to recruit participants for the survey: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Society for Biomaterials (SFB), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Society of Women Engineers (SWE); AMD, Caterpillar Inc., DuPont, Ford Motor Company, IBM, and Merck; and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

The authors also thank all participants at the October 2011 workshop. The conversations and insights gained in that workshop provided guidance on the structure and content of this monograph.

Finally, the authors thank the members of the NAE organizing committee for the 2009 project-framing workshop, the NAE Lifelong Learning in Engineering project advisory committee, and the research team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for their valuable contributions to the project.

This monograph has been subjected to a confidential review in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments to the authors to assist in making this publication as sound as possible. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential. We thank the following individuals for their review of this monograph:

Nicholas Donofrio (NAE), IBM Executive Vice President (retired), and Senior Fellow, Kauffman Foundation

James Duderstadt (NAE), President Emeritus and University Professor, University of Michigan

Betty Shanahan, Executive Director and CEO, Society of Women Engineers

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the opinions or conclusions of the authors nor did they see the final draft of the publication before its release. Responsibility for its final content rests entirely with the authors.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

FOREWORD

The Lifelong Learning Imperative (LLI) project brought together leaders of US industry, academia, government, and professional societies to assess the current state of lifelong learning of engineers; to examine the need for, and nature of, lifelong learning going forward; and to explore responsibilities and potential actions for the primary stakeholders.

The United States is facing a crisis in its engineering workforce just as global competition is becoming very intense. During the next several years there will be massive retirements of skilled and experienced engineers, and the United States has one of the lowest rates of graduation of bachelor level engineers in the world: only 4.5 percent of our university graduates are engineers. The issue is especially acute in the national security industry because of citizenship requirements. Perhaps even more critical, the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, making the specifics of engineering education and skill development obsolete in short order. A critical part of our corporate and national strategy to address this looming crisis should be to ramp up the quality and opportunity for lifelong learning for our engineering workforce. This would not only enhance the quality and competitiveness of our engineers, but also enrich the quality of their professional life, improve their capacity to innovate, and widen their fields of opportunity.

For too long the issue of lifelong learning for engineers has been on the back burner, even as American industry has heavily invested in MBA and executive business education. A plan for vigorous, continual intellectual renewal through broad-based commitment to lifelong learning could have a powerful role in ensuring that the United States remains competitive in the face of accelerating technological change and pressures on an aging US engineering workforce that is not being replenished sufficiently rapidly.

Charles M. Vest
President
National Academy of Engineering

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering: Sustaining American Competitiveness in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13503.
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The Lifelong Learning Imperative (LLI) project was initiated to assess current practices in lifelong learning for engineering professionals, reexamine the underlying assumptions behind those practices, and outline strategies for addressing unmet needs. The LLI project brought together leaders of U.S. industry, academia, government, and professional societies to assess the current state of lifelong learning of engineers; to examine the need for, and nature of, lifelong learning going forward; and to explore the responsibilities and potential actions for the primary stakeholders.

The United States is facing a crisis in its engineering workforce just as global competition is becoming very intense. During the next several years there will be massive retirements of skilled and experiences engineers, and the United States has one of the lowest rates of graduation of bachelor-level engineers in the world: only 4.5 percent of our university graduates are engineers. The issue is especially acute in the national security industry because of citizenship requirements. Perhaps even more critical, the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, making the specifics of engineering education and skill development obsolete in short order. A critical part of our corporate and national strategy to address this looming crisis should be to ramp up the quality of engineers' professional life, improve their capacity to innovate, and widen their fields of opportunity.

A project-framing workshop was organized by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in partnership with the National Academy of Engineering in June 2009 to examine the issues relevant to lifelong learning in engineering. A UIUC research team then conducted a survey-based assessment of the issues identified in the 2009 workshop. Preliminary findings from the UIUC study were examined more fully. Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering reflects the opinions of the authors based on the UIUS team's survey analysis and learning from the discussions at the 2011 workshop.

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