National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: Background
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 19
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 21
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 22
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 23
Suggested Citation:"Issues and Findings." National Research Council. 1988. Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1525.
×
Page 24

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

ISSUES AND FINDINGS A number of issues emerged f Aver the discussions of the Corm ittee arm presentations of invited ~a~ at a workshop Sponsored bar this Committee. These issues are~velc~more fully m this Copter. Depena~en~y of Institutions on Foreign Engineers The production rate of U.S.-bon, engineers with doctorates is ~n- sufficient to meet the needs for qualified engineering faculty members in the universities and the requirements of industry and government. As a result, there have been rapidly growing noncitizen and naturalized American eng peering p ~ ations in industrial organizations and, espe- cially, in universitie=. In 1982, foreign engineers constitute J about 3.6 percent of all engineers employed by industry, whereas 13.9 Percent were naturalized. _ 8 ~_ ~ ~ - be, ~ .~ r The proportions among engineering doctorates em- ployed in industry were much higher: 20 percent were naturalized. _ 15 percent were foreigners and Thus, almost one out of three doctorate eng meets employer In Industry was of foreign origin, and that propor- tion is rising. The influence of foreign-born engineers seems to have become pro- found in industrial research and development. This influence is espe- cially apparent In disciplines bat were considers of secorx3ary impor- tance in the United Slates some years ago but now stand at the focus of international competitiveness. An example is provided by innovations that have led to nonlinear cpkics an] the associated applications of laser technologies. The Cc~nittee's survey of the R&D H;'e~ors of 20 firms that ascent for a large fraction of the irxtustriaa technological output of the U.S. ironical that "their particular ir~ustri~s are, in fact, dependent upon foreign tar eras and ached such deperxiency is graw- ing." Several r ~ relents stated ff=t "foreign talent was a critical element of the firm's operations." In universities, the dependence on engineers of foreign origin is even greater. Noncitizen and naturalized engineers constituted, in 1982, 8.5 percent and 17 percent, respectively, of all engineers em- ployeJ in educational inst~butions. The increasing dependence in aca- deme is dramatically portrayed by the fact that the proportion of non- citizen engineers angry assistant professors younger than 35 yea=; (Figure 5) has in~a~ from 10 pervert In 1972 to 1983-1985. About three~art~s of these noncitizen assistant profes- sors have applied for U.S. citizenship. There were relatively few (5 15 50-55 Urgent in

60 50 4 30 20 10 All Engineering Assistant Professors _ 1975 1 977 1979 1 981 1983 1 985 SCARCE: National Research Ccuncil's Survey of Doctorate Recipients. FIGURE 5 Foreigners as a pro portion of all engineering assistant pro- fessors, age 35 or less, 1975-1985. percent) naturalized engineering assistant professors in 1985. Further increases in the foreign and naturalized populations are likely to occur unless nonobjective selection criteria are adopted by the major research universities. me increase in noncitizen assistant professors of engineering is the result of the fact that, In recent years, foreion-bon~ engineers revived close to 50 cement of newiv awarded _ _ ~ _ _ ,_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _,, engineering doctorates (naturalized citizens accounted for about 4 per- cent) artful, furthermore, they enters academe In disproportionately large I;. _ _ . . . Noncitizens represented alit tw~thirds of the erx:rineerinq nost- dwtorates in 1985. . · . ~ ~ - A J ~ Noncitizen Ph.D. engineers offers accept postdoc- toral positions because other employment is unavailable until green cards are obta med. In several fields of engineering, the proportion of postdoctorates was greater than average; for example, In chemical and materials engineering, noncitizen engineers accounted for about 80 percent of the tonal postdoctoral populations. Salaries paid to assistant professors of engineering have =- crease] dramatically in recent years and are now comparable with, or superior to, those paid by industry, when allowance is made for summer- salary supplements and consulting rice met In view of this dramatic improvement in salaries at major universities, it is not surprising to 16

find large numbers of applicants for faculty cpe m ngs at the research universities. Quoted numbers are 50 to 200 or more for each widely ad- vertised position. The question arises why the normal academic selec- tion procedures, when applied to openings for which there are so many potential applicants, have yielded a foreign and foreign-born component in excess of 50 percent, a component that is probably increasing. The answer may be found, at led t in part, in faculty preferences for peo- ple with high analytical ability and/or particular skills in utilizing advanced instrumentation techniques and relative de-emphasis of what way be red led the art of practical ens tsarina as compared with enai , ~ ~ _ _ _ ,i, _ _ , is, _ _ , nearing science. must while maintain ma "oualitv" in academe acoord _ , _ ~ ing to current preferences, the 'character of engineering education may well be change] dramatically. We believe that a careful assessment of the likely long-term impact of these changes forms an appropriate and urgent subject for evaluation. Many of the noncitizen graduates with doctorates plan to remain in the United State=. For example, among new 1985 noncitizen engineering doctorate holders, about 40 percent expected to work in the United Stat==, a proportion that had Creased from 11 percent in 1972. Fur- thermore, an additional 17 Errant planned ~ stay on as pos~octor- at~s, and most of these are also likely to remain permanen~cly in the United StatP=. Thus, at 60 per~nt of new noncitizen Steering doctorate holders are likely to be ~ part of the U.S. er~ineering labor force within a few years after graduation. Reliable data are not available for the other 40 percent of new noncitizen PhoD. holders. Some of these probably return to the United States in later years, whereas others may be employed abroad in multinational firms. This type of information needs to be collected in order to determine their later contributions to The economic well-being and competitiveness of the United Scats. It is apparent fen these madders that, without the me of non- citizen art foreign-bon~ engineers, both r ~ ar ~ universities ark] irxtustries wed have difficulties ~ heirs the educational, re- search, development, anal technological programs that are currently s~r~. This TmStbe realized ~ y gonrernment=1 considerations to limit the inflow of foreign engineering students or graduate eng beers. Displacement of U.S. Engineers and Law ng of Salaries The Committee addressed the issue of whether the ready supply of well-qualified, noncitizen engineering personnel constitutes an obsta- cle to U.S.-born engineers seeking engineering employment and tents to reduce salaries. Since noncitizen and naturalized engineers represent only about 3.5 percent of the total U.S. engineering labor force, their effect on job opportunities and salaries of U.S.-born engineers must be small, on the average. No data could be found to ascertain whether the 17

same can be said about engineers working abroad for American firms, al- though anecdotal evidence indicates that a problem may exist in this regard. m e available data clearly show that U.S. citizens have generally been receiving preferential treatment for enrollment in engineering schools and for jobs. A number of universities limit their acceptance of foreign-sbudent applicants, an] most jobs ~ defense-oriented indus- tries cannot be filled by noncitizens or even by immigrants with close relatives ~ foreign countries. - ~ . - _ mus far, qualified U.S.-born engine neers have not faced appreciably diminished Opportunities in industry because of foreign-born entries. However, as we have noted, their en- try into academe may well have been affected by the ready availability of highly qualified foreign engineers. As for salary depression, a study of 13,000 eng meers showed no support for the notion that foreign nationals with U.S. degrees earned less than the ~ American colleagues. There was very weak evidence sug- gesting that noncitizen engineers without any degrees from U.S. univer- sities might earn less. However', this is a ~a11 group, and the esti- mated earn legs differential found was only about 3 percent. Graduate E~l~nts anal Is By 1985, the pro portion of noncitizen full-time engineering gradu- ate students was 42 percent. U.S. citizens (indigencus and naturzI- ized) are present In relatively small and decreasing numbers because of declin mg U.S. male populations, Griffin Otis= in naturalization before completion of grade ate training for foreign-born students and feller U.S. B.S. ctraduat-~: dhoosinct to ever circulate schools. _ _ In addition, large pupation grc tips--es pecially women, blacks, and Hispanics--have not entered either undergraduate or graduate engineering education in signific ant numbers. The many possible reasons for this disproportion- ately low representation ~ further study. As we have noted, the ~nternation21 pool of applicants has become very large and include carefully screened groups freon major population centers in the Far East, India, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Quali- fled U.S. applicants to engineering graduate schools constitute a clear minority in this potential student pool and, even after substantial pre- limunary screcnm 7, The foreign-to-domestic ratio for qualified gradu- ate student applications at major engineering schools is typically sub- stantially larger than unity. Information received from selected engineering departments indicates that the ratio of noncitizen to U.S. applicants is much larger than the ratio of noncitizen to U.S. admis- sions. As a result, it is possible that the successful foreign-born applicants constitute, on the average, an intellectually superior group. With select Ignition of admission ceilings, the current representation of U. S . -born E h. D. students in the U. S . graduate schools 18

of engraving is Apical ly 40 percent of the total . There are saw stantial disciplinary and regional variations fen these averages. At the ur~ergra*uate Caret, U. S . -born eng~n~ring scents con- stitute u hard of 90-95 penitent of the s~,c]ent E ~ ation, since most noncitizen candidates for engineering graduate schools are trained in their home countries. Selections for admissions to U.S. graduate schools have been and continue to be made by committees dominated by older and, generally, na- tive-born faculty members. However, the result of searching for the best-qua! ified applicants, even in an atn~ere characterized by clearly pref~tial treatment of U. S. -bong aE~plicar~ts for groove school admissions, has led to graduate schools of er~neering with about 50 percent foreigr~-bon, gra~ate-student pc~ations. These changes represent both a potential ~portunit~r and problen, Kept on the pomt of view. The Opportunity is the Introduction into the U. S. population of highly lNt-1 light, by both for- eign-born veneers; He labors art adhievemnt;s may be ~ to exert a profaur~ influe ~ e on our increasingly technological society for many years to come. This introduction of a population segment that may be well qualified to contribute to U.S. economic well-being and oom- petitiven=== in international markets is being accomplished at minimal cost to the U.S. consumers for the following reason: the vast majority of the new immigrants are being trained through the B. S. degree in their he camtries. Using U.S. costs, the total investment in a B.S. degree few birth is probably abort one-third of He society cost for a support Hugh a teadhi~ or r~a~ assistantship) Ph.D. gra~- ate. SO e mare than 60 pement of the noncitizen engineering ~.D.s ultimately bed U.S. citizens, the cost to the United States of pros dicing this pool of professionally trained people is evidently con- siderably smaller than that for an equivalent pool of Ph.D.s with ba~r~- laureates four American engineering schools. The Committee also notes that if there were only U.S. students, current excess capacity in gr~- uate engineering programs would be even larger, making the current mar- ginal costs of educating foreign students relatively low. Thus, in view of substantial positive contributions that are likely to be made by these graduates through professional activities characterizing highly trained engineering populations, it is easy to conclude that the worldwide attraction of the best engineering talent to the U.S. consti- tutes a desirable and cost-effective activity. There are, however, some aspects of the changes that have been viewed by some as a source of concern. One of the basic strengths of the American system of engineering education has been and continues to be utilization of pragmatic solutions to engineering problems and its r q ition of the importance of hands-on train ng in the design and operation of engineering systems. There is, however, a tendency for all disciplines to move toward more funiament~1 engineer m g science, 19

chic h is consider bar sari to be more prestigious. Pi paradox fo:r eng~n~ring sc hoofs . His creak: a __, which want to sure in He prestige conferred by doing Hat is most valued in a university but which also hairs a need to r ~ in practical and applied. This tendency may have led to a preference of some engineering schools to hire from foreign countries junior faculty whose basic cutiook is slanted toward engineering science rather than toward practice. The Committee has not made a detailed study of needed changes In engineering education. It is note worthy that it is not at all difficult to find significant exam- ples of immigrant engineers To are altstandli~ experimentalists and have demonstrated the highest shills of en~epreneuri~ ingenuity In high technology industries ark devel~nt. If preset trerx3s continue, the never of foreign graduates In ache carts of junior faculty is likely to increase at an accelerating rate. There are two factors that civilly contribute to this Growth. First, the difficulties ~ securing industrial emolovment before achieving ~m _ ~ ~ _ · . . . . · · . migrant stains generally make the academic world more accessible to foreign eng beers imm£diat-ly after graduation. Second, requirements for U.S. citizenship and security clearances severely r ~ trict the range and number of industrial positions that are open to foreign-born eng beers. Federal Pupations Concerning the Use and Employment of Foreign Engineers The fact that more than one-third of engineers with new graduate (mast's and doctorate) degrees are of foreign orig ~ poses special problems for industrial organizations engaged in defense research. Many of these graduates, including those who become citizens, may encounter difficulties in obta m mg security clearances and may, therefore, be unsuitable candidates for employment in defense-related industries and on defense-related contracts. Emus, for example, the operative size of new additions to the doctorate manpower pool for defense-related ac- tivities is effectively reduced, on the average, by about 60 percent frog what it waNId be for a group totally opposed of U.S.-born stu- dents and, in terms of available quality for certain critical disci- plines, perhaps substantially more. The Ccmmitt^- was unable to identify ready remedial BeaEUI~6, other than perhaps continued astute screens ~ of foreign and foreign-born Graduates with close relatives in foreign lands prior to their employment in selected, relatively less sensitive areas of defense engineering. Defense industries and some federal laboratories also find it dif- ficult, if not impossible, to engage In collaborative efforts with uni- versity departments populated by noncitizen research assistants and fac- ulty members. Security and export control regulations provide major barriers impeding beneficial interactions with laboratories working in sensitive, classified, or competitive industrial areas. This problem extends also to interactions between national laboratories engaged in 20

defense work arm irx~s~ies with foreign nationals or naturalized U.S. citizenry without prior souring clea~e. Relative Perfo~renae of Foreign arid Foreign-Bon Engines; Noncitizen engineers are report to perform in the labor market about on par with their U.S. colleagues in terms of preparation, skill, and professionalism. Hanover, an intact exception is lar~ge skill. Pers;is~cent deficiencies in oral and written cc~ication skills constitute a visible problem area that may contribute to the fact that foreign-born engineers may encounter prrible~ns in cons ~ er- oriented businesses and also may be slow to reach upper management ~ No w itizen engineers do not appear to be management in proportions numbers at the positions An industry. entering upper corporate present time. Academe Some problems associated with both foreign-born faculty members and noncitizen teaching assistants (TAB) have their roots in differ- ences in native language and perhaps also in cultural backgrcunds, as revered in three particular issues that arose during the course of this study. First, large numbers of foreign-born engineering Graduate students serve as IAS in undergraduate classes at universities and col- leges, and some of these students have inadequate command of the En . . . _ .. . _ . .. . . . . . g- Ash anguage. In anon, U. S. ~versltles Include some alstln- gulshed professors who speak English poorly. Second, it has been stated to us that, because of their cultural backgrounds, foreign lAs may be providing dis~noentives for American students to major in engi- peering disciplines; this problem could even be exacerbated for mlnor- ity and female students because of possibly persisting cultural atti- tudes that contribute to ineffective cooperation with these students by selected ethnic grads. We have not seen solid evidence to sort this last supposition. Finally, In may foreign cultures, science and technology training may be slant8~8 s~,at more toward erxr~neerina science than to practice. 8 a 8 A_ a a 8 a __ ~ ~ _ ~ In the Unitary- States there may be wider recognition or one Importance of Hanson tra m ma in the design and operation of engineering systems and pragmatic solutions to end Sneering problems. mus, there is some concern that if the orientation to enai- neering science were to become still more prevalent as a result of the large and growing ranks of new foreign faculty, the strength of Ameri- can engineering education could be disunited. Although the Committee has not seen any hard evidence either to support or to refute The exis- tence of these problems, we suggest that an awareness of their possible occurrence be maintained. 21

It is ~zed Scat the ctipprcport:ionat-1 y large envy of for- eigr~born engineers Into) U.S. faculty rarest represents the uncontrolled operation of normal university selection pr~ur~ stressing en cially professional excellence in reward arx] provably also =~st are! Hence In teadhi~. Questions have n~r~heless been raised about the effectiveness of marry of these people ~ the classroom. With rear salt reviews of teadhe;r and Hopi assistant performance In universities now the rule rather than the exception, university officios should be able ~ monitor teadhi~ performance and enforce appropriate st~3an3s of instruction. The C=mnit~ no - = that Nat foreign born assistant professors have bed trains ~ e Unit-- Stab ark concludes, therefore, that possible Ja~uage and cultural prc~lems noted for teaching assistants should have beck largely ameliorated during the normal 5- to 6-year periods secant In U. S . graduate schools. It is likely that the U. S . - tra~ned foreign-born engineering faculty members of all origins will have become properly assimilated as the result of their y~-=duate school ] erlces;. International Movements and Contacts of Arrericar~ Engineers The Committee tried to identify problem areas, if any, relating to engineering employment of U.S. citizens abroad. Two types of foreign contacts were considered: sbudy abroad and long-term visits involving collaborative studies or development. Only limited information was obtained. This aspect of The study clearly requires further work. Data f ~ the National Research Council's Doctorate Records File showed that very few new engineering Ph.D.s had plans to extend their studies abroad. Of the small number of U.S. citizens choosing postdoc- torate appointments, only 16 selected study abroad in 1983, and these accounted for about 1 percent of all U.S. engineer mg doctorate recip- ients for 1983. This small percentage did not vary significantly dur- ing the previous 15 years. Internationally coauthored articles are one type of indicator for collaborative efforts. Definite change toward international collab- oration is clearly evident. In the areas of engineering and technol- ogy, the proportion of Internationally coauthored articles increased steadily frog about 13 percent in 1973 to almost 20 percent in 1982. This rise should be viewed In the context of the overall U.S. propen- sity for coauthored work, which is significantly lower than that for many other industrialized nations navvy, ls percent for science and engineering ~ 1982 ~ to about 40 percent for such countries as West Germany, the Uruted Kiln, and Prance. It should be noted that Japan and the Soviet Union had foreign participation Frontages simi- Jar to those of the Unity Stances. 22

We recognize that international conferences provide ample oppor- tunities for information exchange for highly visible ~ s of engi- neers and scientists. However, there was considerable concern ex- pressed at the workshop that long-term (6 months or longer) visits by American engineers with colleagues in other highly developed countries were inadequate, considering that much could be learned. This oppor- tunit~r is perhaps not appropriately appreciated, e~ially 13,r managers in industry, to must appears foreign travel arx! Jonger-terTn visits. me Eta base for this type of information is clearly inadequate art Chord be Departed. The Unity by Peres that the international movement of engi- neers is an essential it of information transfer with signifi- cant trace on technic devel~nent and international ~titive- ness. 7 See also National Acadery of Engineering, Cc~rmittee on Interna- tional Cooperation in Engineering, Strengthening U.S. Engineering Through Internatior~a] Cooperation: Sorm R~7~r~datior~s for Scion, Washington, D.C.: National Acad~y Mess, 1987. 23 cc~rmittee

Next: Recommendations »
Foreign and Foreign-Born Engineers in the United States: Infusing Talent, Raising Issues Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $55.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!