IN THE UNITED STATES
Committee on Engineering Technology
Education in the United States
Katharine G. Frase, Ronald M. Latanision,
and Greg Pearson, Editors
A Report of the
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
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This activity was supported by Grant No. DUE-1313209 from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-43771-4
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-43771-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2016962095
Digital object identifier: 10.17226/23402
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Suggested citation: National Academy of Engineering. 2016. Engineering Technology Education in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23402.
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COMMITTEE ON ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Katharine G. Frase [NAE], cochair, IBM Corporation, Somers, New York
Ronald M. Latanision [NAE], cochair, Exponent, Inc., Natick, Massachusetts
Walter Buchanan, Texas A&M University, College Station
Imelda (Mel) E. Cossette, National Resource Center for Materials Education Technology, Lynnwood, Washington
Werner Eikenbusch, BMW Group, Greenville, South Carolina
Christopher Fox (until 1-5-2015), Howard County Public Schools, Maryland
Joyce Gleason, Educational Consultant, Punta Gorda, Florida
Daniel Hull, National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, Waco, Texas
Sharon Levin, University of Missouri, St. Louis
Jeffrey Ray, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina
Michael Richey, The Boeing Company, Everett, Washington
Melvin Roberts, Camden County College, Blackwood, New Jersey
James L. Stone, National Research Center for Career and Technical Education at the Southern Regional Education Board, Atlanta
Will Tyson, University of South Florida, Tampa
Greg Pearson, Study Director and Scholar, National Academy of Engineering
Maribeth Keitz, Web Communications Manager, National Academy of Engineering
Aaron Adams, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow
Marthe Folivi, College Intern
Daniel Kuehn, Consultant
Linda O’Doughda, Freelance Editor
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This report is the final product of a two-year study by the Committee on Engineering Technology Education in the United States, a group of experts under the auspices of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The committee’s charge was to shed light on the status, role, and needs of engineering technology (ET) education in the United States. In fulfilling that charge, the committee commissioned a review of federal education and occupational data, fielded two surveys—one of ET educators and the other of employers of ET talent—held an information-gathering workshop, and conducted a literature review.
The ability of the United States to support innovation requires production and retention of individuals who are highly skilled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These STEM professionals work in a widely disseminated global enterprise spanning government, industry, and academia. Engineers play an especially vital role as the designers of technological systems and processes. Over the past decade, policymakers, employers, researchers, and educators have focused considerable attention on the US engineering education system and the adequacy of the supply of individuals with engineering skills. Largely absent from most discussions of the future of the US technical workforce, however, has been the role that ET education plays or should play in supporting the nation’s technical infrastructure and capacity for innovation. This report aims to correct that omission.
The report’s primary audiences are the ET and engineering education communities, to whom the bulk of the report’s recommendations are directed. Importantly, the report’s data gathering, findings, and recommendation address issues relevant not only to those involved in preparing students through 4-year ET programs but also to those preparing students through 2-year and certificate programs and, to some extent, educators working in K-12 settings. The report should be of interest to small, mid-size, and large firms that hire engineering-related talent. Our survey of employers found that many firms were unaware of ET education or confused about the differences between workers with ET and engineering training. Another important audience is the federal agencies responsible for collecting and coding data about ET education and employment. Finally, state and national leaders with a role in setting STEM education policy may find the report helpful to informing future decision making.
Katharine G. Frase, Co-Chair
Ronald M. Latanision, Co-Chair
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The purpose of the independent review is to provide candid and critical comments to assist the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Ashok Agrawal, American Society for Engineering Education
Enrique Barbieri, University of North Texas
Amelito G. Enriquez, Cañada College
Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Kansas State University, Salina
Douglas H. Handy, Baltimore County Public Schools
Pradeep Kotamraju, Iowa Department of Education
Bradley J. Mason, AMSEC LLC
David C. Nagel, British Petroleum (retired)
Hal Salzman, Rutgers University
Robert F. Sproull, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Oracle (retired)
Nick Wilson, Morrison Container Handling Solutions
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the views expressed in the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by NAE member Julia Phillips, Retired Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Sandia National Laboratories. Appointed by NAE, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors and NAE.
In addition to the reviewers, many other individuals assisted in the development of this report. Consultant Daniel Kuehn, Urban Institute, collected and analyzed the federal education and occupational data presented in the report and wrote substantial portions of several chapters. His willingness to answer staff and committee questions about the data throughout the project was instrumental to the study’s success. Intern Marthe Folivi, Rippon College, painstakingly identified individuals associated with 2- and 4-year engineering technology (ET) education programs in the United States. Her work made possible the committee’s survey of ET educators. Megan Ellinger, with the Academies Information and Technology Services unit, programmed and fielded the survey of educators and collected and analyzed the resulting data. Ed Koc, at the National Association of Colleges and Employers, programmed and fielded the project’s survey of employers and analyzed the resulting data for the committee’s benefit.
Credit for bringing the field of engineering technology to the attention of NAE and making the case for a study, which was ultimately funded by the National Science Foundation, goes to several ET educators, including Ken Burbank, Robert Herrick, and Michael O’Hair (ret.), Purdue Polytechnic; Ronald Land, Pennsylvania State University; and committee members Jeffrey Ray, Western Carolina University, and Walter Buchanan, Texas A&M University.
Thanks are also due to the project staff. Maribeth Keitz managed the study’s logistical and administrative needs, making sure meetings and the committee workshop ran efficiently and smoothly. Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow Aaron Adams conducted a background literature search for the project. Freelance editor Linda O’Doughda improved the readability of the report. Greg Pearson oversaw the project and worked with the committee to prepare the report.