Educating the Engineer of 2020: NAE Report

Posted on January 29, 2007  Comments (5)

Educating the Engineer of 2020:

The BS degree should be considered as a pre-engineering or “engineer in training” degree.

I am not convinced of this idea. It seems to me a BS degrees in engineering should be a full degree not some “pre” degree like pre-law. Obviously no engineering degree is an invitation to stop learning; life long learning is a requirement whether the engineering degree is earned in 4, 6, 8… years. Improving the life long learning methods is where effort should be focused in my opinion not in making the original degree take longer to earn.

The engineering education establishment should participate in efforts to improve public understanding of engineering and the technology literacy of the public and efforts to improve math, science and engineering education at the K-12 level.
NSF should collect or assist collection of data on program approach and student outcomes for engineering departments/schools so prospective freshman can

These seem like good ideas to me.

Related: Educating Engineers for 2020 and Beyond (speech)Global Engineering Education StudyEducating Scientists and EngineersApplied Engineering EducationMIT Engineering Education Changes

Other than trying to get people to buy the content that they provide for free I can’t understand why they present the material so poorly online. Once again basic web usability principles are lacking on their site.

While providing information online is better than not doing so, making it very inconvenient so you can’t be said to be withholding information while intentionally making it forcing people to reload each page of a 192 page document is exactly the type to of old thinking that needs to change to move forward. If NAE practices such an old way of thinking in distributing ideas on how to improve in the future that is not a good sign. Who does seem to understand the new world – how about: Public Library of ScienceOlin College of Engineering (they actual practice a new way of doing things) – 25 provosts from top universities (I think it is obvious they want usable content published online – not crippled content) – MIT’s Open Courseware.

5 Responses to “Educating the Engineer of 2020: NAE Report”

  1. Chris
    January 29th, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

    I disagree on your first comment. There is just too much to learn for a 4-year degree to be sufficient any more. Important basic subjects are being cut and more advanced subjects are short of time to say the least. On top of this, time for electives outside the required curriculum is extremely sparing. The only fellow students I know taking foreign language classes in my curriculum are those with previous degrees that exempt them from the university general education requirements. I think it is not just specialization, but basic skills that are being restricted by the 4-year system. Now I am talking about Mechanical Engineering specifically which is inherently an extremely broad discipline (fluids to solids, nano to macro) so YMMV. I don’t want to see overspecialization or potential students shying away from a longer degree, but I strongly feel that current degrees at schools I am familiar with leave a great deal to be desired, much in the same way that I remember my high school curriculum being gutted. A situation I fear has grown much worse since the implementation of No Child Learns Anything That Won’t Be On The Federal Test. Thoughts?

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  3. CuriousCat: Engineering for a Changing World
    December 13th, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

    This interesting and long report (I have not finished reading it yet – 120 pages) has been completed by the President Emeritus of at The University of Michigan (and current University Professor of Science and Engineering)…

  4. CuriousCat: National Science Board Report on Improving Engineering Education
    February 9th, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

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