There is no future for engineering in North America in my opinion...I think the kids understand that and don't pursue education in this field...no amount of change in education is going to change that...engineering is a commodity, can be done in India, China or Russia
Engineering should be taught everywhere, not just in engineering schools. The knowledge is important in order to understand our world. But don't count on an engineering job. Those jobs are for the migrant workers. Engineering is a commodity.
Engineering education is OK. If what was covered reflected the nature of work now that would have driven me elsewhere, and that might be as it should be. The problem lies in the present nature of work. From contacts across many industries and companies, what once was satisfying for the reward of accomplishment, building, dealing with concrete physical (real) problems, getting results and learning is now rare, and jobs that use knowledge and skills learned are few. Struggling to stay employed, if not leaving altogether, what I hear is the wail of increasing overloads to cover things that are a waste of any engineer?s training. With technical questions that can be performed after two years of education we don?t need more engineers. A ?good? answer is often judged solely by salesmanship while ignoring whether it is sound. Challenges are plowing through the unending messes created at work. How often do you hear you have to sell yourself. How often do you hear choose your battles wisely. How often do any of these truly resolve following technical savvy. How often have you heard the comment that Dilbert is a documentary.
i agree I am OK with the whole, more school if you want it scenario that we have now, and All jobs have a learning curve that takes a while to get into. Since engineering is a technical job, the curve is just much steeper. Even if every engineer had a PhD, there would still be at least a 1 year break in period wherever you get a job. Heck, right now, Im a HS student busing tables at a restaurant, and it took me about 8 months to get the job down well. What I am opposed to though is changing the process of getting an engineering degree by requiring some stupid Liberal arts and crafts degree before you can go to "engineering school" and the meat and potatoes of crunching numbers.
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I am OK with the whole, more school if you want it scenario that we have now, and All jobs have a learning curve that takes a while to get into. Since engineering is a technical job, the curve is just much steeper. Even if every engineer had a PhD, there would still be at least a 1 year break in period wherever you get a job. Heck, right now, Im a HS student busing tables at a restaurant, and it took me about 8 months to get the job down well.
What I am opposed to though is changing the process of getting an engineering degree by requiring some stupid Liberal arts and crafts degree before you can go to "engineering school" and the meat and potatoes of crunching numbers.
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I agree that engineering education needs some help. However, I think that a good engineering education should be hard. It is the nature of the subject matter. Today?s American engineers are more innovative and more capable than any in the world. The real issue with student ?shortfalls? is compensation. A hard curriculum does not translate to high pay. Which discourages the faint of heart. The thought of making engineering schools easier is misguided at best. It is like trying to fix a symptom without addressing the problem. The end result of this effort will make mediocre engineers that aren?t worth much.
One reason interest in engineering is on the decline in the U.S. is because a fresh graduate may have a decent job for three maybe four years and then be replaced by cheap labor from India. If you want to raise a family and have long term employment, engineering is not the field to be in the U.S., unless you are from India. There is no shortage of engineers in this country. Corporate America has been pushing this since 1991. Corporate America keeps pushing this because they want the cheap labor from India. An example is several months ago AC Nielsen laid off over 200 American engineers and replaced them the next day with Indian engineers that they had already brought into the country. AC Nielsen give the American engineers a choice, sign a document saying you are leaving voluntary and you will get severance pay. If you do not sign you will be laid off with no severance pay I believe this is called extortion. No shortage of American engineers. Of course this should be investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor and the FBI. Extortion is a crime. The secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor is very anti-labor. She continuously parrots industry lobbyists bad mouthing Amerivan engineers without knowing the real story. Also engineers in other countries are respected as creators and MDs are at about the same level as the engineers are treated in this country. American engineers are the ones that design and create medical equipment and all other high tech marvels. Examples: The internet, cell phones, PCs, automible and aircraft electronics, space shuttle. None of these and much more were not engineered by Indians or Chinese. Indians and Chinese, unless born in this America, do not seem to be able to think out of the box. Its the culture in America that fosters this type of thinking. Now to be sure I am only referring to about 85% of the Indian and Chinese engineers. The remaining 10%-15% are very good. But they normally stay in their own countries because they know they will move up in their structure in Indian.
And the U.S. Congress continues to allow the assault on American engineers to appease the corporations that pass out big money to the members of Congress.
I have observed over the past 8-10 years that many high school grads going on to college/university with the goal to study engineering, switch majors after their first or second year. Most often the switch is to a major that is less challenging and less rewarding at the end. In addition to the change needed in engineering education, is step-by-step/periodic motivation and encouragement to help students into their third year of engineering studies.
I've worked in industry with a BSEE, and in academia as a tenured EE professor after I got my Ph.D., so I've seen both sides of the EE academic experience. I must say the Dean at Stanford is pretty much saying what people have already been saying for at least 15 years now. Many of these reccomendations are already incorporated in most engineering curricula.
I think the small number of engineers graduating in the US at least can be traced to a number of factors. There is more competition from other fields like biotechnology than there was 20 years ago. There is also a "culture of entitlement" that seems to have grown among students that prevents them from working hard to master difficult subjects. Engineering, and electrical engineering especially, faces the perennial problem that it is hard to explain to non-specialists what you do, why it is important, and why they should want to join you in it. This is a PR problem that really needs to be fought at the High School and college freshman level. For two long engineering schools have waited for students to come to them, instead of being proactive about recruiting students. The truth is that US engineering schools have had more student capacity than the US needs for a long time, but that fact has been masked by the influx of foreign students for many years. When the US became less foreign-student friendly after 911, and when other nations really stepped up the quality of their engineering education, the US schools really were confronted with the need to recruit good students but weren't prepared to do so effectively.
As to the "weed them out" versus "coddle them through" debate, I think that is also somewhat driven by demographics. When you have too many students, you have to "weed out" to some degree, when you have too few, you have to make of them what you can. I think the fact remains that engineering and the physical sciences are just intrinsically difficult. Unless someone has strong personal intrinsic motivation, or sufficient external motivation, they are just not going to put in the hours and endure the pain it takes to master these subjects. Unless you love problem solving, or you perceive great opportunity, or great prestige from being an engineer, you just won't make it past all the obstacles to becoming a productive engineer. Even the most dedicated educator can't make up for a lack of motivation in the student.