Changes needed in engineering education—The demands of globalization

Smerdon, Ernest T.
May 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 509 Issue 1, p17
Academic Journal
Developments in engineering education for the last five decades are briefly reviewed. Particular attention is given to the period for 1985 to the present, which was a period of unprecedented study of engineering education with many in-depth reports issued. These reports tend to have a common theme focusing significantly on the global engineering enterprise. Because of increasing globalization of industry, engineering education in the United States is undergoing major reform. Pressure from industry to revisit certain aspects of engineering education has been a major factor in changes currently underway in the U.S. engineering education program accreditation process. I am not a futurist, but I dare to make some projections of the challenges and changes for engineering education during the period from the year 2000 onward, focusing on the next two to three decades. One dominant factor driving these predicted changes is the fast growing developments in information technology and the rate that information can be transmitted globally. Another among the several I mention is that much of engineering will move more and more toward the molecular level. As a result, engineering education must include biology along with the traditional chemistry and physics as the basis for the practice of engineering. Finally, I enumerate some of the challenges that the engineering professors will face in the next century. We will see unrelenting pressure for changes in engineering education and if professors are to be successful they will have to adopt a culture of rapid change—something rather difficult to imagine in the past. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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