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Agents For Change In Engineering Education

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.60.1 - 4.60.6

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Paper Authors

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W. D. Jemison

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W. A. Hornfeck

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J. F. Greco

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I. I. Jouny

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1332

Agents for Change in Engineering Education W. A. Hornfeck, J. F. Greco, W. D. Jemison, I. I. Jouny Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Lafayette College


The engineering profession as a whole is struggling to describe and define itself. This dilemma is caused by the rapid changes in technology and significant market changes taking place in many major industries that seek to employ entry-level engineers. For colleges and universities, the new latitude associated with ABET’s Engineering Criteria 2000 forces an introspective view of our profession. This paper describes the technological, professional, and social agents which influence changes in the engineering profession in general and the electrical engineering field in particular. The various agents for change in academic and engineering environments are linked to the considerations in planning a four-year Electrical & Computer Engineering degree program.

I. Introduction

As technologies advance and society changes, the engineering profession must inevitably adapt[1]. Technological agents of change such as advances in computing, telecommunications, and the Internet are reshaping existing businesses and creating new industries resulting in a demand for a new mix of technical skills from engineering graduates. Technological changes in turn have created social agents of change which fundamentally influence the way we live and the products and services the public desires and demands. As a result, the engineering profession has undergone a transformation that has fundamentally reshaped the way engineers work and how we evaluate the success of engineering projects and engineering education. While these developments may seem overwhelming, they must be viewed as an opportunity to define who we are and how we will educate the next generation of Electrical, Electronics, Communications, and Computer engineers. Electrical Engineering departments must answer the questions “what should we be?” and “ what should we teach?". As we search for these answers we also should seek to develop philosophies, teaching methods and curricula that will enable the next generation of professionals to match or exceed the monumental advances of previous generations of engineers. This paper explores the technological, social, and professional agents of change which must be recognized and understood in order to successfully meet these challenges. The concluding section of the paper describes the principle characteristics of the curriculum in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lafayette College. These features reflect the changes in the professional environment which we believe our graduates will encounter in the years ahead.

Jemison, W. D., & Hornfeck, W. A., & Greco, J. F., & Jouny, I. I. (1999, June), Agents For Change In Engineering Education Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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