Asee peer logo

Bridging The Gap Between Engineers And Technicians

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.242.1 - 6.242.5



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

William Stratton

author page

Ranaye Marsh

author page

Jonathan Lawson

author page

Jay Kunze

Download Paper |

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

Session 1547

Bridging the Gap - between Engineers and Technicians

Jay F. Kunze*, Ranaye J. Marsh, Jonathan Lawson, William E. Stratton Idaho State University, Pocatello ID 83209


Workplace contention between those trained in the engineering profession and those with associate degrees (two or three years) in technology is commonly observed. The issues are generally created by pride and misunderstanding. Improved communication would be an obvious approach to mitigating the contention. Further questions are how much of this contention and concern may be fostered initially in the academic setting, and how much might be mitigated by efforts during the student’s education program?

To explore these issues a one-and-a-half day symposium was held in April 1998 at Idaho State University (ISU), co-sponsored by Boise State University and Ricks College. Approximately 100 attendees from throughout the nation presented papers and engaged in discussion of example efforts to improve or develop successful symbiotic relationships between engineering professionals and technicians. Both academic and industrial leaders participated.


The authors, all in administrative positions at Idaho State University (ISU), had observed contention between certain academic colleges (engineering and business in particular) and departments in the School of Applied Technology. These two groups were separated physically by half the distance across campus, by credit non-transferability, and by minimal appreciation and understanding of the role of the other in society. The contention is most obvious among faculty members, but it is presumed that faculty attitudes are transferred to students, whether directly or indirectly by innuendo reflecting those attitudes. Although we were attempting to solve these attitudes of contention within our university setting, we felt that this issue was not uncommon throughout the nation. Those of us with industrial experience were well aware of similar problems in the workplace. Consequently, we felt it would be worthwhile to hold a symposium in an attempt to determine how universal these contentious issues were, and what others had done to mitigate the problem. For this purpose the symposium of April 1998 was held at ISU at which over 60 papers were presented.

The introductory keynote speech was presented by Robert Furgason 1 who had recently completed his elected term as the President of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). At the time (1998), ABET was just starting to implement trial cases for its newly

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Stratton, W., & Marsh, R., & Lawson, J., & Kunze, J. (2001, June), Bridging The Gap Between Engineers And Technicians Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8962

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015