June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.366.1 - 11.366.11
Creating a "Global Algorithm" for Engineering Education
For five generations American engineering education has rested upon a practical model of drawing a broad range of students with certain mathematical skills and wide technological interests into a large-mouthed pedagogic funnel, gradually compressing their training into ever- narrower frames of specific, skill-sets and acumens. The result has been to standardize the end- products emerging from the apex of the educational funnel. Examinations and re-toolings of engineering education have usually merely redirected the funnel with recommendations of new methods and protocols for fine-tuning the relevance of contemporary technology to the classroom and laboratory. One canon remains constant: engineering education has maintained an approximately 80/201 curricular equilibrium between technical/non-technical requirements and emphases. Conventional wisdom and practical experience stress that this emphasis upon technical proficiency has assured American domination of engineering education for most of the last century.
A seismic shift in technology, manufacturing, and economics is occurring as we enter the new millennium. Global currents once far removed from the engineering classroom have become irrevocably intertwined with both the process and product of engineering education. A paradigmatic readjustment equal in impact is necessary to meet the global challenges faced by today’s engineering students.
The Challenge: The core competencies, created and honed in the 80/20 funnel of engineering education, must be retained to assure technical competency. Simultaneously, engineering education must introduce more of a 50/50 balance in the final educational outcomes of the graduate between the technical and nontechnical competencies. i.e., the educational process must embrace much broader parameters of global/professional/personal competencies without compromising up-to-date technical expertise. This can only be accomplished by adopting creative concurrencies in curricular development. The personal and professional skills necessary to compete on the global stage of 21st century engineering must be included as aggregates (packet aggregation) to technical skill development. The tube of the funnel must be widened.
If the fundamental principle of the first five years of the millennium was multi-tasking in a lean manufacturing and professional environment, multi-identity competence (in the surge rather than in the wake) of globalization must be the foundation of the coming years. Preparing the next generation of engineers to enter this world with a competitive advantage requires inventive, resourceful, and continuously evolving methods to instill parallel intercultural communication, global resource management, and interpersonal professional training alongside the requisite and non-negotiable technically related subjects of the discipline.2
Scheibler, S., & Williams, S., & Mossbrucker, J., & Wrate, G., & Petersen, O. (2006, June), Creating A “Global Algorithm” For Engineering Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1011
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