Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Engineering and Public Policy
Despite the large number of commentaries on the current deficiencies of higher education there has been little work which undertakes careful analysis of alternative educational structures. To explore possible alternatives a model for engineering education developed over several years with feedback from ASEE conference attendees was analyzed at the Higher Education and Technological Disruption: Purposes, Structures and Financing workshop in Dublin, Ireland in 2017. This paper presents initial pedagogical and economic analysis of this curricular model as well as analyzing feedback from a variety of stakeholders—academics, industry, and policy makers—who attended the workshop. The model was developed in response to long term challenges facing engineering education which in turn are driven by forecast changes in employability and advances in technology. For example some long term predictions forecast that robotics and artificial intelligence may radically change desired workforce skills or cause significant reductions to the labor force. These trends may be exacerbated by the increasing impact technology is having on some aspects of education and the rising costs of college. The model was based upon alternative structures of credentialing and financing as a response to these potential pressures. The curricular model proposes restructuring engineering degree program towards: 1) shorter undergraduate programs that focus on developing horizontal transfer of knowledge rather than in-depth disciplinary knowledge and 2) periodic in-depth “educational renewal” throughout an individual’s career. This structure is grounded by, and emerges from, established models of liberal arts degree programs and is supported by decades of evidence on the aspects of college which most impact long-term student development. From a policy perspective in order for such a disruptive model to have a chance of implementation the methods by which education is financed also needed reconsideration. The economic analysis of the curricular model derives from modeling education as a human capital insurance policy that allows post-secondary education to be viewed as a continuous consumption process with different probability distributions for persons to re-invest/consume rather than as a discreet non-deferrable, non-repeatable investment decision. The paper summarizes reaction to the model from the perspective of workshop participants representing a wide swath of the engineering education ecosystem.
Cheville, R. A., & Heywood, J., & Larkin, C. J., & Corbet, S. (2018, June), Economic and Pedagogical Analysis of an Alternative Model of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30349
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