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Engineering R & D

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Exploration of Broad Issues and Promotion of Engineering and Technological Literacy

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Joseph F. Camean P.E. U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Joseph F. Camean, P.E., holds a B.E. Marine Engineering from SUNY Maritime College, M.E. Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College, and is a NCEE multi-state registered licensed Professional Engineer. He earned his U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Officer License (Steam, Motor, or Gas Turbine Vessels of Any Horsepower), and was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve (honorably discharged as Lieutenant). He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine on commercial ships and also as an engineering watch officer and instructor at SUNY Maritime College. Additional experiences include nuclear power start-up and test engineer, chemical process plant engineer, followed by engineering private practice in design and commissioning of gas and steam turbine, reciprocating engine, fuel cell and renewable energy power plants. He served as Adjunct Professor at Central Connecticut State University, and is an Evaluator of engineering education for the State University of New York National College Credit Recommendation Service. He retired from ownership of van Zelm Engineers, Connecticut's largest mechanical and electrical engineering practice, and has joined the faculty of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to share his engineering experiences to the benefit of cadet engineers.

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Engineering is the application of science. Scientists conduct academic interrogations and analysis of nature. Engineers bring scientist’s discoveries into reality as structures, machinery and devices. American engineering education has blurred the roles of scientists and engineers. Engineering research too often culminates in thesis and research papers but no physical manifestation of the science. Research and development is mostly conducted with a capital “R”, and a lower case “d”; research institutions go wanting for the motivation and skills for true R&D to occur. Too much of our industrial, infrastructure, transportation and military components must be imported. Domestic development and production capability is being forfeited on account of engineering research culminating as no more than paper. Many of today’s programs disdain the technical side of engineering, proclaiming curricula as assuredly not a technology program, instead favoring more extensive focus on derivation and theoretical work with expected continuity into graduate level research. Practicing engineers are excluded from academic programs, most never acquiring the “driver’s license” PhD terminal degree essential to be a Principal Investigator. Students who have the talent and drive to invent and create real things often disconnect from academic learning, some notable ones being Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen, but also a majority of practicing engineers who see no value in graduate study. Practitioners must be welcomed back into academic communities, as the exclusive focus on academic research has resulted in little to no advocacy for development funding. Government funded research has become a poison pill to development, with 99.5% apportioned to research (academic pure science), but only 0.5% to development (application oriented translational research). Practicing engineers have an acute awareness of what is commercially practical as to materials, manufacturing processes, and how to employ what is available to be able to create what was unavailable, compounded and driven by an awareness of marketplace wants and needs. We urgently need to bring practicing engineers back into our engineering schools, respecting the most accomplished ones as “Professors of the Practice of Engineering”. Only then can R&d rightfully be R&D.

Joseph F. Camean, P.E., is an Engineering Lecturer at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy; the above views are his independent opinions and not to be interpreted to represent positons of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Camean, J. F. (2020, June), Engineering R & D Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34556

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