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Engineering Technology And The Lessons Learned From Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Issues for ET Administrators

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.560.1 - 10.560.11



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Paper Authors

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Melanie Thom

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James Thom

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Dennis Depew

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

Session 2547

Engineering Technology and the Lessons Learned from Engineering

Kimble-Thom, M.A., Thom, J.M., Depew, D.R.

Purdue University


Technology and engineering technology programs currently find themselves at the same cross- roads as engineering education did in the early 20th century. The choices that engineering educators made have resulted in industry practitioners expressing a perceived lack of skills in graduating engineers deemed important to successful design activities. Technology program developers are asking many of the same questions about technology’s roles and responsibilities as were being asked by engineering educators. Technology programs are experiencing many of the same pressures at the beginning of the 21st century as the nascent engineering education programs did at the beginning of the 20th century; how do we get people to take us seriously, as professionals? How do we best serve our students and the industries into which they are hired? How do we best prepare people to go directly to work versus preparing to enter advanced education or research? What courses are important to what makes the graduate successful? Research indicates that engineering educators’ answers to these questions lead to the knowledge gap that was filled by technology programs. Now that technology educators are asking the same questions, it is important to understand what the impacts of the answers engineering education chose were, and to learn from engineering’s mistakes and successes.

The Evolution of Engineering Education

The Mann Report1 - In 1918 a study of the state of the engineering education was undertaken and presented under the authorship of C.R. Mann. This study was one of the first organized assessments of engineering education which was still in its infancy as an academic pursuit. The purpose of the study was to document the state of engineering education with respect to curriculum content and goals, entrance qualifications, the roles and responsibilities of engineers, and the needs of engineering graduates as it impacted the formal education of engineers.

The content of the report is as valid today as it was in 1918 and has direct implication to the choices being considered by engineering technology educators today.

In the Mann report, the concept of reconciling the role of engineers to apply knowledge and skills to a physical task and the desire to be considered professional were first introduced. Mann suggested that the role of the engineer was to take the materials and energy of nature and make artifacts and systems which made life better. In comparison, the professional degrees resulted in

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Thom, M., & Thom, J., & Depew, D. (2005, June), Engineering Technology And The Lessons Learned From Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15273

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