June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.499.1 - 7.499.7
Main Menu Session #2793
Engineering: The Basic Degree of the Future
Sukhvarsh Jerath, Member ASEE Professor in Civil Engineering University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202
Introduction In the past the cathedral church schools engaged in the training of priests and clergy for their respective denominations. These schools evolved into universities upon the rise of scholasticism and the development of theology as a systematic discipline. The course of studies included theology, law, medicine, and what came to be known as liberal arts. The liberal arts included philosophy, logic, languages, natural philosophy and science, music, etc. There was a strong desire to found institutions of higher learning among the first European settlers of America to advance learning. In October of 1636 the general court of Massachusetts established Harvard College, the first institution of higher learning in America. Harvard’s charter of 1650 referred to its purpose as “the advancement of all good literature, arts and sciences” and to “the education of the English and Indian Youth of this Country in knowledge: and godliness 1.” Other colleges founded prior to the American Revolution shared the same broad sense of dual purpose as that enunciated by Harvard, namely, educating civic leaders and preparing a learned clergy. From 1636 forward, nearly 200 years, the major purpose of education in the American colleges and universities was to train the elite citizenry and to train ministers. The Morill Act of 1862 signed by President Lincoln was responsible for the establishment of the Land Grant Institutions for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanical arts in the U.S. This act established the great state universities and the system of public higher education expanded in the U.S. After World War II, the college student population grew further and college was essentially open to anyone.
The traditional liberal arts degree with majors in arts, humanities, and sciences, has been the basic undergraduate degree in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. This degree has opened doors for the graduates for careers in business, education, government and industry. By 1940, a bachelor’s degree had become the common level of education for most white-collar jobs and professions. As we look to the future, there is no question that we live in a technology dependent world. People working in every job, from multi-media classrooms to fully automated factories, will need some basic knowledge of modern technology. As it was necessary to promote literacy and basic education commonly known as liberal education for achieving success in the past, it will be necessary to have technological component in education to be successful in life in the future. In addition, engineering education imparts analytical, problem solving, and logical thinking skills that are very useful in many careers.
Today, the engineering colleges must not only provide their graduates with intellectual development and superb technical capabilities, but must educate their students to work as part of teams; to communicate well; and to understand the economic, social, environmental, and
“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”
Jerath, S. (2002, June), Engineering: The Basic Degree Of The Future Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11079
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