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Faculty Of Engineering At The University Of Georgia: A New Kind Of Engineering School

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Educational Trends in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.556.1 - 7.556.11



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Paper Authors

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Brahm Verma

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Session 2408

Faculty of Engineering at the University of Georgia: A New Kind of Engineering School

Brahm Verma, Mark Eiteman 1 Professor, Associate Professor Faculty of Engineering The University of Georgia Athens, GA.


The U.S. is leading the rapid evolution of social, industrial and educational institutions into a post-industrial, knowledge-based society. This change in culture and technology is as profound as the shift that took place a century ago as an agrarian America evolved into an industrial nation. 1 In less than two decades we have gone from computers principally an instrument for ‘brainy’ engineers and scientists to a commonplace use by the first grade class; from days for a message by ‘air*mail’ to just a few seconds by ‘e*mail’; and from a trip to a click to buy books. We have added E-mail, E*trade, E*bank, E*news and E*bay to the vocabulary of a 4-year old. There is a steady shift from labor-intensive to knowledge-intensive products and processes. Indeed, in the coming age, the key strategic resource necessary for prosperity will be knowledge, that is, educated people and their ideas 2.

One of society’s most enduring creations, the university, is also the most important social institution and agent of change. It not only develops, stores and conveys knowledge, wisdom and values, but at least for a thousand years, it has been a primary agent in the transformation of societies. Yet, for the most part, change in the university itself is slow, linear and incremental. Reforms are cast within established approaches and structures. Over this time, the university has developed an organization of academic disciplines, an ordered structure of bureaucracy and a purpose which are not the subject of open debates. They present insurmountable inertia to change. It is not a coincidence that state legislators are beginning to question the time-honored tenure system in the university at the same time that humanities scholars are attempting to effect social change and engineers and scientists are forming partnerships with private corporations and foundations. 3

Perhaps the most notable last mega-change in the public university is now more than 150 years old when the U.S. conceptualized and established the land-grant colleges in the university during the transitions from an agrarian to an industrial society. It represented a paradigm shift in the very nature of learning and scholarship. It established a unique 1 Corresponding author Brahm Verma. Send comments and questions on the paper to both authors. Email addresses: Respectively,,

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Verma, B. (2002, June), Faculty Of Engineering At The University Of Georgia: A New Kind Of Engineering School Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11302

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