Asee peer logo

Future Of Engineering Technology

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Issues and Directions in Engineering Technology Education & Administration: Part I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.608.1 - 15.608.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Richard Kelnhofer Milwaukee School of Engineering

visit author page

Dr. Kelnhofer is Program Director of Electrical Engineering Technology and Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Formerly, he held engineering and managerial positions in the telecommunications industry. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University in 1997 and is a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Wisconsin. Dr. Kelnhofer teaches courses in communication systems, signal processing, and information and coding theory.

visit author page


Robert Strangeway Milwaukee School of Engineering

visit author page

Dr. Robert A. Strangeway is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He was the Program Director of the Electrical Engineering Technology program at MSOE from 1997-2003. He earned his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 1996. He has 30 years of experience in microwave/millimeter-wave technology and is currently performing research on millimeter-wave components and systems at Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. He teaches courses in circuits, signals, electromagnetic fields, and RF/microwaves.

visit author page


Edward Chandler Milwaukee School of Engineering

visit author page

Dr. Chandler is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1985 and is a registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin. He previously was a Member of Technical Staff at L-3 Communications and currently performs systems engineering consulting in the area of communications for DISA (U.S. DoD). He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and teaches courses in circuits, signals, and communications.

visit author page


Owe Petersen Milwaukee School of Engineering

visit author page

Dr. Petersen is Department Chair and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He is a former Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. His technical work ranges over topics such as optical data links, integrated circuit technology, RF semiconductor components, and semiconductor component reliable. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and an ABET EAC program evaluator in Electrical Engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Future of Engineering Technology – A Proposal


The question of what is the future of engineering technology has been debated for many years. The discipline has seen a substantial decline in program enrollments over the years and the uncertainty of its place in the university academic setting continues. We believe a fundamental change of direction for engineering technology is needed, a change based on the needs of its core constituents – students/alumni and industry.

Our experience suggests that students and alumni of four-year engineering technology programs expect an engineering career. There are few occupational positions above the rank of technician that contain the word “technologist” in the job title. There is, however, strong demand for qualified graduates who can work as engineers to solve technical problems, communicate technical information, and work well in a team environment. Qualified four-year engineering technology graduates satisfy this skill set, that is, they possess the skills that are required for most positions offered to graduates of baccalaureate engineering programs.

The core thesis we make is that four-year (bachelor) TAC of ABET-accredited engineering technology programs should constitute a separate but equally valid path to engineering careers in industry. Such four-year graduates should be as well-qualified academically as engineering graduates for the majority of engineering careers in industry. Graduates from such programs already pursue career paths that strongly overlap those of engineering program graduates with the exception of research-based careers.

We propose five actions to achieve the aim of engineering technology being recognized as a separate but equally valid educational path to an engineering career: 1. Engineering technology must clearly distinguish the four-year engineering technology academic paths that prepare graduates for an engineering career. It is especially important to distinguish these from two-year programs. 2. The academic curricula of four-year engineering technology programs must have a greater academic uniformity of rigor as is recognized through the accreditation process to be necessary in the preparation for an engineering career. 3. Four-year engineering technology programs should continue to support inclusion in the current single federal government job classification of engineering. 4. The engineering technology community must work with those organizations that have common interests and not with those organizations that discriminate based on academic pedigree. 5. The graduates are prepared to function as engineers; thus, the program objectives should make the proper claim: The degree is Engineering Technology. The career is engineering.

The history underlying the identity problem of engineering technology is briefly reviewed. Differences and issues between engineering and engineering technology are examined. The reality of engineering career paths is established as a context for the proposed actions.

Kelnhofer, R., & Strangeway, R., & Chandler, E., & Petersen, O. (2010, June), Future Of Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15892

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015