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Looking Ahead: Some Trends in Graduate Education and Their Impact on Engineering and Technology

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Exploration of Trends in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.903.1 - 25.903.10



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Paper Authors


Joy L. Colwell Purdue University, Calumet

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Joy L. Colwell, J.D., is currently Director of Graduate Studies at Purdue University Calumet, and professor of organizational leadership and supervision.

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Looking Ahead: Some Trends in Graduate Education and Their Impact on Engineering and TechnologyGraduate education in engineering and technology should consider the current trends in bothhigher education and graduate education to plan for and meet future needs. In a time of financialuncertainty, planning and decision-making must be based on an awareness of the larger societal(and perhaps global) context in which they occur to ensure the wisest allocation of scarceresources and the best preparation of students for their future careers. Higher education andgraduate education are increasingly scrutinized and pushed to demonstrate value to the potentialstudent (and possibly to the taxpayers who may provide funding to state-assisted publicuniversities and institutions of higher education).In this paper, some of the current trends in graduate education will be reviewed, along with anexploration and analysis of their impacts, to help graduate programs in engineering andtechnology better plan for the future. Based upon a review (along the lines of trend analysis orenvironmental scanning typically done by businesses as part of strategic planning), some trendsaffecting graduate education will be identified, including the emergence of distance-educationprograms in for-profit and not-for-profit institutions; the Professional Science Master’s degree;and economic factors for institutions and students and demographic characteristics and theirimpact. Some recent research in undergraduate education will be touched upon, particularlyArum and Roksa’s Academically Adrift, and examined for its potential impacts on graduateeducation. Relevant information from the newly released Council of Graduate School’spublication, Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2000-2010 will also be included.

Colwell, J. L. (2012, June), Looking Ahead: Some Trends in Graduate Education and Their Impact on Engineering and Technology Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21660

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