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Megatrends In Engineering Education Internationally

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Abroad Educational Opportunities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.846.1 - 8.846.12



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Paper Authors

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Bethany Oberst

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Russel Jones

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

Session 3260


Bethany S. Oberst, Ph.D., James Madison University and Russel C. Jones, Ph.D., P.E., World Expertise LLC


In 1982 John Naisbitt introduced a new technique of gleaning trends in our society in his best-selling book Megatrends – content analysis. He based his futurist predictions on a detailed analysis of what the news media were reporting, by taking time to connect individual events to begin to understand larger patterns. His premise was that the most reliable way to anticipate the future is by understanding the present.

This paper looks at recent and current events in engineering education at the international scale, as reported over the past three years in the International Engineering Education Digest, and attempts to connect them in ways that reveal megatrends in engineering education. From the rush of universities to get into for-profit distance education ventures, to the worldwide drive toward harmonization of degrees and their quality assurance mechanisms, to downturns in engineering enrollments due to student disenchantment with the profession, the topics repeated in the monthly issues of the Digest provide a pattern that helps to illuminate current megatrends, and to project them into likely future directions.


Was spring 2000 one last season of irrational optimism in the United States? On January 14 of that year the Dow Jones Industrials hit a high of 11,722.98. It wouldn’t be until June 1 that manufacturing data and a monthly unemployment report showed the first concrete signs that the US economy was cooling. Do you remember when the Fed actually raised interest rates? They did on May 16, 2000, when they bumped it up by .5 to 6.5%. Back then, 911 was still a US phone number, the Euro had yet to be born, and on March 22, Pope John-Paul II, on a visit to Israel, pleads yet again for a homeland for Palestinian refuges.

On May 1, 2000, the International Engineering Education Digest (the Digest) was born. In the three years since then, the global economy has tanked, political tensions have risen

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Oberst, B., & Jones, R. (2003, June), Megatrends In Engineering Education Internationally Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12597

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