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Promoting Engineering Education As A Career: A Generational Approach

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1038.1 - 10.1038.8



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Paper Authors

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James Morgan

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Beverly Davis

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

Promoting Engineering Education as a Career: A Generational Approach

James Morgan, Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory Beverly Davis, Purdue University


Currently, there is a fundamental paradigm shift in society with regards to attitudes towards the sciences. In higher education, this shift is especially noticeable within engineering programs. Many educators are encouraged to shift the traditional teaching focus and concentrate on student learning. A disturbing trend finds many young people are unaware what a career in engineering entails, are unaware of the job opportunities afforded to them with an engineering degree, or for numerous reasons decide early on in their education that engineering is not for them. The number of earned degrees in engineering and computer sciences grew sharply in the early 1980s, peaked in 1986, and then dropped precipitously before leveling off in the 1990s [2]. In addition, a 2001 National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resources Statistics, Survey of Graduate Students and Post-doctorates found that graduate student enrollment in the sciences and engineering fields have dropped significantly between 1994 and 2001. Clearly, engineering as a profession needs to promote itself on numerous levels. One avenue available is to seek to understand and promote engineering to the future generations, or specifically the millennial generation (Born in the 1980’s-2000’s).

The different learning styles, preferred by “Millennials” should be incorporated into the engineering curriculum and adapted for different methods of information and instruction delivery. The new technological environment is resources-based and rich in data and information and promotes learning through active task performance rather than more or less passive attendance at lectures. Research has shown that Millennials respond well to anything experiential. The techno-savvy millennial generation, as a whole, will be motivated by opportunities for creativity and challenging learning environments. The open-ended access to information, the ability to tailor the paths to learning, and the possibility of continuous and instantaneous performance assessment, offer a great deal of flexibility both in the design of curricula as well as in the method of delivery.

Currently, the oldest of the millennial generation is in college while the youngest is entering grade school. To be successful in promoting engineering to this cohort, educators must understand the millennial generation, appeal to their motivations when promoting engineering as a career choice, and offer a learning environment designed for their learning style. This paper will offer suggestions on promoting engineering as a career by focusing on generational learning styles and preferences. In addition, the future Millennial generation should be educated on engineering degrees, career choices, and future job opportunities. Promotion of career choices in engineering to this generation is critical for future success.

Introduction Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition. Copyright © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education

Morgan, J., & Davis, B. (2005, June), Promoting Engineering Education As A Career: A Generational Approach Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15193

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: © 2005 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