Asee peer logo

Re Engineering Technician Education For The New Millennium

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Systems Approach to Teaching ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1053.1 - 10.1053.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Gary Masciadrelli

author page

Nicholas Massa

author page

Gary Mullett

Download Paper |

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

Re-Engineering Technician Education For The New Millennium

Nicholas M. Massa, Gary J. Masciadrelli, Gary J. Mullett Engineering Technologies Division Springfield Technical Community College Springfield, Massachusetts

Abstract The U.S. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Criteria 20001 (EC-2000) requires that graduates of two-and four-year engineering technology (ET) programs demonstrate proficiency in mathematics, science, and engineering, be able to work in multidisciplinary teams, communicate effectively, be sensitive to the social and ethical issues related to the engineering profession, and develop the capacity for lifelong learning. While many four-year colleges and universities have embraced EC-2000 and have restructured their curricula and instructional methodology accordingly, the limited time available in two-year engineering technology curricula presents a unique challenge to associate degree-granting institutions – preparing learners with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to succeed in 21st century workplace. What is needed is a more efficient and effective approach to engineering technician education, one that focuses on the development of learner proficiency, the ability to skillfully apply knowledge in solving real-world problems. To this end, we draw upon the adult and experiential learning literature to create a pedagogical framework for restructuring engineering technician education. Using an interdisciplinary systems engineering approach grounded in active learning, real-world problem solving, and metacognitive development, we present key strategies for developing and enhancing learner proficiency in engineering technician education.

Introduction Engineering technicians play a critical role in the high tech industries that drives this nation’s economy. Working side-by-side with engineers and scientists, engineering technicians are the “hands-on” people, responsible for building, testing and troubleshooting simple devices and components to complex integrated systems. Engineering technicians design experiments, build prototypes, analyze and interpret data, and present experimental results to peers, supervisors and customers. They are required to work individually as well as in interdisciplinary teams, interface with vendors, and contribute to process efficiency in manufacturing and production environments. Given the breadth of knowledge and skills required of the engineering technician, it is ironic that most two-year engineering technician programs are still structured using a discipline-specific educational model (e.g., electrical, mechanical, manufacturing, etc), taught using an instructor-led methodology that hasn’t changed in decades.

Critics of engineering technician education2, 3 argue that educational programs focus too much on the transmittal of information through static lecture-discussion formats and routine laboratory experiences. This approach to education often results in graduates who do not have a full range of important employability skills and competencies needed in business and industry, such as the ability to apply knowledge skillfully to problems of practice, communicate effectively, work as

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Masciadrelli, G., & Massa, N., & Mullett, G. (2005, June), Re Engineering Technician Education For The New Millennium Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14635

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