June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.3.1 - 26.3.12
Solving the Impasse Among the Engineering Disciplines: Finding Common Ground for the Educational Requirements for Tomorrow’s Professional EngineersDuring the past several years, there has been a great deal of discussion around the ideathat a baccalaureate degree is not sufficient to produce the engineer with the required skillset to practice as a professional engineer in the 21st century. Over ten years ago theNational Academy of Engineering concluded “It is evident that the exploding body ofscience and engineering knowledge cannot be accommodated within the context of thetraditional four-year baccalaureate degree.”Initially it was considered that a master’s degree in engineering could compensate for theshortfall of technical depth needed for effective practice. Upon further study it wasdetermined that the master’s degree was not necessarily the most effective path for allengineering disciplines and all engineers. Some disciplines have a very effectiveprogram for on-the-job learning in the early stages of a professional career. Otherssought to enhance business acumen and education through a combination approach withboth business and engineering coursework, beyond a bachelor’s degree – perhaps anMBA. This lead to the development of a concept of equivalent credits to a master’sdegree.Recently the American Society of Civil Engineers organized a task committee to studythe “equivalent 30” concept. Meanwhile the Education Committee of the NationalCouncil of Examiners for Engineering Examiners and Surveying was charged withdeveloping “required standards for assessing non-university coursework, payingparticular attention to the rigor required for equivalency” and to “Use input from entitiesthat currently provide meaningful, non-university courses.”The Education Committee also came to a key conclusion in 2014. Based on theEducation Committee’s collaborations and interactions with several key professionalsocieties, the committee has made a substantive determination: That is, the search for“equivalency” is not appropriate. Any education initiative using practice-orientededucation is clearly different than university coursework and thus cannot be judged asbeing equivalent. It is likely that in the near future, the development of new practice-oriented pathway will become a top priority for the Committee,This scholarly paper will delve into a series of questions about the future of engineeringeducation outside of the traditional master’s degree in engineering pathway including: What constitutes a practice oriented pathway? How is the practice oriented pathway distinct from the academic pathway? How might the various engineering societies collaborate to offer a practice oriented pathway? What might be the role of the employer in facilitating a practice oriented pathway?COORDINATING NOTE:This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, thecoordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in2015. It should be considered for inclusion in the one of the two sessions Tom Lenox isorganizing and moderating.
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