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The Response of Higher and Technological Education to Changing Patterns of Employment

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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

Technological Literacy and Technological Policy

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1334.1 - 25.1334.14



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Paper Authors


John Heywood Trinity College, Dublin

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John Heywood is Professorial Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College, Dublin, and was formerly professor and Director of Teacher Education in the university. He holds an M.Sc. in engineering engineering education among his qualifications. He is a Fellow of ASEE and a Sen MIEEE. His interest in policy making was stimulated while he was Senior Research Fellow in higher technological education at Birmigham College of Advanced Technology in the 1960s. He has directed the research unit of an Irish Government Committe on School examinations, advised the U.K. Employment Department on the Assessment of Enterprise Learning and undertaken research sponsored by the same department with the purpose of classifying the objectives for training technologists and technicians. He has authored 12 books and co-authored two and published many papers. His book on Engineering Education: Research and Development in Curriculum and Instruction received and award from the division for the professions of the American Educational Research Association for the best research publication in the field in 2005. He is particularly interested in the philosophy of engineering education.

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Engineering at the Cross Roads. Implications for Educational PolicyMakersEducational policy making is seldom discussed at meetings of engineering educators exceptin so far as they relate to implementation, as for example the response to ABET 2000 in theUnited States or the Bologna agreement in Europe. Worse evaluation of such policies is oftenhaphazard and changes in the curriculum are often predicated by technological change. Someare large such as the development of computer science and technology courses, the need forbio-engineering relevant courses etc. Some are small and the process of curriculum change isa continuous flow of small changes. Policy makers in most countries try to look ahead, as forexample “The Engineer of 2020” but such reports are based on current outlook and currentpredictions. Present polices for higher education are predicated on the belief that a highlyqualified engineering and scientific manpower is required and that specified numbers ofengineers and scientists are required to maintain economic wealth. This had contributed to thegrowth of specialisms: but, in recent years it has become evident that the axioms on whicheducational programmes of this nature are constructed no longer hold. First, jobs are nolonger for life and it is held that people have to be much more flexible. Second, there is thepossibility that the axiom that new technologies necessarily create new jobs is breakingdown. These are broad issues that have not been tackled by those responsible for highereducation policy and by implication engineering education policy makers. The purpose ofthis paper is to consider the implications of technologically structured social change for thehigher education curriculum and, in particular, engineering literacy.

Heywood, J. (2012, June), The Response of Higher and Technological Education to Changing Patterns of Employment Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22091

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