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Visions of Engineers for the Future: A Comparison of American and Chinese Policy Discourses on Engineering Education Innovation

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Governance, Diplomacy, and International Comparisons in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://216.185.13.174/38030

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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Yi Cao Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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CAO Yi is a new PhD student at the Dapartment of engineering education in Virginia Tech with the guidance of Dr. Jennifer Case. She is also a research associate at the International Center for Higher Education Innovation(ICHEI), a UNESCO Category 2 Center situated in Shenzhen, China, on the premise of the Southern University of Science and Technology.

With Yi's a bachelor degree of Standardization of Engineering and master of Higher education, she has been inspired to focus on International engineering education research. Her research interest broadly covers comparative education quality and engineering education innovation. Topics she is currently working on include General Curricula for students of Science and Technology(empirical case study), Standards of Engineering Education Accreditation(ABET), and International Collaboration of Scholars in Graduate Education.

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Xiaoye Ma Tsinghua University

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Jennifer M. Case Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Jennifer Case is Head and Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds an honorary position at the University of Cape Town. Her research on the student experience of learning, focusing mainly on science and engineering education, has been published across a range of journal articles in higher education and her recent book, Researching student learning in higher education: A social realist approach published in 2013 by Routledge. She holds an academic development post in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT, and teaches in the undergraduate programme there. She is a coordinating editor for the international journal Higher Education and a co-editor for the Routledge/SRHE series Research into Higher Education.

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Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is an Associate Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He also leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice.

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David B. Knight Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David B. Knight is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education and Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Plan Implementation at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of Research of the Academy for Global Engineering at Virginia Tech and is affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, tends to leverage large-scale institutional, state, or national data sets, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. He has B.S., M.S., and M.U.E.P. degrees from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University.

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William C. Oakes Purdue University at West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6183-045X

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William (Bill) Oakes is a 150th Anniversary Professor, the Director of the EPICS Program and one of the founding faculty members of the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has held courtesy appointments in Mechanical, Environmental and Ecological Engineering as well as Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. He is a registered professional engineer and on the NSPE board for Professional Engineers in Higher Education. He has been active in ASEE serving in the FPD, CIP and ERM. He is the past chair of the IN/IL section. He is a fellow of the Teaching Academy and listed in the Book of Great Teachers at Purdue University. He was the first engineering faculty member to receive the national Campus Compact Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. He was a co-recipient of the National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education and the recipient of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Educational Excellence Award and the ASEE Chester Carlson Award. He is a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

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Marie C. Paretti Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2202-6928

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Marie C. Paretti is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, design education, and gender in engineering. She was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study expert teaching in capstone design courses, and is co-PI on numerous NSF grants exploring communication, design, and identity in engineering. Drawing on theories of situated learning and identity development, her work includes studies on the teaching and learning of communication, effective teaching practices in design education, the effects of differing design pedagogies on retention and motivation, the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration in both academic and industry design environments, and gender and identity in engineering.

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Xiaofeng Tang Tsinghua University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6279-9941

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Xiaofeng Tang is Associate Professor in the Institute of Education at Tsinghua University. Prior to his current position, Dr. Tang worked as an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. He did postdoctoral research in engineering ethics at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Zheping Xie Tsinghua University

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Haiyan Zhao

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Abstract

The US National Academy of Engineering reports The Engineer of 2020 and Educating the Engineer of 2020 marked an important shift in policy thinking regarding engineering education: the emphasis of engineering education leaders thence shifted from producing engineers based on existing socioeconomic demands to actively envisioning and shaping the roles and characteristics of engineers in the future. Writing in the year of 2020, when engineering education yet again faces looming paradigm shift driven in part by a global pandemic and major powers’ adjustment in attitudes and strategies to globalization, we attempt to reassess visions of “engineers for the future,” as reflected through policy discourses in the United States and China, two major players in global engineering education. For this purpose, we present a careful reading of recent policy documents published by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE).

The NAE (2018) report Understanding the Educational and Career Pathways of Engineers resulted from a study commissioned by the Academy to “understand characteristics and career choices of engineering graduates, … as well as the characteristics of those with non-engineering degrees who are employed as engineers in the United States.” Authors of the report sought to sustain the supply of competent engineers in the US by investigating “the engineering education-to-workforce pathway.” Around the same time that the NAE study was conducted, engineering educators and policy makers in China were engaged in a series of conversations aimed at renewing China’s engineering education for the next thirty years. These conversations laid the groundwork for the Emerging Engineering Education (3E) initiative, announced officially by the MoE in 2017 and followed by waves of funded engineering education research and practice projects across the nation.

This paper examines and compares the visions of “engineers for the future” embodied in the NAE (2018) report and the 3E initiative (2017) in China. Our analysis of policy texts seeks to answer the following questions: What assessment of engineering education reality in the US and in China respectively motivated the NAE study and the 3E initiative? What visions of engineers and engineering education are advanced in the respective policy documents? Accordingly, what changes in engineering education are recommended for meeting the visions proposed by policy scholars in the US and China?

Answering these questions will help us engage critically in discourses about the future of engineers and engineering education from a transnational perspective. Perhaps through conversations involving the global community of engineering educators, we might aspire to a broader and more inclusive vision of global engineering education than NAE and MoE has each aspired to accomplish in its own national context.

Cao, Y., & Ma, X., & Case, J. M., & Jesiek, B. K., & Knight, D. B., & Oakes, W. C., & Paretti, M. C., & Tang, X., & Xie, Z., & Zhao, H. (2021, July), Visions of Engineers for the Future: A Comparison of American and Chinese Policy Discourses on Engineering Education Innovation Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://216.185.13.174/38030

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: © 2021 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