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Transforming Engineering Education The Road Ahead 2/8/2014 Moshe Kam, IEEE Transforming Engineering Education Program Chair Drexel University.

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Presentation on theme: "Transforming Engineering Education The Road Ahead 2/8/2014 Moshe Kam, IEEE Transforming Engineering Education Program Chair Drexel University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Transforming Engineering Education The Road Ahead 2/8/2014 Moshe Kam, IEEE Transforming Engineering Education Program Chair Drexel University

2 2 Outline 2/8/2014 Why do we need to transform engineering education? Broad themes discussed in the conference The Road Ahead What are we going to do after this conference?

3 3 Why do we need to transform engineering education? 2/8/2014 Decline in interest in engineering as a career path among young people in several major industrial countries The sense that entry level engineers lack necessary skills The sense that the business environment has changed but engineering education did not keep pace

4 4 Broad Themes 2/8/2014 Increasingly, engineers face challenges that involve large scale, complex systems …requiring strong interaction with non-engineer experts and the public Current curricula rarely address such challenges … (overly) focused on preparation in mathematics and physics and on engineering science Making engineering education cross- disciplinary is a hard but worthy challenge

5 5 Desired Skills of Graduating Engineers 2/8/2014 Able to communicate effectively to technical and non- technical audiences Able to self educate Process large volumes of information – sift through and generate knowledge Understand that education of engineers continues for a lifetime Able to work in heterogeneous teams (including virtual teams) And to converse with professionals in Law and Business Willing to take risks, experiment, and be innovative

6 6 Engagement with the Community 2/8/2014 Many curricula operate with little regard to the community wherein they reside Engagement of students in their local community can provide a partial solution. Examples: Conduct student design projects in the community Such as Purdue Universitys EPICS project Place graduate students as trainee teachers in high schools as part of their training

7 7 Better Communication Skills… 2/8/2014 Would improve the public discourse on science and engineering Would help communities understand the potential and impact of proposed engineering projects Increase understanding of engineering among young people …and their parents and teachers …with potentially positive impact on choosing engineering as a career path

8 8 Observations on the Curriculum 2/8/2014 The current engineering curriculum is jam- packed We have hard time eliminating existing taught material One possible solution is to try to imbed new themes in the existing curriculum Rather than starting new courses Significant changes may be possible without a major overhaul

9 9 More on the curriculum 2/8/2014 We lack a common view of what the curriculum is trying to achieve One model: Undergraduate education – broad background for entry level engineering practice M.S. level education – specialization for professional practice Ph.D. level education – preparation for specialized R&D

10 10 Technology and the curriculum 2/8/2014 Technology changes continue to affect delivery and content of the curriculum: Ability of students to discover and process on-line information Impact of distance learning and online delivery on quality and efficiency of teaching and learning Emergence of scientific computing software as a tool in design Role of software engineering in engineering curricula

11 11 The Road to Reform: the University Reward System 2/8/2014 If Engineering Education is to change, the university reward system will have to change as well At present many schools weigh scholarly publications, graduate student advising and research funding much more than excellence in undergraduate education If improvement is to be made continuous, we need to be able to measure it Identify the metrics Align improvement with the reward system

12 12 Thinking Globally 2/8/2014 Wide agreement on the need to increase global understanding and engagement Proposed ways to achieve this goal: Semester abroad Participation in Engineers without Borders projects Study of languages These recommendations are not exactly global

13 13 Engineering Literacy for non- technical students 2/8/2014 Sure engineers need to learn how to talk to non-technical audiences… But non-technical audiences need to be exposed to some level of understanding of engineering as well Engineering departments have the obligation to provide engineering literacy courses and labs to non-engineers Political leaders of the future should possess at least a minimal level of engineering literacy

14 14 University-Industry Exchanges 2/8/ Feedback from industry to academia is needed At present it is often indirect and ineffective Co-op and industry internships can help Few university professors have practiced in industry. Still… …while many faculty members spend sabbatical leaves in industry and serve as consultants to industry… it is very rare that established industry practitioners come to the university for extended residence

15 The Road Ahead What are we going to do after this conference? 2/8/

16 16 A few conference-related activities 2/8/2014 Develop and disseminate the Proceedings of the Conference All papers and presentations Provide a summary and a manifesto A more formal presentation of the main themes, ideas and proposals discussed at the Conference

17 17 Implementation of proposals and action items 2/8/2014 We need to make a concrete list of desired but missing skills First iteration: find out what training industry is already paying for and label it important for industry Identify what is appropriate for the curriculum To encourage development of desired but missing skills we will develop a set of recommendations and resources For schools For regulatory bodies and accreditation agencies

18 18 How would the recommendations be expressed? 2/8/2014 As best practices As repositories of case studies As proposals for stand-alone courses Along with detailed curricular materials and on-line resources As proposals to imbed skill training in existing curricula With examples and training materials Principal dissemination tool – a web portal on ideas for a better engineering curriculum

19 19 More concretely… 2/8/2014 IEEE will provide IBM with a proposal for joint development of the curricular resources (within 45 days) A proposed joint IEEE/IBM project Open invitation to other professional associations and corporations to join We will use an existing resource to get the project underway Real World Engineering Projects or TryEngineering Aim at first launch by the second quarter of 2011

20 20 Questions and Comments 2/8/2014

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