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RE: Engineering Education & Professional Practice

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Well said, Joyce.  I think I slept through the spec writing class,
though....

-Jeff Chacon, P.E.
ARCE 1986
Cal Poly SLO

-----Original Message-----
From: Joyce Fuss [mailto:Joyce(--nospam--at)lbdg.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 9:54 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: Engineering Education & Professional Practice


I cannot remain silent on this issue...I was taught many of the things you
list below, Christopher.  I learned dimensional analysis in JC chemistry
(Delta College in Stockton), as well as problem solving technicques and
organization (in physics), communication and innovation (JC engineering
materials).  At Cal Poly, we were required to do actual building designs for
lab projects (ARCE '82) and draw details in our structures classes
addressing things like load path, as well as learn things like specification
writing and architectural detailing etc.  I guess I am fortunate to have had
some excellent professors and having had the opportunity to attend Cal Poly
SLO.  So, they can and in some cases actually do train engineers for at
least some of the real world stuff.

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 8:24 AM
To: ?
Subject: Re: Engineering Education & Professional Practice


>I don't expect to ever find a graduate from a any structural engineering
>program that is trained for the kind of structural engineering that I do:
I don't expect a new graduate to be trained for any real world
assignment. Students learn the sorts of things they'll need to train
themselves to be engineers. Students rarely learn anything about
innovation, people skills, communication, logical validation, organizing
an approach, budgeting time and effort, distinguishing between an issue,
a problem and a question, all the things we had to learn from mentors or
by cleaning up after blunders. Such things just don't happen in schools
because it's necessary to learn a lot of first principles before you can
learn how they fit into a real world design project.

This is no criticism of education, it's just a fact that educators have
one job, engineers have another.

I enjoyed your experience with mentoring, Nels. It's a good post and
students on the list should take notice. One of the good things about my
co-op experience was getting into a mentoring system before I figured I
knew too much. All I had to do was follow instructions and not be too
much of a pain in the ass. Then if I had a question someone was always
willing to help, from a machinist who patiently explained the difference
between a 1/2 inch pipe thread and a 1/2-13 UNC to the engineers who
taught me about dimensional analysis and patched up my sketchy
understanding of thermo.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw

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