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RE: Engineering Education & Professional Practice

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No, I was not privileged to be around when it was originally set up, but
the former head of the Architecture department created the curriculum
about four to six years ago. With that said, Elementary Structures (Arch
015) was part of the curriculum. The last instructor was a local
architect and after discussions with past students, I discovered that
the course could never have transferred. When I started teaching nearly
two years ago, I e-mailed Paul Frattessa (sorry  Paul, I did not have
time to seek out the correct spelling of your name as I should) and
requested a copy of his class syllabus. He sent it back to me and I
discovered how deficient those students had been. The biggest problem we
have is that the majorities of our students come from poor families and
are pushed through school - including the local high schools. This is
beginning to change but not so in the predominately Hispanic areas.
This, as it turns out, are the majority of our students - lower income
Hispanic families. They lack the math and science background and the
community college does not require this as a pre-requisite for the
course. The first year, I don't think I got our students through 50% of
the class outline and their overall grade point was very low. By this
semester, I have covered almost all of the same work on SLO's syllabus
and am having greater success with the students, but have had to spend a
great many personal hours making myself available to them without charge
to the school. 
Since I did not take this job for the money, I don't mind the hours
spent setting up an educational discussion forum, conversing via e-mail
with students having trouble with homework, or setting up unscheduled
classes for review. I will admit that this year's flock of students has
stronger math skills but the few who don't are generally rewarded with a
passing grade if they make the attempt to learn. They will return next
year and we hope will take one or two math classes before re-enrolling
as this is their weakness.

This is why the thought of messing with the Curriculum to attempt to
establish a standard level of competency bothers me. Many of my students
face challenges not faced in other social settings. They may not be the
best students, but they are intelligent. The fact that they end up in a
tough class like this (relative to other JC type curriculums) indicates
a desire to succeed and we should be doing whatever is possible to give
them a helping hand. I would never have done it had it not been for some
very special teachers and peers. 

Many of the schools face these special problems and have worked for
years to seek a delicate balance. I don't want to see this upset and the
chances removed from intelligent young people that need a few brakes in
life.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
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-----Original Message-----
From: Neil Moore [mailto:nmoore(--nospam--at)innercite.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 3:11 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Engineering Education & Professional Practice

Dennis:

Does your community college have the "mirror image" curriculum for Cal
Poly?  I know of only one up in Northern California that has this.

Neil Moore, S.E.


At 03:04 PM 12/12/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>Sharon,
>I think you misunderstood my comment - I was not criticizing CP -
>especially knowing the caliber of instructors like Paul Frattessa
(sorry
>about the spelling) and others who I converse with regularly on the
List
>and off. In fact, as an instructor for a Community College, our program
>is set up to prepare students specifically to enter Cal-Poly. 
>I still feel that the school is not nearly as Theoretical in content as
>UCLA. This is not a reflection on the instructor, but a practical
choice
>of the school intending to prepare students to enter the workforce as a
>priority to seeking advanced degrees or entering R&D.
>
>This supports my comments that the student needs to understand what the
>school expects to prepare them for rather than choosing an institution
>by reputation or name alone.
>
>Dennis S. Wish, PE
>California Professional Engineer
>The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure
> 
>Website: 
>http://www.structuralist.net
> 
>Professional Forum: 
>http://www.structuralist.net/cgi-local/yabb/YaBB.cgi
> 
>Public Forum on Housing: 
>http://www.structuralist.net/cgi-local/yabb2/YaBB.cgi
> 
>-----Original Message-----
>From: sharonb(--nospam--at)slarchitects.com [mailto:sharonb(--nospam--at)slarchitects.com] 
>Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 12:13 PM
>To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
>Subject: RE: Engineering Education & Professional Practice
>
>If you worked with the C.P. Alums I work with, you may be influenced to
>take
>back that "intensity" comment!  
>ARCE '94 
>
>
>
>
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