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Re: foreign engineer requirements

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>My one big complaint would be with most engineering degrees in the US (like
>my own), those from "liberal arts programs", is that a good 2 years + is
>spent taking liberal arts classes.
To the extent that engineers will be dealing with the laity, we need all 
the breadth we can get. Too many engineers can't communicate because 
they're not well-read, and god knows the inability to write clearly is a 
huge problem. We need to know about history so we don't repeat the 
mistakes of previous generations, we need to know about literature so we 
can understand ideas and appreciate the value of written english. We 
should know about art to appreciate beauty and have some basic 
understanding of philosophy to understand how other people think. We 
Americans are notorious for knowing only one language and a lack of 
understanding of how others live, so the ability to work in a global 
economy means we need to understand something of geography and other 
cultures. Engineers have too much of a reputation for having narrow 
interests and a preoccupation with things, as it stands. That hurts our 
reputations as contributing members of society and it really sucks at 
cocktail parties. 

> I contend that I have forgotten
>most of this information and outside of Jeopardy it is of little use.
College isn't going to teach us all we need to know about anything, 
especially engineering, but it should prepare us to learn about life 
beyond the edge of our desks and not just attempt to teach us a trade. I 
expect that most of us who have been out of college more than 20 years 
don't remember everything we were told (good thing, too...) but I suspect 
more of us than not remember the process of learning about non-technical 
things. I think I'm the better for having read Thurber's 'The Catbird 
Seat' or Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est' despite incorporating 
neither into my professional practice.

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

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