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RE: Future Generations of Engineers
- To: "'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: RE: Future Generations of Engineers
- From: "Hewitt, Chris" <hewitt(--nospam--at)aisc.org>
- Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 15:21:47 -0500
Title: RE: Future Generations of Engineers
argument is something I hear alot and it is always very sad to me. Maybe
its because I'm young and naive. You tell me.
The medical and legal
professions increasing the amount of schooling required to enter their
professions does not justify additional engineering education.
If an 18 year old student, who finance upwards of $100,000
for their educations on the expectation of learning what he will have to know to
become an engineer is receiving a "pre-engineering" course in place of the
engineering course that they paid for, the problem is in the quality
and content of the schooling, not the amount of it.
I don't see why it should cost $30,000 - 50,000 more to become an
engineer than it already does.
problem, as I see it, is that the industry as a whole, thinks that people
now in school are somehow not as intelligent as they were at that age and that
the concepts of engineering have somehow changed. In addition to this, I
am told that professors at some schools are catering to a no-fail
philosophy and allowing students to pass courses when they really haven't
learned what they were intended to learn (I find this argument hard to believe,
and it leads me to wonder why the professors of such classes wouldn't
have confidence enough in their assesment methods to make such distinctions
between who should pass and who should fail.)
short and simple answer that I would offer to incoming students is:
"Engineering is hard. Its going to take alot of effort to finish this, but
if you stay the course and put your nose to the grindstone, you will graduate,
in 4 years, ready to start your career as a (possibly
well-rounded) engineer. If it takes 5 years to get the bachelors
degree because you couldn't keep up with that many courses at once, fine.
That happens to those business majors too. If you can't take the heat,
you'll fail. If you can't handle it, leave.: The profession
will be better for it. Darwinism at its best.
Not too far
removed from my backpack wearing days, I feel extremely fortunate at the scope
and range of information that I learned, and on my first day they actually
sat us down in a classroom and said, "Look at the person next to you.
One of you won't make it through this program. Which of you is it going to
be?" Sure, it was sometimes very hard, and at times I wondered why I
didn't change to become a business major, but the light at the
end of the tunnel has been even better than I thought it would
majority of licensed engineers currently practicing in the US went to a
University or technical institute, took a 4 year course which may have included
some liberal arts education (the philosophy of universities, I believe, has
always been to make well rounded citizens, correct? - That is how the
distinction between technical school and university was explained to me)
And, believe it or not, those engineers are functioning successfully in the
world. I do not agree with the argument that there is more to learn
than there used to be. Maybe some educators have forgotten that
engineering is the fundamentals and that the rest of it is really just sexy
packaging (computer programs, in my opinion, should be learned on the job
or as supplement to education, not as a focused learning objective).
Stress and strain are alive and well, and the free body diagram is still
In the midst of a lengthy post, Scott Maxwell wrote:
"Thus, if you really want the engineering profession to emulate
the legal or medical profession, then you are essentially advocating have future
engineers take a 4 year 'pre-engineering' undergraduate degree..."
It is my belief that most CURRENT structural engineering
students NOW begin their education by pursuing a "4 year pre-engineering
undergraduate degree". That degree is the BSCE, or Bachelor of Science in
Civil Engineering Degree, which (at 120-124 credits/hours) has degenerated into
an "introduction to civil engineering degree". That is why a MSCE degree,
or equivalent, has become necessary for the majority of these students.
Alternatively, many students earning a BSAE, or Bachelor of Science in
Architectural Engineering Degree, are adequately prepared to enter the
profession without the need of a graduate degree. When I write "enter the
profession", please understand that I mean as an engineering intern, not as a
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.