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RE: Future Generations of Engineers

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Christopher,

You miss my point (probably because being a graduate of a 4 year BSCE, I
am not educated enough to articulate it better <grin>).  I agree with you
100%.  I actually like the engineering path to licensure MUCH better than
what lawyers do (at least my understanding of it) and to a certain degree
better than what doctors do.  I do like the architectural system better in
some regards than what engineers do, but not in others.

For systems that both doctors and lawyer have, I don't like the "4+" part
of the 4+3 (for lawyers) and 4+4 (for doctors) systems.  The pre-law and
pre-med portion are largely a waste of time in my opinion.  The 4 years
that doctors and lawyers spend in the "pre-" degrees are largely equivalent
in content (but not quantity) to what engineering students do during their
1 to 1.5 years (i.e. non-related general interst courses and
pre-pre-pre-requisite courses such as math and physics in engineering).

I don't buy the need for more formal education for engineering students
because I don't feel that it is the role of universities to graduate fully
prepared, profficient engineers.  The is the role of the 8 years of
educational requirements in the PE licensure process that includes a 4
year ABET accreditted undergrad program PLUS four years of educational
work experience.

To my knowledge, lawyers don't have ANY experience requirements prior to
taking the bar exam and getting their license.  Doctors don't have any
required PAID work experience requirements, but they do get 2 years of "on
the job" training (even though they don't get paid so you really can't
call it a job) during their last two years of medical school.  But
doctor's can go out an practice after their 4 years of med school
(and passing a test to get licensed) without doing an intership if they
can live without hospital privaledges.

All this is not to say that there are not problems in the undergraduate
system that need to be addressed.  While I have not seen it at
universities near me, I certainly believe the notion that the number of
credit hours required for graduation is being reduced.  While I am not
convinced that this is a problem just yet (I graduated from a school that
had a 128 credit requirement and I consider that JUST fine if done right,
so I don't really buy the notion that it needs to be 140 to 150 or more
credits to graduate), I can certainly see that at some point if left
unchecked, it will become a problem.  I just don't see adding a required
masters degree as fixing such a problem.  The real solution is to stop
reducing the number of required credits (i.e. watering down the undergrad
degree).  But people don't want to deal with that solution because it is
too hard and will take too long (not that getting a masters degree
requirement in all 50 states will happen any faster).

But, then since I am just a graduate of a 4-year BSCE program, what do I
know, eh?  (OK, so I also have a MSCE and have completed my classwork
toward a PhD <grin>.  That is called "political spin" to make your point
sound a little better)

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Mon, 28 Jul 2003, Christopher Wright wrote:

> >Why do you seem to advocate leaving a "flawed" system in place and just
> >adding another year to the mix?
> The flaw in the system is the notion that universities produce engineers.
> They don't. Universtiy education introduces a certain portion of the
> science and none of the art required in engineering practice. In addition
> it doesn't attempt to teach organizational or communication skills
> appropriate to engineering practice. My experience is also that graduate
> tends to be come more narrowly focussed, not broader. The place to teach
> the art of engineering is an engineering office, either through a sort of
> preceptorship or a co-op program.
>
> (Not meaning to give offense to academia, Scott, but I do think that the
> Law and the healing professions have it right, with the respective
> practices of clerking and internship.)
>
> Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
> chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
> ___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
> http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw
>
>
>
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