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Re: Schooling (was Connections)

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Ed,

        Such an educational program exists (or at least did exist in the
recent past) at University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada.  U. of C. has two
programs in engineering known as Master of Engineering (as opposed to Master
of science in Engineering), one by thesis option, the other by course
option.

        This M.Eng. program by course option is, in my own opinion, the best
possible education option for a practising engineer; it's even better
(although less recognized) than a Ph.D. (again in my own opinion).

Regards,

H. Daryl Richardson

Ed Tornberg wrote:

> Cliff,
>
> I think you're all over it.
> Many schools do an excellent job in preparing their undergraduate
> students to pass the EIT.  But when it comes time to "specialize in
> structural engineering", that MS degree can be like funneling from a
> bathtub into a capillary tube.
> The system holds us hostage via the thesis - a huge investment in time
> with often little transferrence to our future abilities in the field.
> Oh, not that we should completely abandon it! - but any good school
> willing to properly service its customer (the student), should offer a
> non-thesis path that focuses on outstanding practical preparation rooted
> in sound theory.  In that optional path there should be room for
> introduction on how to draft (CAD or not), read drawings, and detail.
>
> Let's look at another highly focused profession, the medical profession.
> Roughly 4 years undergrad, plus roughly 4 years transitioning to the
> specialty, plus whatever it takes for residency (sort of like intern).
> A continual process zeroing in on what you're really going to do in
> professional practice.  The residency pays low dollars, but from there
> on the compensation is excellent.  Oh, where's the thesis on an obscure
> subject?  Somehow they manage to get their professional research and
> journal articles without requiring the thesis of EVERYBODY.
>
> Now don't pick apart the parallels - I'm just trying to make a general
> comparison.
>
> I see no problem in questioning our entire system of engineering
> education - let's drop the sense of tradition for a moment and think
> freshly about what works and what doesn't.  Any examples?
>
> Ed Tornberg
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Clifford Schwinger [mailto:clifford234(--nospam--at)yahoo.com]
> Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 7:42 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Connections
>
> Scott,
>
> I heard this excuse before (about universities not
> being able to squeeze coursework in stuctural drafting
> into the undergraduate curriculum).
>
> I should have made it clear in my original post - I
> think structural drafting should be a mandatory course
> for engineering students seeking their Master's
> degree.  This makes perfect sense to me. Students
> seeking their Master's degree in structural
> engineering are obviously specializing in structural
> engineering. There would be no civil engineering
> students "wasting" their time having to take this
> "specialized" course that they might never need to use
> in other fields of Civil Engineering.
>
> Actually, I'm confused by the arguement that
> structural drafting courses can't be "fit" into the
> undergraduate curiculum. When I was a student I had
> plenty of leeway to choose lots of electives both in
> and out of engineering. Perhaps such a course could be
> offered as an elective to undergraduates who know that
> they are on a structural engineering track.
>
> I suspect that academia does not look too highly upon
> such low-brow stuff as "structural drafting" - that's
> a shame.
>
> Topics that are held in much higher esteem by academia
> are articles such as those published in the December
> 2003 issue of the ASCE Journal of Structural
> Engineering, pages 1707-1716 titled "Form Finding of
> Sparse Structures with Continuum Topology
> Optimization".
>
> I challenge anyone to read the first page of that
> article and translate for me in English ANY ONE
> SENTENCE! I'm certain that I just set myself up for
> this one, but who cares. When you (try to) read the
> article you will get my drift about the point I'm
> trying to make.
>
> I'm not saying that seemingly obscure cutting edge
> research is not important - it is very important. I'm
> just saying that universities that can belt out
> engineers who are "plug-and-play" in their first jobs
> will rapidly gain the admiration and respect of
> engineering community. As dinosaur who is responsible
> for working with young engineers, I have a good handle
> on which universities are doing a good job at
> preparing engineers for the "real world" and which are
> not. When I hear that new hire got his/her B.S. or
> M.S. as "so and so" University I have a fairly good
> sense about whether we're getting a Yugo or a Lexus.
>
> (Boy did I wander off the original topic of this
> thread or what?!)
>
> OK, I guess I asked for it. Flame me.
>
> Cliff Schwinger
>
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