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RE: Schooling (was Connections)

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John,

I would argue that it is more than just a function of "the characteristics
of the individuals involved vs. the training they received in college" but
also a function maybe the level of expectations may have changed too.  It
seems to me that many expect newbie engineers to survive when tossed in
the deep end, when in the past they may have have only been expected to
keep their head above water in a "deep end" where the bottom of the pool
was a foot below their struggling feet but is now about 30 feet below
their struggling feet.

When I say I believe that the industry has responsibility for training, I
am not suggesting that newbies get to play in the "kiddie pool".  I just
don't buy the idea that they should be tossed in the diving well area with
weights on.  I should not have to re-teach a newbie engineer things like
how to design a simply support steel beam or a basic steel column.  Nor
should I have to sit down and explain the basics of concrete design like
Whitney's stress block.  In otherwords, there definitely should be some
basic "pure" structural tasks that I should be able to give a young
engineer to do with little or no guidance from me.  But, then I don't
expect a newbie engineer to fully do a seismic analysis per the seismic
loading in the 2000 IBC (heck, there are a lot of older engineers [5+
years of exp] that would struggle with that in this neck of the woods just
because seismic has not been much of an issue until recently are here) or
fully deal with wind loading issues or figure out all the necessary
details/sections that might be necessary to full "explain" something on
the drawings.

Regards,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI

On Wed, 3 Dec 2003, John Whitty wrote:

> I agree Cliff...I know that our company is not really condusive to being a training house.  The shear number of jobs we get, most of small to medium size - as well as tight schedules and the never ending charge of billability seem to preclude the training aspects that do need to take place in some way, shape or form.
>
> Unfortunately, the new grads we have gotten (that I have been involved with) when placed in a "wear a number of different hats"/"sink or swim" environment seem to sink like rocks.
>
> I don't know how much of this can be attributed to the characteristics of the individuals involved vs. the training they received in college.  Quite frankly the on the job training I received in "the real world" has been more invaluable to me than any book smarts I ever absorbed - or lost for that matter.  Is there any place out there that produces jacks of all trades/masters of all - right out of the box?  If there is let me know.
>
>
>
>
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Clifford Schwinger [mailto:clifford234(--nospam--at)yahoo.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 8:47 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Schooling (was Connections)
>
>
> Scott,
>
> Things have changed dramatically in the structural
> engineering profession - at least the segment of the
> profession that I work in.  Engineering fees, project
> schedules and the methodology by which consulting
> structural engineering firms design projects no longer
> affords the luxury providing "training camps" for new
> graduates.  Granted, some training will always be
> required, but it appears that many engineering
> graduates today seem LESS WELL prepared when they
> enter the marketplace than were engineers entering the
> profession 20 years ago.
>
> We engineers in the trenches are just asking for some
> help from academia to better prepare new engineers for
> the workplace.  If the answer from academia is "No,
> that's not our job..." then so be it. I was just
> pointing out a problem and offering what I thought was
> a good suggestion.  I'm surprised at the resistance
> that I'm hearing.
>
> In this "new economy" that we are in, when things
> change you have to adapt - and you have to adapt
> quick, or you'll be dead meat with the blink of an
> eye.
>
>
> Cliff Schwinger
>
>
> > Scott Maxwell wrote:
> >
> > . > Roger,
> >
> > . > And this is where I have a problem.  If you
> > think along this line, then it
> > . > implies that the "customer" (the profession)
> > expects a finished "product"
> > . > (the student/young engineer).  The problem is
> > the current "manufacturing
> > . > process" is not meant to produce a finished
> > "product".  You really
> > . > need to liken the student "product" coming out
> > of the schools as a engine
> > . > for a car.  The "customer" then buys that
> > engine, but still has some
> > . > "work" to do to put the engine in the car before
> > the "customer" really has
> > . > the final finished "product" that they can
> > "drive" around.  In otherwords,
> > . > schools do supply a "product" (as they are meant
> > to) but just not a
> > . > "product" in the completely final form that the
> > "customer" really can just
> > . > go out an drive.
> >
>
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