16 July 2000


Copyright © 2000 World Expertise LLC – All rights reserved


A periodic electronic newsletter for engineering education leaders,

edited by Russel C. Jones, PhD., P.E.






Education / students


The British government is to spend $ 1.2 billion over the next four years to upgrade science laboratories at its universities, and to increase stipends available to doctoral students in science and engineering. In addition the Wellcome Trust, largest foundation in Britain, will provide $ 348 million to the effort.



Having previously focused its attention on primary and secondary education, the US National Governors Association plans to shift its priority attention to state higher education policies. It plans a three year study aimed at assessing college costs, curricula, and university research. See:


The SEFI Curriculum Development Working Group has organized a workshop entitled “The Impact of Internationalization on Engineering Curricula”, to be held within the framework of the SEFI 2000 annual meeting in Paris, on 6 September. The chairman of the working group, Professor Otto Rompelman of the Netherlands, has prepared a pre-conference paper to stimulate round table discussion. See or contact


In a new role for accreditors, the regional agencies that review colleges and universities in the US are revamping their policies to emphasize how students learn. See


A new publication, “Convergence Across European Higher Education Systems Viewed in the Light of the Facts” has been published by the Eurydice Network. It covers developments in 18 countries and at the European level from 1980 to 1998, focusing on the following aspects: legislation; management, finance, and control; access and wastage; curriculum and teaching; and internationalization. See


An expert in computer network security, Thomas Talleur, charges that colleges and universities often fail to take even basic precautions to protect their computer systems from hackers. See




A professor of foreign languages at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Isabelle de Courtivron, writes that in a world of unprecedented cross-cultural movement, people’s identities become more fluid. She indicates that in order to effectively reach the new global student, educators must respond to that reality. See


Writing in the World Press Review, assistant editor Will Swarts cites publications on student movements from around the world to document his observation that each new generation coming of age is shaped by the society in which it has been raised, and reacts accordingly. He observes that currently students from Indonesia to Tunisia are demanding new, open politics. In some countries, such as Serbia, they are meeting stern resistance from the power structure.  In others, where politics are more free, youth movements can initiate changes in such areas as rigid social or economic conventions. Swarts says that worldwide, young people are showing that they can stand close to the fire – sometimes the torch is passed, sometimes it is grabbed! See


Australia and Indonesia have signed an agreement to expand cooperation in higher education. The agreement is aimed at developing more student and faculty exchange programs, and to encourage joint research programs. See


Due to a just opened bridge between Denmark and Sweden, it is now possible to drive from the Artic Circle of Norway to the Mediterranean shore of Spain. The 16km Oresund Fixed Link, consisting of an 8km bridge, a 3.7km tunnel, and a 4km artificial island, cost $ 3 billion. The double-decked bridge carries four lanes of auto and truck traffic above, and rail traffic below. The connection enhances the feeling among 700 million Europeans that they all belong to a single place. The bridge was officially opened on July 1st by royalty from Denmark and Sweden. See International Herald Tribune, 3 July 2000, p2.



Distance Education


The Ministry of Education in China is planning a $ 43 million distance education project in the country’s relatively undeveloped western region. It will provide teacher training and undergraduate and graduate degree programs. See


Elsewhere in Asia, distance education is also booming. In Hong Kong, distance education is thriving – possibly serving as a model for other parts of Asia. In India, where there are not enough colleges to meet the increasing demand for higher education, low-tech efforts are being employed for distance education. See and


The US Army is planning to provide laptop computers and distance education courses to all of its soldiers, spending $ 500 million over the next five years. See


According to an article in the 27 June 2000 issue of Higher Education Technology News, faculty see online classes as taking more time to prepare and deliver, but feel that they create better educational opportunities. Based on a survey conducted by the National Education Association, faculty also believe that the quality of education does not suffer in online courses. Three quarters of the more than 400 faculty members surveyed were positive about distance learning, with their optimism based on technology’s ability to extend educational opportunities to students who cannot take courses in a traditional, on-site setting. The main addition to faculty workload comes from e-mail interaction with distant students, according to the survey. See


The American Federation of Teachers has passed a resolution opposing undergraduate degrees that are earned entirely online. The faculty union also called for the content of Web-based courses to controlled by faculty members. See


Technical Personnel


A commission of the US Congress, on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development, has released its findings in a report entitled “Land of Plenty – Diversity as America’s Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering and Technology”. The summary of the report, released on July 13th, presents the Commission’s recommendations in the areas of: precollege education, access to higher education, professional life, and public image. The Commission pointed out that a nationwide shortage of qualified high-tech workers will jeopardize the economic future of the US unless the pool of scientists and engineers is expanded to include more women, minorities, and people with disabilities. The full report will be available at the end of July. Copies can be obtained at the Commission’s Web site:


In an article in the 3 July 2000 issue of Electronic Engineering Times, K.C.Krishnadas states that there is a global rush for Indian software engineers. US companies have been active recruiters of Indian engineers for some time, according to the author, and now many other countries are moving to attract technical talent from India – particularly software engineers. The need for software engineers is being driven by the globalization of technology and the electronics industry. India currently has 340,000 software engineers, with 80,000 new ones joining the ranks each year.


The US National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) has named Dr. John Slaughter as its fifth President and CEO. Dr. Slaughter is a former Director of the National Science Foundation Chancellor of the University of Maryland, and President of Occidental College. See


US President Clinton has suggested that more Hispanics seek careers in information technology, to close the earnings gap between them and the white population. He has proposed tax incentives that would encourage more Hispanics to graduate from college. See the 27 June 2000 issue of Higher Education Technology News,


Science / Technology Developments


Russia has launched into orbit the living quarters for the International Space Station, bringing the project closer to fruition. The Russian rocket and its cargo went safely into orbit 10 minutes after being launched from the Baikonur space base, boosting Russia’s flagging space program. See


Agricultural biotechnology can help to alleviate hunger and poverty in the third world, according to a white paper from an international working group of seven science academies. The paper urges governments to base decisions regarding biotech on sound science, and strongly urges research institutions and private corporations in developed countries to share technology with scientists and farmers in developing countries. See http://www/


The final Earth Charter document has been released at ceremonies in The Hague. The Earth Charter, developed in an extensive international consultation process, empowers and links the sustainable development efforts of ongoing civil society movements and is to be used as a framework for personal and professional codes of conduct. See


Upcoming Meetings


The 5th World Congress on Education and Training, sponsored by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations in cooperation with the Polish Federation of Engineering Societies, will be held 12 – 14 September 2000 in Warsaw, Poland. The theme of the conference is ‘improving the innovative capacity of students and teachers, and new educational techniques and technologies’. See


The Wanderstudent 2000 Conference will be held 20-21 October 2000 in Leuven, Belgium. It is an international colloquium organized by EuroPACE in the framework of the 575th anniversary of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. It will explore whether students in the new millennium will wander from university to university in search of desired learning, but doing it virtually rather than physically wandering from campus to campus. See


Personal planning


The July issue of Money magazine cites a faculty member’s transition from professor to retiree in no easy steps. In an article by Lisa Reilly Cullen, a recently retired faculty member describes how the first year or retirement can be unsettling and depressing. Unexpected pains encountered included feeling useless, not knowing how to introduce himself, body aches, getting on the nerves of his wife, and precarious finances. The faculty member interviewed responded by getting busy again – part time teaching, writing a book, and managing his investments. See


Positions of possible interest


The following positions are listed in the July 21 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Ø     Vice Chancellor/Dean, Louisiana State University

Ø     VP for Academic Affairs, Empire State College, NY

Ø     President, University of Miami, FL

Ø     Provost and Executive VP, Northern Illinois University

Ø     President, University of Texas System

Ø     President. Utah State University

And in the July 14 Chronicle:

Ø     Manufacturing Engineering faculty position, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Ø     Dean, College of Science and Engineering, San Francisco State University, CA






To unsubscribe from this newsletter service, please respond to with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.


To contribute information to this electronic newsletter, please send it by e-mail to