24 November 2003

Copyright © 2003 World Expertise LLC – All rights reserved

A periodic electronic newsletter for engineering education leaders,

edited by Russel C. Jones, Ph.D., P.E., with Bethany S. Oberst, Ph.D.


1 - International developments

2 - US developments

3 - Distance education, technology

4 - Students, faculty, education

5 – Employment

6 – Journals

7 – Meeting




1 - International developments

Islamic research is casualty of terrorism war – Arab countries spend less than 0.2% of their national output on research, according to a new United Nations study reported on by Richard Stone in the October 24th Science. Moreover, many collaborations between Arab researchers and those in the West have been torn asunder by 9/11 developments, and are slow to mend. And Arab student numbers in the West are down since 9/11 – in the United States , they are off 30%, for example. Research leaders in the Arab region are not hopeful of receiving substantial support from the West, but are instead redoubling their efforts to get their own governments to provide more research funding. At a recent meeting of the 57 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, representatives called for countries to set aside “major national funds” for research programs. Some observers say that increased scientific and technology in Arab countries would be a significant way to fight religious extremism and terrorism. (See  

French court upholds university diversity efforts – An affirmative-action type program in an elite French public university has withstood a court challenge, according to Burton Bollag writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In 2001 the Institute of Political Studies in Paris , known as Sciences Po, began a program of preferential treatment for students in 17 public high schools which enroll large numbers of poor students.  Selected students are given three years of special academic preparation, and are able to waive sitting for the usual highly competitive entrance examination in favor of a 45 minute oral examination conducted by Sciences Po faculty.  So far, 87 students have been admitted under this program, and according to school officials, are performing as well as peers admitted through the traditional process. The court which reviewed the case brought by a right-wing student association asked Sciences Po to clarify some aspects of the program, and to assure that students from private secondary schools would be eligible to participate, but declared the program legal.  This program is the first major effort to diversify France ’s powerful civil service and cadre of political leaders, large numbers of whom come from France ’s elite schools such as Sciences Po.  (See

Europe and Japan see benefits of IT revolution – Most economists agree that the United States has enjoyed strong productivity growth since 1995, largely due to investments in information technology. But according to an article on “Computing the Gains” in the October 23rd The Economist, most feel that Japan and Europe have missed out on such gains, due to slower investment in IT and rigidities in labor and product markets that reduce the return on such investments. But a new analysis by a Harvard researcher finds evidence that IT has also boosted productivity in Japan and Europe – except for Italy . So America ’s growth resurgence due to IT investment is not unique. Such productivity growth elsewhere has just been partly masked by poor investments in other things. (See

Parties struggle for control of universities in Turkey – Higher education in Turkey has recently been in the center of high-heat tension around the issue of university autonomy.  Turkey ’s universities are strongly secular.  The current government is led by a moderate Islamist, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who proposed a bill seen as limiting the power of the Higher Education Council, a strongly pro-secular agency.  The bill was withdrawn in face of strong opposition from rectors, faculty and students, but public protests have occurred led by those advocating such changes as Kurdish language courses and lifting the ban on head scarves, according to Burton Bollag reporting for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

British universities face funding gaps – British students are protesting the Blair government’s proposed new system of “top up fees” that will charge students up to $5100 per year, according to an article in the November 10th Business Week by Stanley Reed. Students complain that the fees will lead to an elitist system, where only the rich will be able to get university educations. The government’s proposal, scheduled for a vote in the parliamentary session that begins in late November, has sparked a hot debate on how to finance the rising costs of higher education. Critics fear that the funding crisis will affect Britain ’s competitiveness, since top faculty and graduate students can go elsewhere – such as to the United States . Charging the customer for education may still run against the grain in Britain , but there seems to be no other choice. The debate is being closely watched by European countries on the Continent, where universities are under even more financial pressures. (See

Plan to support former Iraqi weapons scientists proposed by US State Department The US State Department is designing a special program to reintegrate former Iraqi weapons scientists into more traditional activities, thus preparing them to support the redevelopment of their country.  The program, “Science, Technology, and Engineering Mentorship for Iraq ,” was created by George H. Atkinson, the State Department’s special advisor on science and technology. With a $16 million budget, the plan is to expand and deepen connections between Iraqi and US scientists and engineers and to pay Iraqis to submit proposals for special funding of productive research, according to Daniel del Castillo for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Young researchers in Spain complain about employment law – A new employment bill-of-rights for young researchers in Spain provides uniform, improved benefits, such as access to the country’s free social security system and health, retirement and disability benefits. But according to an article in the November 7th Science by Xavier Bosch, the young researchers are protesting that the new rules are inadequate. They complain that there is still a two-year waiting period before they are considered full-fledged productive workers, and that they are not eligible for unemployment benefits. (See 


2 - US developments

Slow progress reported on internationalizing US campuses – The American Council on Education recently released a major report, “Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses,” writes Alice Gomstyn in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This survey of 752 colleges and universities, their faculty and students, concludes that while some progress has been made in internationalizing various types of programs over the past few decades, most institutions have not made international learning a part of their mission statement, let alone a strategic priority.  There is a gap between what faculty and students say they support, and their actual participation in international programming.  While study abroad is an important part of the total internationalization of a campus, the report concludes, major emphasis needs to be placed on changing the curriculum, according to Madeleine Green of the ACE.  The report breaks down figures according to institutional type, and covers such programs as foreign language instruction, international campus activities, and studies abroad.  (See One statement from the executive summary of the report, available online, will be of particular interest to educators in large US research institutions. “Compared with faculty at other types of institutions, faculty at research universities were the least likely to have agreed that most undergraduates at their institutions graduate with an awareness of other countries, cultures, or global issues.” See

Special Arab immigrant registration to stop – The US Homeland Security Department has decided to stop a program that required thousands of Arab and Muslim men to register with immigration authorities, according to an article in the November 23rd New York Times by Rachel Swarns. Of 85,000 men who registered at immigration offices, as well as thousands more screened at airports and border crossings, only 11 were found to have links to terrorism. The program has been sharply criticized by civil liberties groups and advocates for immigrants. That program will be superceded by an effort in which immigration officials at 115 airports and 14 seaports will begin collecting digital fingerprints and photographs from foreign visitors who enter the US with visas. The new program, to begin in January, is not specifically aimed at Muslims and Arabs. (See

NIH continues disputed review process  – The US National Institutes of Health continue to examine a list of about 190 studies they funded despite controversy over who called for this examination and what was to have been its scope and purpose.  The studies under scrutiny all involve topics such as sexual behavior, which have in the past been questioned or ridiculed by some members of Congress.  Some who favor closer scrutiny of federally-funded research say the issue is basic accountability.  Others see this situation, despite its ambiguities, as an attempt to squelch, on ideological grounds, peer-reviewed research into important issues. Jeffrey Brainard wrote this report for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

New course for licensure charted – A task force of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying has released its recommendations for how the licensing of professional engineers should evolve to meet the changing needs of the profession in the 21st century, according to an article by Danielle Boykin in the November 2003 Engineering Times. The task force was charged with responding to several developments: a growth of specialization within the profession, the low number of graduate engineers who become licensed, concerns for changes in engineering education, and initiatives put forth by professional societies. Recommendations include continuation of the current model law requirements for licensure (ABET accredited degree, experience, two exams), but sharpen up some of the details (e.g., waive the Fundamentals Exam for candidates who have been awarded a doctorate in engineering). (See

Foreign student enrollment in US holds even – Statistics show that the number of foreign students enrolled in US colleges and universities in 2002-2003 held virtually steady when compared with the previous year.  But that in itself was significant, since the average growth over the previous five years had been 5%.  The overall figures, published by the Institute for International Education and reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Jennifer Jacobson, do not in themselves reveal the large shift in foreign student enrollment by region, however.  Significant increases in the numbers of Chinese, Indian and South Korean students made up for serious declines in the number of students coming from Middle East countries, where increased post-9/11 visa scrutiny has discouraged and delayed many potential enrollees.  Allan E. Goodman, president of the IIE, is not pessimistic, however.  He sees other countries reaching their maximum capacities in higher education, and believes that this dip in enrollments will be overcome by actual increases in numbers in the coming years.  Also in the mix of possible explanatory factors are persistent world financial problems and the increased recruiting efforts of other English-speaking countries.  US programs in mathematics, engineering and science are being particularly affected. David Cohen and Daniel del Castillo also contributed to this article. (See

Sanctions on embargoed country authors – The US Treasury Department has advised a major professional society, IEEE, that it must limit members’ rights in four countries embargoed by the US : Cuba , Iran , Libya and the Sudan . According to an article by Jean Kumagel in the November 2003 IEEE Spectrum, that means among other things that the Society cannot edit and publish articles submitted by authors in those countries unless it can obtain a special license to be exempted from normal rules. IEEE members in the four countries are also prohibited from being elevated to a higher grader of membership, using IEEE e-mail alias and Web accounts, accessing online job listings, and conducting conferences under the IEEE name. Facing possible fines of up to $10-million and possible prison terms, IEEE has complied with the regulations. Of 1700 members from those four countries, all but 200 have resigned. Other societies are also responding to the sanctions in various ways. (See   

US Energy Department plans new, upgraded facilities in 20 year plan – The US Department of Energy has released its strategic plan which includes upgrading or building 28 scientific facilities over the next 20 years. Priorities include research into fusion, advanced computing and environmental science.  Many of the near-term, mid-term and long-term priorities involve universities, although specific budget figures have not be made final and in any case will not make their way into requests until the 2006 or 2007 fiscal year.  Anne Marie Borrego, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, says that the full report is available at (See

Senate debates Internet tax bill – The temporary moratorium on taxes on Internet access, in place since 1998, expired on November 1st, and Congress is debating whether to extend it permanently. According to an article by John Schwartz in the November 6th New York Times, the Bush administration is supporting a permanent ban, arguing that it will create an environment for innovation and ensure that electronic commerce remains a vital and growing part of the economy. Opponents of the extension argue that state tax coffers are suffering as more areas of commerce – such as telephone service – become Internet based. (See


3 - Distance education, technology

Chinese Internet use gains breadth – Internet use is spreading further than expected in China, according to recent surveys reported in an article by Charles Hutzler in the November 18th Wall Street Journal. It is reaching smaller, less developed cities, and would become even more popular if it were not for government controls. In the major cities of Shanghai , Beijing and Guangzhou , one-third of the residents use the Internet. The surveys show that, surprisingly, some 27% of residents of smaller cities are also on-line. Far from being a tool of the educated and well-off in big cities, the Internet is cutting across income and geographical lines in China , creating a populace that is better informed and more demanding of the government. Most people surveyed believe that the Internet will impact Chinese politics. (See

Open access journal unveiled – This month the Public Library of Science unveiled a free electronic, open access journal based on author fees, according to an article by David Malakoff in the October 24th Science. The journal is available free online ( and is funded by charges of $1500 per paper to the authors. A biology journal has been launched, and the organizers plan to follow it with dozens more over the next five years. Organizers hope to overturn the current scientific publication establishment – a $7-billion a year industry – which they say no longer serves the best interest of science or scientists. Librarians in particular have complained about the escalating costs of the current print based system. Younger researchers have expressed concern that such electronic publications may not carry as much weight in tenure decisions as traditional publications. (See

Wi-Fi industry hopes “roaming” will lure users – Providers of Wi-Fi Internet connections are developing a strategy of cooperation that they hope will keep the field growing, according to an article by Dennis Berman in the November 6th Wall Street Journal. Many providers of Wi-Fi are expected to begin signing agreements that give their customers access to other providers’ “hot spots”, much like the alliances that connect automated bank teller machines and mobile-phone networks. Some 12,000 hot spots are now installed, with that number expected to triple by 2005. But it is tough for Wi-Fi users who subscribe to a particular provider’s service to get access in another provider’s hot spot. At prices ranging from $20 to $40 a month, multiple subscriptions are unlikely. The large scale Wi-Fi providers have become convinced that they cannot turn a profit without reaching agreements with other companies building similar infrastructure. (See

Industry concerns reported in ASEE session – At the annual meeting of the American Society of Engineering Education this past summer, a major session focused on what industry wants from universities. As reported in the November 2003 ASEE Prism in an article prepared by the Corporate Member Council of ASEE, industry wants to interact with academia in several ways: broadening the perspectives of graduates through implementation of accreditation guidelines, improving the curriculum to include industry perspectives in areas such as integrated design and manufacturing, increasing diversity and numbers of students in the engineering graduate pipeline, promoting internships for students, increasing global emphases, and improving interactions on R&D projects. The latter concern was a particularly hot topic at the session. One industry representative has said “Due to US universities’ interpretation of the intellectual property-sharing regime created under Bayh-Dole, it is easier to work with foreign universities rather than US academic institutions.” It is said that the dialogue between industry and academia has changed from the advancement of knowledge and the instruction of graduate students to a discussion between lawyers and technology transfer offices about intellectual property rights. (See

Reward fund for finding hackers – Microsoft has set up a $5-million reward fund for information that helps law enforcement in hacking investigations, according to an article in the November 6th Wall Street Journal by Gary Fields et al. The fund is a response to criticism that Microsoft’s products are beset by security flaws and susceptible to viruses. The first $500,000 is earmarked for information leading to the arrest of the initial author of the latest attacks, the MSBlast worm and SoBig virus, which disrupted millions of computers world wide this year. The company is concerned that sales to corporations are being hurt by such attacks, and that some customers are switching to the Linux operating system, which hasn’t been targeted so widely by writers of viruses and worms. (See

Congress set to restrain spam – House and Senate leaders have reached agreement on legislation to stem the flood of junk e-mail messages, according to an article in the November 22nd  New York Times by Edmund Andrews and Saul Hansell, making it likely that Congress will approve a final version of the bill before it adjourns for this year. The legislation would expose mass e-mailers to civil fines of up to $250 a message if they disguise their identities or make themselves impossible to trace. It would also authorize, but not require, the Federal Trade Commission to create a “do not mail” registry which would prohibit marketers from sending them unsolicited e-mails. Some e-mail experts cautioned that the legislation includes many concessions to the marketing industry, and so may have limited impact. The bill would override state laws that impose tougher restrictions on junk e-mail. (See      

Bargain-priced “Big Mac” at Virginia Tech – Challenge: compare Japan ’s “Earth Simulator” with Virginia Tech’s “Big Mac.”  Response: the Earth Simulator, the world’s fastest supercomputer, reportedly cost $250 million.  The Big Mac will cost $7.2 million and may be ranked as the world’s third or fourth speediest computer.  Bonus: the Big Mac was assembled out of 1100 plain-vanilla Apple computers and assembled in a month with the help of pizza-fueled graduate students.  The serious purpose behind this project is to build Virginia Tech’s program in computational science and engineering reports Florence Olsen, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Lost Internet references – A study by Robert Dellavalle et al reported in the October 31st Science indicates that there is a significant problem with Internet references cited in periodicals. In examining references in several high circulation scientific journals, the authors found that 30% of articles contained one or more Internet references. But unlike hard copy references, Internet references are subject to change and becoming inaccessible. In the study, 3.8% of Internet references were inactive after 3 months, 10% at 15 months, and 13% after 27 months. Inactive Internet references were most commonly “.com” addresses (46% lost after 27 months), followed by “.edu” (30%), other (20%), “.gov” (10%) and “.org” (5%). The authors suggest several possible remedies to the problem. (See  

To-do list for technology A special section in the November 17th Wall Street Journal contains a series of articles describing problems facing the technology industry, and describing what it is doing to solve them. The eight problems addressed are: make software more reliable, simplify home networking, manage TV-channel clutter, keep hackers out, help baffled consumers, lengthen battery life, get corporate computer services to talk to each other, and safeguard confidential personal information. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

Shortage of engineers and scientists predicted – The US National Science Board (a group that sets policy for the National Science Foundation) has predicted a shortage of US-born engineers and scientists and has called on the US government to take steps to deal with it.  The report, “The Science and Engineering Workforce: Realizing America’s Potential,” (available at is based on three years of study.  It recommends that the government increase undergraduate scholarships for science and engineering students, increase support for graduate and post-graduate students, increase research spending, and address shortages of qualified primary and secondary math, science and technology teachers.  The NSB cites 2000 census statistics to show that 17% of bachelor’s educated workers in US science and engineering came from overseas, 29% of master’s educated, and 38% of doctorally prepared. The report also points out the drop in H-1B visas, meaning that fewer people with specialized engineering and science skills have been admitted into the US , undermining the national competitive position.  According to Anne Marie Borrego, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, NSF’s director, Rita Caldwell, did not explain how the findings of the NSB would be integrated into the agency’s fiscal 2005 budget request, due out in February 2004.  (See

Engineering students report weaker feedback – The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) was released on November 10 and contains the following statement: “Business and Engineering majors are well below their counterparts in other fields in terms of prompt feedback from faculty and the frequency with which they engage in integrative activities.”  A summary of the comprehensive report, “Converting Data into Action: Expanding the Boundaries of Institutional Improvement,” is available online. (See

International Educators group calls for more study abroad scholarships – NAFSA: Association of International Educators, recently recommended that the US government establish a scholarship program to enable three times the current number of students to study abroad, with preference given to those going to underdeveloped countries.  The proposed program, called “Lincoln Fellowship,” would cost $3.5 billion and increase to 500,000 the number of US university students going abroad for a year, or at least one semester. NAFSA’s report, “Securing America’s Future: Global Education for a Global Age,” reflects the American Council on Education’s report (see above), and cites as problems lack of leadership on the part of senior campus officials, lack of faculty incentives, rigid curricula, and poor orientation and re-entry for those students who do venture abroad.  The report also points out barriers to studies abroad for the non-traditional students who make up a significant portion of the US undergraduate population.  NAFSA’s report is based on the premise that the current state of ignorance among Americans of foreign languages and other cultures is a “national liability,” according to Burton Bollag, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The report is available online at (See

More US students go to China – Jen Lin-Liu, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, says that the number of US students studying in China has grown rapidly in the past few years.  However, the numbers (3,900 in 2001) still lag significantly behind those for Britain (30,000). While many students are enrolled in the best and most prestigious Chinese universities, experts fear that this expansion may foster the growth of shoddy, brief summer programs offered by second or third tier Chinese universities anxious to make money.  Most US students come to study Chinese, but some who already know the language are enrolled in other curricula.  (See

Copyright in the digital age – The November/December 2003 Change features a series of articles on copyright: “Copyright in the age of photocopiers, word processors, and the Internet”; “Libraries, copyrights, and the digital age”; “Copyright and distance education”; and “Educating undergraduates for responsible citizenship.” The articles point out that owners of intellectual property are responding to increased digital infringement of copyrighted material with preventive and enforcement related measures. They also note that it is up to faculty and administrators to work with institutional counsel to understand the availability of fair use to further the educational mission of the institution. And institutions are urged to create programs of moral and civic education to put students on the high road with respect to the intellectual property rights of others. (See

Teaching the teachers – An article in the November 2003 ASEE Prism by Robert Gardner describes a summer institute conducted by the University of Texas Austin to introduce elementary school teachers to engineering design concepts. Most of the teachers have no technical background and have been reluctant to introduce technical subject matter to their students. The summer program aims at changing that by training them to use the ROBOLAB Team Building kit in their classrooms. The kit is a special Lego set that can be used to build programmable robots. Key to the program is the pairing of each teacher with an engineer volunteer from National Instruments, who is committed to assisting the teacher in the classroom for three years. (See

Dual-level accreditation – Current ABET policy states that a program may be accredited at only one level in a particular curriculum at a particular institution. In an article in the November 2003 Engineering Times, Ernest Smerdon and Richard Anderson argue that this prohibition should be dropped, to allow dual-level accreditation at institutions that want to accredit programs at both the bachelors and masters degree levels. Their rationale is that in many fields a masters degree is the appropriate education for entry into the profession, and that the quality assurance provided by ABET should be available for that level in addition to the basic bachelors degree education at a given institution. They cite the current efforts of the American Society of Civil Engineers to define a body of knowledge needed to enter professional practice in several civil engineering fields as an example of the need for dual-level accreditation. (See

Students rewarded for stock tip – A group of University of Tennessee students have profited from sharing their analysis of a promising company for acquisition with famous investor Warren Buffett. As described in a brief article in the November 10th Fortune by Brian O’Keefe, the students recommended a manufactured home making company to Buffett during a visit to his company, Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett took their advice and acquired the company, a $1.7-billion idea, then rewarded each of the students with a share of stock in his company (worth $2500). The business school professor of the class also got a reward – stock worth $76,000. (See

 New ethics video available – “Incident at Morales,” an engineering ethics story on video for classroom use, covers a wide rang of ethical dilemmas facing engineers working in today’s global engineering profession. The video and study guide stimulate viewers to consider how to resolve difficult ethical issues including international responsibilities, consequences of technical and financial decisions, and environmental concerns. The 36-minute video is designed for interactive use with a discussion facilitator, and has built-in pauses for discussion. (See 

Faculty licensure – Newly installed ASCE President Patricia Galloway addresses the issue of faculty licensure as professional engineers in an article in the November 2003 ASCE News. Focusing on civil engineering faculty in particular, she argues that engineering professors are practicing engineering when they teach students in the classroom, and that students who see their faculty role models as licensed professionals will be much more likely to seek such professional status themselves. (See


5 – Employment

Jobs going abroad is ok – In a major article in the November 2nd Washington Post, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich states that high-tech jobs are going abroad, but that’s ok! He points out that jobs in America ’s IT sector are down 20% from 2000, that salaries are down too, and that many of the lost jobs have moved offshore. He notes that anxieties about the situation are high, that the US Congress and several state legislatures are considering measures to limit the impact of foreign workers, and that high-tech workers are organizing against outsourcing. But Reich argues that the number of high-tech jobs outsourced is a tiny proportion of America’s 10-million strong workforce, and that the percentage is likely to stay low as smart companies act to keep their core IT functions in house, and at home. He further argues that US companies must and will focus on innovation to stay competitive, and that workers who are creative and adaptive will remain in demand here. Reich concludes that there is no sense in trying to artificially preserve high-tech jobs in America or to block efforts by American companies to outsource. (See

Low demand predicted for undergraduate engineers in 2004 – Job prospects for the US undergraduate college graduating class of 2004 look to be improved over last year, according to Alice Gomstyn reporting for the Chronicle of Higher Education, although engineers and computer scientists will probably still face weak demand for their skills.  And predicted hiring of master’s degree and doctoral degree recipients will be down over last year, 24% less for master’s, and 11% less for Ph.D.s.  M.B.A.s will see their potential jobs being offered to bachelor’s graduates, as companies continue to cut costs. These statistics come from a report issued by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University , which plans to put an executive summary on its website ( (See

Tech job losses ease – The American Electronics Association has reported that high-tech industries in the US lost 540,000 jobs last year, but are likely to lose only half that many this year, according to a November 20th report by CNN. Unemployment rates for engineers rose to 4.2% in 2002 from 2.4% in 2001, while unemployment for computer programmers increased to 6.2% from 4.5% in the previous year. But based on data from the first three quarters of 2003, the group predicts a loss of 234,000 technology jobs in 2003 – a 57% decline from the number of jobs lost in 2002. This report comes as the US job market overall has started to show signs of strength after months of weakness. (See   

NAFTA has not helped Mexican jobs – The North American Free Trade Agreement has not helped the Mexican economy keep pace with the growing demand for jobs, according to an article by Richard Lapper in the November 20th Financial Times. A study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace indicates that growth in the manufacturing sector has been more than offset by a loss of jobs in the agricultural sector. Growth in foreign trade and foreign investment has led to an increase of 500,000 jobs in manufacturing from 1994 to 2002, but 1.3-million jobs in the agricultural sector have been lost in that same period. In addition, real wages are now lower than when NAFTA took effect, though much of that decline is a result of the 1994 devaluation of the Peso. The flow of migrants to the US has not been stemmed by NAFTA, due to the Peso crisis and the pull of employment opportunities in the US . (See

“Hiring and firing” trend gains – Numerous companies are adding new workers on the one hand while laying off current ones on the other, according to an article by Kris Maher in the November 18th Wall Street Journal. Executives state that they cannot shift employees around when timing is critical and new employees with appropriate skill sets and experience, and often lower wage rates, can readily be found to fill new positions. Outsourcing firms say that they are seeing the hiring and firing trend increase, with companies rarely doing redeployments or trying to match skills with jobs. Some experts argue that companies would do well to consider holding on to staffers and retraining them to avoid the hidden costs of lowered morale and drain on organizational knowledge. (See

Employers ask job seekers for SAT scores – The SAT scores of students that colleges use in admission decisions are now following many people into the workplace as a defining performance measure, according to an article by Kemba Dunham in the October 28th Wall Street Journal. A cadre of companies that hire large numbers of fresh college graduates are asking for SAT scores, for use as a way to differentiate among applicants in the current dismal job market where there are many applicants for each position. Some companies even set SAT score expectations in their help wanted ads: “Minimum expectations include an overall score of 1350 on the SATs, and you will be required to provide official scores and transcripts.” Employers see the SAT test as a good indicator of future success, saying that people with high scores tend to do better. Some are critical of this trend, noting that the SAT is not intended as a measure of future job performance. (See  


6 – Journals

Journal of Engineering Education – The October 2003 issue of this ASEE journal contains nine papers, several on detailed classroom innovations and several on broader topics such as stereotyping of women’s performance in engineering, integrating communication and engineering education, and the case for accessibility in making the grade with students. (See

International Journal of Engineering Education – A special issue on Problem Based Learning has been prepared by guest editors Erik de Graaff, Anett Kolmos, and Renate Fruchter (volume 19, number 5). Nineteen papers on the topic are included, starting with an overview paper on characteristics of problem based learning by two of the guest editors. (See

European Journal of Engineering Education – The December 2003 issue of EJEE includes ten papers on a broad range of topics in engineering education: Thematic Network E4, European research on women and engineering education, a taxonomy of engineering design tasks, assessment of student learning, etc. (See

IEEE Transactions on Education – The November 2003 issue contains a special section on a vision for ECE education in 2013 and beyond, as well as several regular issue papers. The special section includes papers on ECE as a pre-professional undergraduate program, curriculum for an engineering renaissance, computer engineering curriculum in the new millennium, the future of electrical and computer engineering education, etc. (See   


7 – Meeting

ABET Annual Meeting – The annual meeting of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology was held in Minneapolis MN at the end of October 2003. In a special keynote session, futurist Hamish McRae described the world as he expects it to look in 2020. His presentation framed the meeting topics – emerging disciplines and blurring disciplinary boundaries, alternative education and delivery methods, the proliferation of information technology programs and professions, and the unique characteristics of engineering graduates of the future. A major part of the program was concerned with the next steps for ABET in providing quality assurance in the rapidly developing area of information technology. (See



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