2 September 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 - U.S. developments

3 - Distance education, technology

4 - Students, faculty, education

5 – Employment

6 – Journals

7 – Meetings


1 - International developments

Faculty shortage in Iraq - Iraqi universities are faced with critical shortages of experienced faculty as a result of a US led effort to de-Baathisize the country’s faculty, writes Alexei Barrionuevo in the Wall Street Journal on August 7, 2003 .  The summary dismissal of faculty who held upper ranks in Saadam Hussein’s Baath Party has left an enormous gap in the capabilities of the universities.  Most of the 2000 faculty who have been expelled have signed a petition renouncing their affiliation with the party and asking for reinstatement, but the Iraqi governing council, which will review it, has many issues to deal with which might appear more pressing.  (See

Infrastructure rebuilding in Iraq - An Iraqi civil engineer living in Baghdad, Ra’ad Ali Abdul-Aziz Al-Hamidi, has written an article which appears in the August 2003 ASCE News, describing the state of the construction industry in Iraq. The author points out that although the construction industry in Iraq has been affected by the recent war, its current sad state is more the result of 35 years of poor management and inadequate regulations than of damage inflicted by the war. He states that Iraq has too few qualified civil engineers and too few students studying in that field, at a time when they are needed as never before. His analysis is that civil engineering graduates over recent decades could not find appropriate employment, due to a political situation where construction and maintenance of infrastructure largely ceased, so they left the field – and fewer students entered universities to study engineering. To make matters worse, many instructors lack adequate training, universities cannot afford needed equipment, and pre-college education has not properly prepared students to study engineering. (See

Intel goes to China - Intel has announced its plans to invest over US$ 200-million in a semiconductor plant in Chengdu, China, according to an article by Jason Dean in the August 27th Wall Street Journal. This investment highlights that country’s increasingly central role in the global electronics supply chain, and it delivers a boost to Beijing ’s campaign to channel investments into China ’s hinterlands. Intel has invested about US$ 500-million to date in a similar assembly and testing facility in Shanghai . Company executives say that Intel needs more capacity to meet the growing demand for its products, especially in Asia – which now accounts for more than half of the company’s sales. China-based factories now churn out the bulk of the motherboards that house chips inside personal computers, as well as an increasing share of finished PCs, cellular phones, and other electronic gadgets for the global market. (See

China to push research collaboration - China’s burgeoning support for research has given its researchers a taste for the latest research tools, according to an article by Ding Yimin in the August 15th Science. But their growing appetite is straining the country’s budget, so the government has launched an effort to stop redundant equipment purchases and to encourage the sharing of costly facilities and instrumentation. To help push institutions into collaborating, the government has formed a joint committee involving 16 organizations that fund research to rationalize access to research facilities. (See

Globalization raises living standards - The Economist on August 21, 2003, extracted a couple of charts from a presentation made by Stanley Fischer to make the point that globalization has, in fact, begun to raise the standard of living for everyone, and does not just make the rich richer. There is evidence on these charts to support the claims of the anti-globalizationists, too, but the writer of the article believes that the bottom line is that more globalization is called for, along with realignment of trade policies and control of corruption, in order to bring about even more economic progress.  (See

Plagiarism in Malaysia - Australia ’s lucrative international education initiatives (3 billion US $ per year) came under the spotlight this spring and summer, reports David Cohen writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education.  As a result, the education minister, Brendan Nelson, asked that the University of Newcastle reopen its investigation of a plagiarism case involving fifteen students at its Malaysian partner institution.  These students were enrolled in a graduate business program taught and administered by Newcastle .  They were originally accused by their Newcastle instructor of plagiarizing papers, but later were exonerated when a university committee declared that the fault resided with lack of clarity in university plagiarism policies.  The contract between Institut Wira, the Malaysian school, and the University of Newcastle is up for renewal this year.  Newcastle ’s vice chancellor, Roger Holmes, agreed to assist in a new inquiry, saying that the reputation of higher education was of critical importance.  (See

French change research leadership - The French government has fired the director of the country’s main basic research agency, CNRS, and shuffled two other senior research posts, according to an article by Barbara Casassus in the August 8th Science. A statement from the research ministry suggested that Genevieve Berger was not the right person to implement major reforms in French science that the government is expected to propose in the coming months. Observers suggested a darker scenario, noting that the government had been unhappy with her high-profile statements condemning cuts in French research budgets. CNCR’s budget suffered a 33% cut for 2003. Appointed to replace Berger is the head of the information technology research agency, Bernard Larrouturou. (See

Exam selling in Italy - Police in Rome aggressively pursued an investigation into exam-selling at La Sapienza University recently, placing eighteen people, including students and faculty, under house arrest.  The focus of the investigation is a scheme whereby students allegedly paid 1500 to 3000 euros to law faculty examiners to receive oral examination questions in advance.  The ring was investigated by undercover officers posing as students. The law faculty dean, Carlo Angelici, has declared that he never received any valuable gifts from students.  The reporter was Francis X. Rocca writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See


2 - U.S. developments

Affirmative action after Supreme Court ruling -  The University of Michigan, as expected, announced its new approach to undergraduate admissions, acting in response to the recent US Supreme Court decision that its previous system was not “narrowly tailored” enough to be legal.  According to Chronicle reporter Peter Schmidt, the new procedure, which will be effective for transfer students seeking admission to the University of Michigan for January 2004, will require applicants to write an essay reflecting their experience with diversity.  The new system will also permit students to submit information about their family income and the educational background of members of their family.  The admissions staff has been expanded to provide for increased work of reading and evaluating the essay portions of the applications.  Representatives of the University of Michigan will be watching to see that enrollment of minority students does not decline, while representatives of the Center for Individual Rights, an organization involved in the Supreme Court case in opposition to Michigan, will monitor the process to decide whether the new system is any different from the one it replaces.  (See

NASA heavily criticized in disaster report - The probe into the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster has severely criticized NASA for not absorbing the lessons of the Challenger explosion in 1986, and for relying too much on a complex bureaucracy of external contractors. According to August 27th articles in the New York Times by David Sanger and in the Wall Street Journal by J. Lynn Lunsford and Anne Marie Squeo, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board also criticized four successive US presidents for failing to decide where America’s space program should head after the Cold War, and what it would cost in dollars and risk to human life to get there. Among the Board’s 29 recommendations: start a program to eliminate foam from the external tank thermal protection system; toughen the shuttle skin to make it more impact-resistant; develop a practical way to inspect and do emergency repairs to the shuttle while in space; and establish an independent Technical Engineering Authority that takes a systematic approach to identifying, analyzing, and controlling problems. (See and

Engineers deal with failure - In an August 29th New York Times commentary on the Space Shuttle situation, Henry Petrosky of Duke University noted that in engineering, failure is always an option. He describes the culture that arises from the inevitable – and he says healthy – tension among scientists, managers, and engineers. The design of any device, machine or system is fraught with failure, according to Petrosky. Engineers know that nothing is perfect, including themselves – and that even careful and extensive calculations can err. But if engineers are pessimists, managers are optimists about technology. Successful, albeit flawed, flights indicated to the managers at NASA that the Shuttle was not a weak but a robust machine. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board has recommended putting the responsibility for technical matters where it rightly belongs – with an independent engineering authority that knows how the space shuttle was designed and knows best how it might fail. The writer states that without that knowledge, another fatal accident is inevitable. (See

Bush criticized for politicizing science - The Bush administration has repeatedly mischaracterized scientific facts to bolster its political agenda in areas ranging from education to missile defense, according to a report compiled by the minority staff of the House Government Reform Committee and released by Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif). The 40-page document, “Politics and Science in the Bush Administration”, highlights simmering anger among scientists and others who believe that President Bush has been spiking science with politics to justify conservative policies, according to an article in the August 8th Washington Post by Rick Weiss. “The Administration’s political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the President, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications, and the gagging of scientists” according to the report. The White House quickly dismissed the report as partisan sniping. (See

Financial woes for California universities - California Universities have been hit by a new round of budget cuts, and more bad news lies ahead, according to an article by Erik Stokstad in the August 15th Science. The governor and legislature have chopped $410-million from the $2.9-billion previously slated for the nine-campus University of California system. The cuts are precipitated by a moribund state economy that generated a record $38-billion deficit, which also has led voters to make Governor Gray Davis the target of an October 7th recall election. University administrators have responded by drawing up plans to raise tuition by 30%, slash outreach and other programs, and shrink the number of faculty and support staff positions. (See

Tuition raises concern lawmakers - Public college tuition increases across the US have prompted concerns by legislators, according to an article by Karen Arenson in the August 30th New York Times. Tuition will jump 39% at the University of Arizona , 28% at the State University of New York, and 25% at the City University of New York. Eighty percent of American college students attend public colleges and universities, and their relatively low tuition is often a prime attraction. In the last decade, average tuition at both public and private four year colleges grew by nearly 38%, adjusted for inflation. But that still left average public college tuition well behind the privates -- $4,081 compared to $18,273. The latest increases are prompting outcries from students, and policy makers are leaping to their defense. Illinois recently adopted a law guaranteeing that public college tuition will remain flat from the time a state resident enters college. In Washington , attention is focused on a proposal to penalize colleges, both public and private, for increases that exceed inflation by a designated amount. (See

Terrorism laws negatively impact students - An article by Adrian Arroyo in the Spring 2003 Transnational Lawyer reviews the impact of the US Patriot Act and the Border Security Bill on academic institutions in the US . The article indicates that these laws will negatively impact educational institutions by decreasing the number of foreign students wanting to study in the US and increasing the cost for institutions that enroll foreign students. Critics of the laws are concerned about amending foreign student’s privacy rights, substantial delays in the approval of student visa applications, and the high costs associated with implementing the new SEVIS tracking system. However the author of this article concludes that the negative impact of these laws is substantially outweighed by the fact that they will help prevent further terrorism directed at the US . The article, including its suggestions for limiting the negative impact of the laws, is posted on the web site of the Institute for International Education, at


3 - Distance education, technology

Viruses hit universities at bad time - The Chronicle of Higher Education headline says it all: “Campus-Network Administrators Say Timing of Sobig.F Virus Couldn’t Have Been Worse.”  Just as US universities were reopening for the fall term, the virus plus lethal “worms” called Blaster and Nachi attacked, leaving technicians scrambling to clean up and prevent more spread.  The cost was enormous, and there are warnings of continued attacks, despite assurance that Sobig.F is scheduled to stop proliferating on September 10.  Some universities made unplanned investments in additional software to block the spread, some had to resort to shutting down access temporarily to its network, some cleaned out 100,000 infected messages each hour.  In each case, the target was Microsoft Windows computers, but not Macintosh, Linux or UNIX operating systems, according to reporter Florence Olsen.  (See

Culture of software programmers questioned - The recent storm of computer viruses has provoked some serious questions about the nature and discipline of code writing, according to Robert A. Guth, writing for the Wall Street Journal on August 26, 2003 .  The reporter makes an analogy between the current situation in the computer industry and the wake-up call for the US auto industry in the 1970s, resulting from the Japanese challenge to its supremacy.  Today, there are calls to make security a first order priority for individual code writers, rather than relying on fixes after faults are identified.  Currently, code is written by “armies of programmers,” who work without having to document their work individually.  Programmers also frequently work without having an overall design concept in sight.  Microsoft, the giant around the world, claims that they have improved training for their programmers to make them more accountable, but results are unlikely to appear so soon.  And doubters say that the culture of programmers makes such improvements long term at best.  (See

Spam control legislation debated - Do you opt for opting in or opting out?   Or, is an e-mail account any more private than a snail-mail box?  Those are some of the questions being asked as the US Congress considers what to do about spam, according to Saul Hansell writing on August 11, 2003 , in The New York Times.  With the huge success of the “do not call” legislation, it was not long before politicians and marketing people were wondering whether a spam version of such a system would be put in place to calm upset voters.  Stay tuned. (See

Spam control via probability filters - Saving private e-mail from unwanted messages is discussed in the August 2003 IEEE Spectrum by Stephen Vaughan-Nichols. The author states that in the spam war trenches, clever programmers are trying to stem the tide of unwanted messages. This past May, e-mail reached a distressing milestone – the amount of spam exceeded non-spam for the first time ever. People have been struggling with spam for 10 years or more, using techniques such as blacklisting, not accepting mail from known spammers or from mail servers that harbor them, and filtering by automatically rejecting messages with typical spam key words. False positives lie at the heart of the spam problem, with the criterion that ‘any measure for stopping spam must ensure that all non-spam messages reach their intended recipients’ providing a serious constraint. New strategies are centering on techniques of probability, to analyze entire e-mail messages instead of just the words that jump out in headings (“Viagra”, “cable descramblers”, etc.). The new Bayesian filters are trained by each user, learning the terms usually found in spam messages and the remaining good messages. (See

On-line MBA offered internationally - Universitas 21 Global began offering its first courses in August to a group of 27 students.  The consortium of 17 research universities in 10 countries is aiming at students in developing countries, and is beginning with an MBA offered entirely on-line.  Cost and reputation are important in selling on-line degrees, according to an official at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Universitas 21 Global’s MBA degree costs about $10,000, while the University of Phoenix Online charges up to $25,000.  Degrees will have the name of the shareholding universities, thus increasing credibility. The consortium is a 50M US $ venture, with fifteen of the seventeen member universities being shareholders in the holding company that owns 50% it.  The other 50% of the shares belong to Thompson Learning, which is deeply involved in the development of the online courses.  The University of Virginia is the only US institution in the project.  (See

Instant messaging on campus - Dartmouth College (USA) has a history of twenty years of intensive and extensive e-mails under its belt, according to Katie Hafner, writing on August 14, 2003 , for The New York Times.  Blitzmail was created in 1984, and since then has become the backbone for communications between members of the academic community, even replacing the supposedly ubiquitous cell phone.  The network of users has expanded radically, as graduates are given free access, and a web-based version was invented.  But the downside of instant communication has also been revealed.  People get tired of being connected all the time, so they shut it off when the urge arises.  (See

Universities scramble re phone service for students - For some decades, colleges and universities contracted with long-distance providers to offer phone service to dorm rooms and then marked up the cost. As noted by Raymund Flandez writing in the August 8th Wall Street Journal, however, students have recently been abandoning their dorm phones in favor of cellular phones. Schools are responding by revamping their long-distance offerings or by pushing cell-phone service themselves, hoping that the commissions or discounts on the phones that they provide employees will make up for some of the lost revenue from long-distance sales. The average college student spends just under $50 a month for cellular service, and 78% of students currently have cell-phones. Colleges are trying to win incoming students away from their existing plans by offering monthly rates in the $20 range, and selling phone units at about 15% below retail – and earning commissions of around $2 a month for each such conversion. (See 

Microsoft enjoys good campus receptivity - Microsoft is enjoying a big role on campuses, making donations to fund research and building long-term connections, according to an article by Ariana Eunjung Cha in the August 25th Washington Post. In 1999, for example, it donated software and computers worth $25-million to MIT, saying that it wanted to jointly develop educational technologies. Although faculty and students expressed more suspicion than gratitude at the start of that relationship, today the protests are over and Microsoft technology is firmly entrenched at MIT: design classes use Microsoft programs, courses use PowerPoint for presentations, the computer network is being overhauled to use Microsoft’s .net architecture, and video games have become a subject of scholarly inquiry. Similar transformations are taking place at university campuses across the country, escalating the debate over corporate influence on academia. But Microsoft’s donations are a special case – because students are likely to keep using the technology after graduation, helping to maintain Microsoft’s software industry dominance. Microsoft has lavished $500-million over the past five years on research and teaching projects at 1000 schools, funding research efforts by 6000 faculty members. These donations have allowed universities to conduct projects they otherwise could not have dreamed of, given their limited research budgets. (See 

Short path between any two individuals - The “six degrees of separation” contemporary article of faith was tested by researchers at Columbia University (USA), and depending on who is interpreting the results, has been either affirmed or refuted.  The concept, based on a 1967 experiment, is that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else by only six “steps” or connections.  In this updated attempt at replication, over 60,000 people were asked to try to contact one of 18 people around the world, using e-mail.  Only 2% of the e-mail chains reached their intended targets.  Many of the chains dropped because a recipient did not bother to respond.  Some believe that this response really confirms that we are all connected, but others say that it shows that the “six degrees” concept is akin to believing that alligators lurk in city sewers.  More work is scheduled to improve the research design. Kenneth Chang reported for the New York Times. (See

The future of technology - The August 25th issue of Business Week is a special double issue with major coverage of the future of technology. In the ‘Big Picture’ section, it discusses why tech will blossom again, productivity – a gift that keeps on giving, Silicon Valley – still the center of this world, and two perspectives on the future of IT. In a section entitled ‘The Technology Roadmap’ it looks at several areas that may be the next big thing – utility computing, sensors to track everything, plastic electronics, and off-the-shelf body parts. It also covers ‘Roadblocks’ such as spam and piracy, and mystifying technology that bewilders the consumer. Two final sections discuss ‘Management’ and ‘Investing in the Rebound’. (See

Music piracy fight comes to campus - To fight music piracy, the recording industry is going to schools to apply pressure on college administrators to curb illegal file-sharing over their networks. Writing in the August 28th Washington Post, Rebecca Dana reports that the industry is also going after individual students with some 800 subpoenas – hoping to terrify cash-strapped students about using peer-to-peer file-sharing software for music piracy. As a result of 2300 letters sent to university administrators, incoming freshmen have attended technology orientation programs on this topic around the country in recent weeks. Universities have motivation to curb such copying in addition to the music industry pressure – many have suffered from sluggish connections caused by widespread peer-to-peer software use. The music industry hopes to recapture a generation of students who have come to believe that music is free. One university official stated “We do a disservice to our students if they leave here without having learned the basics of intellectual property law”. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education 

Annual US News & World Report rankings of colleges - The publication of annual college rankings from U.S. News & World Report has become a late summer ritual.  This year, Harvard and Princeton shared the top spot, reports Jeffrey R. Young. Since the rankings did not contain many surprises, attention was drawn to the new formula used (not counting the percentage of students who accept offers of admission), and to expanded lists of specifically ranked institutions. (See

Can entrepreneurship be taught? - Entrepreneurship programs at US colleges and universities have proliferated recently, prompting some to ask whether entrepreneurial skills can, in fact, be taught.  According to Jeff Bailey, writing for the Wall Street Journal in an article published on August 5, 2003 , many entrepreneurs themselves believe that there are talents that are inherent, not amenable to transfer by instruction.  The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has made its philosophy clear, by preparing to grant 25M US$ to universities which create the best plans for teaching entrepreneurship.  The foundation wants to reach out beyond business schools to locate budding entrepreneurs: according to Carl Schramm, the Kauffman Foundation’s president and CEO, the new generation of entrepreneurs is more likely to be found in engineering schools than in business schools. (See

NSF seeks more diverse scientific workforce - Participants in a recent daylong workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation discussed what it will take to produce a more diverse US scientific and technical workforce, according to an article by Jeffrey Mervis in the August 22nd Science. It was agreed that a lot of academic carrots and a few sticks are needed, that universities must take the problem more seriously, and that there must be good jobs at the end of the college years. The workshop supplemented a new report from the NSF Board that laments an inadequate supply of domestic scientific talent. That report emphasizes increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in science and technology. NSF efforts will focus on universities, since that is where the agency has the greatest leverage. Among other steps, NSF is cracking down on grant applications that do not adequately describe the larger societal impact of the research, including steps to broaden the scientific pool by reaching out to underrepresented groups. (See

Friday classes are back - Colleges are beginning to push a five-day work week for their students, bringing back Friday classes to ease up on a lecture-hall space crunch and cutting down on an extra day of partying. According to an article by Elizabeth Bernstein in the August 29th Wall Street Journal, this move is a shift at many schools, which in recent years have been pampering their students. With tuition at record levels and the economy still off, school officials say that parents want a full week’s worth of teaching for their money. Study habits are another issue, with extended weekends encouraging extra procrastination. To no one’s surprise, the change is not going over well with many students. One recent study shows that students who cram information into a three- or four-day period vs. five days do not retain as much. (See

University licensing law being reviewed - The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 allows universities to patent and exclusively license federally funded inventions. According to Jerry and Marie Thursby writing in the August 22nd Science, though, because of dramatic growth in university licensing the Act has become controversial and is the subject of a policy review. Bayh-Dole advocates argue that in its absence, many results from federally funded research would remain in the laboratory. Critics say that exclusive licenses are not needed for technology transfer and that universities are chasing profits. Evidence suggests that university licensing facilitates technology transfer with minimal effects on the research environment, but some effects are not yet understood; for example, does faculty involvement in licensing complement or substitute for open publication. (See  

SAT scores up, but gaps remain - The Wall Street Journal on August 27, 2003, reported that Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) returned to 1974 levels, but that gaps between whites and blacks, and whites and Mexican-Americans, grew.  Reporter June Kronholtz also pointed out that the gap between males and female increased in both math and verbal parts of the test. These issues remain despite huge resources having been poured into closing such gaps.  (See

Ethical issues in education -The September-October 2003 issue of Change magazine contains a series of articles on ethical issues in teaching and learning. Articles cover promoting ethical action through democratic dialogue, moral and political considerations, ethical issues in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and enabling good work in higher education. The latter article addresses key questions about the conditions of excellent, ethical and personally rewarding work in academia, and how institutions can reshape their missions to enable productive work in times of change. (See

Homogenizing by PowerPoint - For anyone who has struggled over creating a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to accompany a talk, the article published on August 17, 2003 , in The New York Times by Veronique Vienne, will be of interest.  David Byre has produced a book and DVD which scrutinizes the homogenizing power of PowerPoint.  Said Byrne: “You feel that your mind is suddenly molded by the thinking of some unknown programmer.  It’s collaboration, but it’s not reciprocal.”  (See

Media used in the classroom - Time magazine recently published a blurb featuring four university courses which capture the trends of today.  The University of Texas School of Law, Williams College, UCLA, and the University of Puget Sound received the honor of seeing their courses on “Cyberlaw,” “Terrorism and National Security,”  “Bollywood Cinema,” and “Mars Exploration” featured in a national publication as well as in their list of course offerings. Maggie Shnayerson was writing on August 18, 2003 . (See

5 – Employment

Chinese graduates find jobs scarce - According to the Washington Post ( August 19, 2003 ) a college degree is no longer a ticket to prosperity in China , says Pierre Goodman.  Long lines of college graduates are now forming to apply for a shortening list of jobs, making some wonder whether the availability of higher education opportunities has outstripped opportunities for employment.  When opportunities expanded through the opening of private, for profit, institutions of higher education, some predicted that a lessening of standards would cause problems.  A single cause for the current dilemma does not suffice, though.  The SARS epidemic, an economic expansion that relies heavily on public works, and a doubling of enrollment in higher education all contributed to making jobs a scarce commodity.  (See

Jobs moving from Eastern Europe to China - Eastern Europe’s dynamos are losing jobs to Asia, according to an article by Bruce Einhorn in the September 1st Business Week. Major multi-national companies that built high tech plants in Eastern Europe less than a decade ago are now closing them and moving the work to China , where wages are 75% lower. IBM is moving 3700 manufacturing jobs, Flextronics 1000, and Philips 500.Such closings are sending a chill across the eight formerly Soviet countries in Eastern Europe, just as they are gearing up to enter the European Union next May 1st.  The manufacturing job flight is prompting some governments to look for ways to diversify their economies – exploring ways to create knowledge-based jobs. The competition will be harsh, though, as India , the Philippines and Russia are rising powers in information technology and customer support. EU membership will help the region grab back-office financial jobs, at least, since EU law prohibits storage of banking data outside the union. (See

AOL has major service center in India - America On-line has developed a sizeable tech center in India as a money saver, according to an article by Julia Angwin in the August 7th Wall Street Journal. Since its quiet inception a little more than a year ago, the new customer service center in Bangalore , India has grown to 1500 employees – aiming at stabilizing at 1800. Like many companies suffering from the technology downturn, AOL has turned its focus toward cost cutting rather than growth. That often means moving jobs overseas to make use of cheaper labor. It is estimated that it costs 40 to 50% less to operate a call center in India than in the US . Other companies such as Earthlink and Yahoo have followed similar patterns in establishing operations in India . (See

Can US engineers compete with low salaries elsewhere - ‘Competing with the $800 a month (or less) engineer’ is the lead article in the IEEE National Capital Area Scanner. Written by Paul Kostek, a past-president of IEEE-USA, the article focuses on the negative impact of globalization for many engineers and other high-tech professionals. The author states that engineering jobs are being contracted out and moved outside the US at an alarming rate. By the year 2015, 3.3-million white-collar jobs, including more that 472,000 in information technology and mathematics, are expected to move to low cost countries. To take advantage of much lower salaries in other parts of the world, major corporations are building overseas design centers. They can hire a skilled non-US engineer for about $800 a month, about what many US engineering grads earn per week. The author states that this trend has profound implications for the US , in terms of the nation’s economic competitiveness, national security, and overall standard of living. Among other concerns, why would America ’s best and brightest young people choose engineering as a career path? (See

Pros and cons of outsourcing jobs - The August 25th Business Week asks whether outsourcing jobs is bad. Kathleen Madigan writes “yes” – this is no longer about a few low-wage or manufacturing jobs; now one of three jobs is at risk. Michael Mandel writes “no” – America ’s strongest suit is innovation, which will always create new high-paying positions. The same issue contains an article about immigration, noting that US workers are griping that lax visa rules may cost them their jobs. An Indian tech executive counters the visa argument, however, by observing “If there are more restrictions on granting visas, then we will see a lot more offshoring”. (See

Congress told of global outsourcing concerns - Two major engineering groups recently expressed their concerns to Congress about the growing number of white-collar jobs that are being shipped offshore, according to an article in the August/September 2003 issue of Engineering Times. In testimony before the House Committee on Small Business, an IEEE representative said that rising engineering unemployment may be the result of fundamental changes in the US economy, and that could have serious effects on the profession’s status as an attractive career. Another speaker noted that global outsourcing could have negative consequences for homeland security, as well as hurt small engineering firms. (See


6 – Journals  

International Journal of Engineering Education – A special issue of this journal, Vol. 19 No. 3, is dedicated to Distance Controlled Laboratories and Learning Systems. Guest editor Nesimi Ertugrul has assembled some 20 papers which cover a wide spectrum of electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and environmental and ecological science. Some papers cover resource sharing software useful in remote experimentation systems and client-server architectures. Other topics covered include Internet mediated integrated learning and teaching laboratories, computer-based instrumentation and control, and studies on mechatronics and robotics. (See

IEEE Transactions on Education – The August 2003 issue contains some fourteen papers on classroom and laboratory approaches in electrical engineering instruction. One paper of broad interest describes an international virtual design studio program, used by three universities ( Union College , Queen’s University, and Middle East Technical University ) to provide a collaborative design experience to students in different international locations. (See


7 – Meetings  

ABET Annual Meeting – The annual meeting of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology will be held in Minneapolis from October 30-31, 2003 . The keynote session will feature futurist Hamish McRae. The program will focus on engineering graduates of 2020, future directions in distance education, and emerging disciplines and blurring boundaries. For online registration: 

Colloquium on International Engineering Education – The University of Rhode Island will hold its sixth annual colloquium in Warwick , RI , on October 23-26, 2003 . The conference addresses issues involved in preparing young engineers for today’s global workplace. For program and registration see     

Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration – The annual ASEE CIEC will be held this year in Biloxi , Mississippi , on February 3-6, 2004 . For information, see

International Development and Engineering Conference – Cornell University will host the Engineers Without Frontiers National Conference on September 17-20, 2003 . The program will address social, environmental, and technical issues in international development. See

International Conference on Sustainability Engineering and Science – The New Zealand Society for Sustainability Engineering and Science will hold a conference in Auckland , New Zealand , from July 7-9, 2004 . The call for papers is now out at


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