4 August 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 – Meeting

8 –Editorial


1 - International developments

The role of Islam in Saudi Arabian universities is debated – Daniel Del Castillo has written a substantial article on Saudi Arabian universities for the Chronicle of Higher Education, focused on the growing concern inside and outside of the country on how conservative Islamic thought is affecting higher learning and the society.  Critics of the current situation say that an emphasis on conservative Islam in public higher education has resulted in a close-mindedness that is inhibiting the development of the country.  Defenders of the situation bristle at the perceived threat to Islamic values conveyed by questions seen coming from the West.  Central to the debate is the form of Islam called Wahabism which rejects any interpretations of the religion if they are based on knowledge accrued in the past thousand years.  Wahabism is the dominant form of Islam taught in Saudi Arabian public universities.  Increasing concern stems from the presence of Saudi educated Islamic scholars abroad, in Kuwaiti universities, for example, and the traditional comfort political leaders in Saudi Arabia have felt with conservative thinking. The debate promises to intensify as the country feels the effect of one of the highest birthrates in the world.  (See

Life at the University of Baghdad – A front-page article by Pamela Constable in The Washington Post describes life on the campus of the University of Baghdad three months after the US led war against Saddam Hussein. While opinions about the US presence are sharply divided, most students are delighted with the new climate of freedom of expression and open and fair competition.  The campus is reported to be an oasis for students who manage to get there despite the constant threat of violence in the city.  Some facilities are severely damaged or were destroyed by looting in the days following the arrival of US forces, but the faculty and administration are eager to rebuild both physical structures and intellectual capacity.  The years of sanctions and oppressive political pressures resulted in a lack of intellectual stimulation that students and faculty want to overcome by increased contacts through exchanges, open discussions and the unfettered use of the Internet.  (See

Law and order in India – Officials at Lucknow University in northern India are cracking down on criminal activities on their campus by conducting background checks on all new students, and denying admission to anyone with a criminal record.  According to Martha Ann Overland, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, it is unclear to what extent these measures will correct the long-standing problem.  Criminal activity on campus is widespread and deeply entrenched, and has connections with local political parties. And since student records are still in paper form and there is no centralized crime register to check against, the process may not be an effective deterrent.  (See

China rising for services outsourcing – After emerging as the world’s hottest manufacturing hub, China is joining India and the Philippines as a key destination for outsourced service jobs, according to an article by Bruce Einhorn and Manjeet Kripalani in the August 11th Business Week. So far, China ’s role is largely focused on providing back-office support for financial services, telecom, software, and retail companies in neighboring Asian countries. But it is making inroads as an outsourcing base for English-speaking nations as well, a business currently dominated by India . It is estimated that by 2007, China will pull in $27-billion for IT services, matching India . (See

Assassination of former president of University of Baghdad The former president of the University of Baghdad , removed from office with the arrival of US troops this spring, was assassinated on July 30.  The motivation behind the killing was not clear, although his prominence as a leader of the Baath Party under Saddam Hussein may have made him a target.  The University of Baghdad is the largest and frequently cited as the best university in Iraq .  All new university presidents have been offered security by US forces, although the current University of Baghdad president, Sami al-Mudhaffar, along with many of his colleagues, have refused protection.  Daniel Del Castillo provided this article for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Japan passes major legislative reform of higher education – The Chronicle of Higher Education published Alan Brender’s report on Japan ’s significant reform of its higher education system.  Under the new law, state-run universities will be administratively independent, and almost 125,000 faculty members will no longer have civil service status. While supporters of the legislation contend that the reforms will mandate long-overdue changes, such as cuts in faculty, new graduate programs in applied areas, and curriculum reform, opponents say that it will be easier for the central government to control the universities because so much power at individual institutions will be in the hands of university heads, not faculty committees.  (See

Picking up the pieces – The cover story in the September 2003 World Press Review summarizes world opinion on post-war activities to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq . An article from Paris describes ‘living in fear in Afghanistan ’; one from London provides an ‘audit of the war in Iraq ’; a story from Germany describes ‘shooting at the liberators’; and one from New Delhi evaluates ‘elusive freedom’. (See

Major private funding source for Ireland ’s universities disappears – The Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Charles Feeney, has been a major funder of Irish universities over the past two decades.  Now, says Doug Payne in the Chronicle of Higher Education, that money will disappear and be directed into other projects.  The closing out of the funding has been handled carefully, and although the support will be missed, Irish universities are expected to be ready for the transition.  (See

Belarus boots IREX – Bryon MacWilliams, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, reports that the government of Belarus has refused to renew the approval for the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) to operate in their country.  The government claims that the program is supporting development of independent media in the country, activity that they believe is inappropriate to their mission.  IREX is seeking to overturn this decision, saying that it was part of a large effort to stifle dissemination of information through the media.  (See

2 - U.S. developments

Engineers to aid in Iraq Reconstruction – The American Society of Civil Engineers is exploring ways for its members to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq, according to an article in the July 2003 ASCE News. Suggestions that the engineering community may be of help have been met with serious interest by involved US government agencies. Several areas in which ASCE could provide assistance have been identified to date: revitalizing the engineering professional society in Iraq; restoring technical libraries; helping to rebuild engineering curricula at universities; providing experts on environmental issues; reviewing codes and standards for infrastructure construction; and providing teams to review Iraq’s public works agencies, to recommend policies and procedures and to train personnel. The effort by ASCE was stimulated by a member who was in Iraq , who wrote: “The Iraqi engineers are smart and dedicated, but out of touch with the modern world. Helping them to catch up would be a great service.” (See

Hoping to avoid chaos for foreign students – The US Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to ward off chaos as international students arrive in the US to resume their university studies.  Responding to worries about the August 1 deadline, government officials have sent out additional personnel to serve at the major ports of entry into the US with instructions on how to handle cases where either the student does not have the required SEVIS-issued I-20 form (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), or the admitting school is not registered with SEVIS, or both.  The best estimates are that several thousand students may be affected, although 5,800 of the approximately 7,400 schools that admit foreign students have been registered, and about one million of the 1.2 million expected students have the required records on file.  No one knows whether the new computer system is robust enough to handle the entire job once all entries are made.  Reliability of the system has been a painful issue since SEVIS was put in service. This report was written by Michael Arnone for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See But SEVIS compliance is only one part of the larger issue.  August 1 is also the date by which all US consular offices abroad must greatly increase the number of in-person interviews for student visa applicants. No money has been allocated for increased personnel to conduct such interviews, and horror stories about three month waits for an interview appointment have been reported.   Then after August 1, the SEVIS system will again be challenged when colleges and universities will be required to report whether international students are actually registered for classes.  This article was also written by Michael Arnone for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Fall-out from US Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action – Fifteen days after the US Supreme Court issued a decision permitting the use of affirmative action in admission to the University of Michigan’s law school, but declared against the UM’s undergraduate admissions policy, Ward Connerly, the activist who had led battles against affirmative action in California and Washington State, announced an effort to pursue the issue on a broader scale and using other mechanisms.  Peter Schmidt reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Funding available for university-based homeland security centers – The US Department of Homeland Security is looking to create university centers for research into topics such as “…the impact and consequences of terrorism, behavioral research on terrorism and countermeasures, public safety, technology transfer, agroterrorism countermeasures, and research and development on security technology.”  A first center will likely be funded by November 2003, with nine more selected in 2004.  The guidelines were originally drafted last year, but were recast after complaints that only Texas A & M could have satisfied them.  The article was written by Anne Marie Borrego for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

NSF budget increase proposed – A House of Representatives spending panel has proposed that next year’s National Science Foundation budget be boosted by 6.2%, according to an article by Jeffrey Mervis in the July 25th Science. This compares with proposed increases of 2.5% for the National Institutes of Health, 1% for NASA, and 2.9% for the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposed $329-million increase for NSF is nearly twice what the President has requested, but it still falls short of the target of doubling the agency’s budget over 5 years as some supporters have targeted. The House panel supported three major research projects: a National Ecological Observatory Network, a next-generation ocean drilling program, and a high-energy physics experiment. Education programs would remain essentially flat in funding, a workforce initiative would not be funded, and a proposed competitive grant program that teams universities with local schools to improve math and science instruction would be scaled back. (See

“Devolution” at Pentagon seen as threat to basic science – The US Pentagon has proposed a change to the funding process which, critics charge, would favor short-term, applied research over basic scientific investigation.  The change would entail the Department of Defense moving funding decisions into the individual service branches, thus permitting the DOD to avoid the tough issue of how to balance basic and applied research.  Many colleges and universities are concerned with the implications for the long-term, large-scale, interdisciplinary projects currently funded by the DOD. This Chronicle of Higher Education article was written by Anne Marie Borrego. (See


3 - Distance education, technology

SARS promotes videoconferencingAs travel was restricted by the SARS outbreak, many companies compensated by substituting videoconferencing for face-to-face meetings. According to Scott Neuman writing in the July 8th Wall Street Journal, many of these companies are not returning to business as usual via travel, but have decided to lock in the savings associated with remote meetings. Some companies have set up sophisticated videoconferencing centers, but others are using inexpensive alternatives such as a simple video camera and e-mail. Web-based software such as Microsoft’s Net-Meeting offer a middle ground. There are limitations to this approach however – particularly with contacts in Asia where business people place a high value on personal contact. (See

Costs of Spam estimatedUnwanted commercial e-mail, or spam, has become the bane of the internet, according to an article by Saul Hansell in the July 28th New York Times. It is easy and cheap to send spam – as little as 0.025 cent per e-mail message – and computing costs for recipients are similarly low. But the huge volume of spam messages, billions sent each day, add up to real costs; and even greater are the costs of trying to block spam, catch spammers, and undoing the damage they do to recipients. Estimates of the total cost of spam today range from $10-billion a year to $87-billion a year in the US alone. It is estimated that the average worker receives 13.4 spam messages a day, which take 6.5 minutes to process, at a cost of 1.4% of their productive time. Estimates on what companies are spending this year on antispam systems range from $120-million to $635-million. (See

Do-not-call registry popular – In the first three weeks after the Federal Trade Commission opened its no-call registry, more than 27-million Americans signed up, according to a note by Catherine Yang in the August 4th Business Week. This is just the latest sign of a growing grassroots backlash against intrusive information purveyors of the new economy – and politicians are jumping on the bandwagon as the defenders of voters who want to rein in e-mail spammers, telemarketers, and credit companies. A national level anti-spam bill has been proposed as the next step; it would require e-mail marketers to give consumers the ability to opt out, with severe penalties for offenders. And congress is also considering a bill that would curb the ability of financial institutions to share customer data with affiliates or outside companies. (See

Saudi royal family contracts with US university for distance education program – George Washington University (USA) is under contract to the Saudi royal family to provide a distance learning program for some family members.  In addition, some faculty may travel to Saudi Arabia to teach: an administrator will oversee the project on site.  George Washington University officials say this contract is nothing more than another version of similar ones they already have with the US Navy and some companies.  They cite increased international travel restrictions as making this sort of arrangement desirable. Will Potter wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Dissertation a security threat? – A George Mason University student has mapped every business and industrial sector in the American economy on top of the fiber-optic network that connects them, for his doctoral dissertation project. But according to an article by Laura Blumenfeld in the July 8th Washington Post, government officials want to suppress it – concerned that it could provide terrorists a treasure map of opportunities. The information the student compiled is all publicly available on the Internet – none of it classified. The ready availability of such information is giving corporate leaders and government cybersecurity experts second thoughts about what should be available on the web. GMU officials hope that by identifying vulnerabilities, such research will help solve risk-management problems. (See

 Computers working in unison – The idea of lashing computers together to tackle large scale computational problems, almost as a utility, is coming of age – according to an article by Steve Lohr in the July 15th New York Times. Moving the concept of distributed computer utilities, or grids, toward practical reality has taken years of continuous improvement in computer processing speeds, data storage, and network capability. One of the greatest challenges has been to design software to juggle and link all the computing resources across far-flung sites, and deliver them on demand. The grid is widely regarded as the next stage for the Internet after the World Wide Web – the Web providing access to text, images, music and video, and the promise of the grid to add a problem-solving system. (Se

Distance education service turns profitable – eCollege, a publicly-traded, Denver-based company, has posted its first profitable quarter in its seven years of existence.  The company offers its resources for course-management and servers to institutions wanting to establish and grow on-line instruction without having to invest in all the necessary equipment and services.  It claims to save these institutions between 10-20%. Florence Olsen wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Instant messaging in the classroom – Students are learning that they do not need to sit quietly during classroom presentations, but can interact quietly with one another using IM technology via their wireless computer connections. Some students ignore classroom presenters entirely by surfing the web or e-mailing, but others are genuinely interested in the topic being discussed and want to talk concurrently about what is being presented. Such back-channel communications have also been occurring during international technology meetings, where participants see it as an extension of what typically happens in the corridors just after people leave a conference session. Some presenters have promoted such audience interactions, noting that the intellectual quality of a two-track meeting is very high. But many speakers at the front of the room are less enamored with the practice, calling it irritating and distracting. Some observers say that such multitrack channels will simply be considered a given by the young generation that has honed multitasking to a fine art and grew up on pop-art videos where commentary about the artists pops up on the screen during a song. (See

Video games and the contemporary college student – On July 6 the Pew Internet & American Life Project issued a report on the role of video games in the lives of US college students.  The findings indicate to the researchers that the games are played by about 65% of students, they are central to campus social life, and that women and men approach games differently.  Women play more computer and Internet games (possibly because such games tend to be less violent), while men are more attracted to console games.  Women tend to play to pass the time; men play as an integral part of their daily activities.  Two-thirds of the students surveyed claim that video games do not affect their academic endeavors.  However over 60% of the respondents said they didn’t study more than seven hours a week in any case.  The implications of the importance of these games in the lives and skill sets of the current university population suggests that developers of educational materials might want to adopt some of the characteristics of these games in new instructional approaches. For the full report, see  Scott Carlson wrote this article for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Fiber-optic connections to every home – Verizon Communications, one of  the largest telecommunications providers in the US, is making a commitment to provide fiber-optic connections to every home and business in its 29-state territory over the next 10 to 15 years. According to Steve Rosenbush, writing in the August 4th Business Week, this $20- to $40-billion project will allow lightening-fast transmission of everything from routine phone service to high-definition TV. One major driving force for this aggressive investment is competition from cable companies, which is cutting into phone company business for broadband communications and even local phone service. The proposed fiber-optic lines will provide net access that is 20 times as fast as today’s broadband. Skeptics of the plan point out that phone companies have tried to combine communications and television offerings in the past, with failed results, and they wonder whether consumers are ready for such an approach now. Verizon is also aggressively rolling out Wi-Fi access – currently developing 1000 hotspots in New York City , and planning to expand to other cities if that rollout goes well. (See

Debate on use of open-source software – The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a major article by Florence Olsen on open-source software in US higher education.  At issue are the advantages and risks for a university to adopt open-source software rather than relying on companies who can be held responsible for failures and defects.  But with the growing institutionalization of open-source software, making it better established and better supported, colleges and universities are revisiting the issue.  Licensing fees are high and go toward maintaining not just code creators but also sales forces, a fact that troubles some administrators. Alternatives to Microsoft Office are even being taken more seriously.  The article includes a substantial list of open-source software and six projects currently underway in higher education institutions. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

University tuition frozen – A new law in Illinois will freeze tuition for public university students at the level they pay when they enter as freshmen, according to an article in the July 25th New York Times by Karen Arenson. The law, apparently the first such in the nation, will take effect at the state’s nine public colleges and universities in the 2004-05 academic year. The legislation comes as financially squeezed colleges in many states have raised tuition significantly to cover rising costs and to make up for cuts in state financial support. The Illinois plan is a new and untested step in tuition policy, aimed at putting predictability and stability into setting tuition. College officials in the state say that their campuses are financially squeezed, but that they intend to make the new plan work. (See

Visa rules deter foreign students – Students from abroad are avoiding the US due to the arduous process of getting visas, according to an article by Barry Newman in the July 29th Wall Street Journal. For example, students in summer intensive English language courses have thinned from 150,000 in 2001 to only 90,000 this year. The effect goes beyond such language courses, and threatens to impact the $13-billion-a-year industry of educating foreign students in the US . The new US visa rules, which have recently required security checks and the entry of student details into a new computer system, got tougher on August 1st when more applicants will be subject to interviews. Other countries – particularly English speaking ones – are rushing to compete with the US as a destination for study. (See

Bill to aid minority schools – A bill to provide $250-million to help African-American, Hispanic and Native American undergraduates to bridge the digital divide is working its way through Congress, according to an article by Jeffrey Mervis in the July 18th Science. The bill, already passed by the Senate, would award $2.5-million to each qualified minority-serving institution to acquire digital and wireless communications technology. It is proposed that the program be operated by the National Science Foundation. (See

Math boot camp for women – Robin Wilson wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the National Science Foundation/Andrew E. Mellon Foundation program called EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education), which is designed to support women pursuing graduate degrees in mathematics.  Statistics show that women with graduate degrees in math are still rare in the US .  Over the years several programs have been offered and then died for lack of continuing funding.  And according to some, funding keeps going to more studies of why women are not better represented in mathematics instead of to projects to support women with an interest in math as a career. Programs traditionally work on creating networks of like-minded women, sharpening up research and analytical skills, mentoring, and overcoming psychological barriers. (See

Teach teachers technology – High school instructors that have not been trained in math, science or engineering may be turning out technologically indifferent graduates, according to an article written by Erica Vonderheid in the IEEE Institute on July 7th. And some of those graduates will eventually become teachers themselves, in turn passing on little enthusiasm for technology. A new alliance aimed at addressing this issue, the Alliance for Technological Literacy, will meet in August to bring together representatives from education, industry, government and professional societies. (See

New formula trims college aid – The first report to document the impact of the government’s new formula for financial aid has found that it will reduce the nation’s largest grant program by $270-million and bar 84,000 college students from receiving any award at all, according to an article by Greg Winter in the July 18th New York Times. The report by the Congressional Research Service indicates that the new formula being implemented by the Department of Education, which takes force in the 2004-05 academic year, will trim the Pell Grant program so that hundreds of thousands of students will get smaller awards – in addition to the 84,000 who will get no awards. The Department of Education does not dispute the numbers, but argues that the new formula is needed to keep the cost of the program – driven by the rising popularity of higher education among low-income families – under control. (See

New Washington Accord members – The signatory countries of the Washington Accord, an agreement among the engineering quality assurance organizations of several nations that recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those organizations, have admitted new countries into the Accord. A press release by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the US member of the Accord, says that provisional membership status has been granted to Germany , Malaysia , and Singapore . Provisional status indicates that the country’s accreditation system appears to have the potential to reach full membership status by demonstrating that their system is comparable to those of the other signatories. Originally executed in 1989, the Washington Accord has grown from its six initial members to include several more full and provisional members. (See

Registration Board questions EC2000 – The president of the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers, the state licensing board in that state, has written an article in the Spring 2003 DAPE News criticizing the new criteria being utilized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. J. Ross Harris, P.E., discusses what he characterizes as decreasing quality controls for adequately preparing future engineers with the skills needed to properly safeguard public property, health, safety and welfare. He criticizes ABET’s Criteria 2000, which dropped a prescriptive form of criteria and adopted an outcomes assessment approach, saying that “it allows an engineering program to be pretty much what its administrators want it to be, providing that they can demonstrate some degree of continuous improvement from one ABET visit to the next”.  The writer further states that he is not alone in his concern, and that “Our NCEES leadership has concluded that it is presently impossible for a program being evaluated under Criteria 2000 to fail to pass”. He notes that the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is currently negotiating with ABET over its concerns. (See

Success as a global engineer – The June 2003 issue of IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer contains an article by Terrance Malkinson describing how engineers can prepare themselves for global practice. The author points out that to be successful in the current global environment, an engineer must develop personal, social, business and cultural global literacies. Cultural etiquette skills are singled out as particularly important. The article provides a global skills checklist, and provides suggestions on where to go for assistance – including a list of references for further reading. (See


5 – Employment

Good jobs going abroad? – Following the exporting of lower skilled jobs abroad, US companies are now shifting high-wage work overseas, according to an article in the August 4th Time by Jyoti Thottam. US financial services firms expect to move more than 500,000 jobs overseas within five years, and projections for overall job exportation indicate that 3.3-million US jobs will be sent overseas within the next 12 years. Many of these jobs are being exported to India , where educated workers are quickly adjusting to their new status as the world’s most sought after employees.  Average salary figures explain the shift: software programmer, $66,100 in US, $10,000 in India ; mechanical engineer, $55,600 in US, $5900 in India ; IT manager, $55,000 in US, $8500 in India . (See

EU takes anti-brain drain measures – The European Union is taking serious steps to slow the brain-drain of its scientists to the United States .  Since 1990, the percentage of US educated European Ph.D.s who remain in the US has increased from 49% to 73%, prompting a need for action.  The European Commission is calling for better career opportunities for researchers through portable job seniority and pension rights. More money will also be made available to lure European researchers back home.  The European universities which employ many researchers will be challenged to “harmonize” their personnel management practices in order to make mobility an EU issue, rather than a narrow national issue. Burton Bollag wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Immigration policy via trade pacts – Two new trade pacts signed by the Bush administration this spring create new visa categories to allow professionals from other countries to work in the US, according to a commentary by Paul Magnusson in the July 21st Business Week. New trade pacts with Chile and Singapore contain provisions to allow thousands of professionals from each country to work in the US, on top of existing visa programs such as H1(b)s. The Administration is pursuing similar templates in negotiations with Australia , Morocco , and countries in Central America . And developing countries such as China and India are pressing to make new visa provisions available to all 146 countries in the World Trade Organization. The result could be a vast influx of foreign professionals from many low-wage countries competing with American citizens for high-paying jobs. (See

Strong Education vs. Big Tariffs – The US job market is groping for recovery from its recession, with some observers placing blame on the nation’s imports and exports, according to an article by Daniel Altman in the July 28th New York Times. The argument goes that consumers are importing too many goods and services, while companies are exporting too many jobs. But experts who take a long term view argue that while these trends may slow the recovery in the short term, they offer an opportunity for long term improvement in the standard of living in the US . They argue that the US should work to improve the quality of the labor force freed up as jobs move overseas, to exploit America ’s comparative advantage in producing high-technology and high-value goods and services. Through education, US workers can climb to a higher rung of employment and have more satisfying and stable positions. (See 

IEEE sees loss in competitiveness – According to report from a research firm, Gartner Inc., one-half-million additional IT jobs will move overseas within the next 18 months. In a news release from IEEE-USA, it is reported that this trend will bring the total IT job losses to one-million since 2001.  The Gartner report urged business executives to pay attention to the loss of future talent and intellectual assets due to such outsourcing, as well as the potential negative impact of outsourcing on organizational performance. The president –elect of IEEE-USA has stated: “In the rush to cut costs through offshore outsourcing and increased use of guest workers, companies are undermining the US IT profession and are increasing the vulnerability of their core competencies and knowledge base. The emphasis on outsourcing to cut costs may help boost quarterly earnings, but it is also putting our nation’s long-term economic competitiveness and national security at risk as we give up our technology edge for short-term profits”. (See


6 - Journals

Journal of Engineering Education – The June 2003 issue of this ASEE journal contains nine peer-reviewed, archival quality papers on engineering education, as well as reviews of several books of interest and an editorial entitled “Will our graduates be global players”. The papers cover such areas as assessment, general engineering programs, multimedia tutors, problem solving courseware, exam anxiety, support for women faculty in engineering, PDA usage in the classroom, student centered learning, and degree completion time. (See

Issues in Science and Technology – The summer 2003 issue is a 20th anniversary issue of this journal by the National Academies, containing a wealth of papers by top engineering and science leaders on topics such as ethics, research and technology, health, environment and energy, education, international and defense. The papers are generally updates of previous policy level articles, with the distinguished authors revisiting topics that they wrote about previously in Issues. In some cases the original problem continues unabated, in other cases the problem is now different due to scientific developments or political shifts, and in some cases the problems have gotten significantly better or worse. (See


7 - Meeting

International Conference on Engineering Education – The 2003 ICEE, sponsored by iNEER, was held at the Universidad Polytechnica de Valencia in Spain from 21-25 July. Some 250 international participants, plus a similar number of local attendees and spouses, participated in a week-long conference focused on the future of engineering and on progress through partnerships. A large number of papers were presented in parallel breakout sessions, covering areas such as assessment of student learning, implementation of the Bologna Declaration, online laboratories, distance learning, accreditation and quality assessment, problem-based learning, integration of basic sciences in engineering, technology and society, university-industry collaboration, educational robotics, languages in the engineering curriculum, manpower development, design projects in developing countries, international exchange programs, engineering education in developing countries, teaching of ethics, and advances in control and signal processing education. (See


8 - Editorial  

Conference date clearing house needed - International engineering education meetings are proliferating, and frequently being scheduled in conflict with one another.  For example, the American Society for Engineering Education’s annual meeting in the US and iNEER’s Conference for Engineering Education and Research in the Czech Republic are both running from June 20 – 23, 2004 . In September 2004, the European Society for Engineering Education will begin its annual meeting in Spain on the 8th, just one day after ASEE’s International Colloquium starts in China .  Many organizations provide lists of forthcoming meetings as a service to members, but make no claims for those lists being definitive or comprehensive enough to be useful for program planners who frequently are looking at dates five or more years in the future.  Is there some organization willing to build and maintain a comprehensive meeting calendar on a website to which all planners could turn?  rcj and bso



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