5 August 2002

Copyright © 2002 World Expertise LLC – All rights reserved

A periodic electronic newsletter for engineering education leaders,

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


International developments

1.       Chaos on African campuses

2.       Progress at Makerere University in Uganda

3.       Reversal of India’s brain drain?

4.       Corruption plagues academe around the World

5.       UNESCO forum on open courseware

6.       EU scholarships for foreign master’s students

7.       German conversion to BA and MA programs

8.       Online Islamic University

9.       Engineering Council of India formed

10.    Learning curve for children

U.S. developments

11.    Foreign students face new hurdles

12.    Benefits of international exchanges

13.    Healthy increase proposed for NSF budget

14.    House science committee chair praised

15.    IEEE concerned about engineering unemployment

16.    Educators want more engineering graduates

17.    Math and science discussed at White House

18.    Six new NSF centers to be funded

19.    NAS to discuss papers that withhold information

20.    Science community critiques Homeland Security

21.    TIAA-CREF pushes for accounting reform

Distance education, technology

22.    US – EU alliance on distance education meets

23.    Southern Maine debates review of course materials

24.    China pushes IT development

25.    Company failures impact networks

26.    State budgets curtail technology expenditures

Students, Faculty, Education

27.    Students use web for research

28.    ABET undertakes study of EC2000 impacts

29.    Latino parents often unable to guide children toward college

30.    Internships give boost to students

31.    Advanced degrees lead to more lifetime earnings

32.    Standards set for part-time faculty members


33.    Teaching Entrepreneurial Engineering

34.    Enhancement of the Global Perspective for Engineering Students by Providing an International Experience


35.    Journal of Engineering Education

36.    Issues in Science and Technology

37. European Journal of Engineering Education  


International developments

1) There is chaos on many African campuses, according to a review article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Burton Bollag. In country after country on the African continent, learning has been interrupted by faculty and student walkouts for the past 20 years. Such interruptions demoralize students and faculty members, weaken learning, and delay producing the next generation of professionals, teachers, and leaders that Africa needs so badly. The underlying problems are depravation and repression, according to African sources. This article details poverty and lost years of study in several African countries. The primary future challenge is described as turbulence as an increasing number of governments, facing large growths in enrollments, consider tuition charges for students. See

2) In the bleak landscape of African higher education described above, a handful of institutions have been able to renew themselves, according to an article by Wachira Kigotho and Burton Bollag in the Chronicle. Makerere University in Uganda, for example, has renovated its campus, filled its libraries with recent books, and pays faculty members enough that they do not have to moonlight. These are major accomplishments in sub-Saharan Africa, and have earned Makerere considerable outside respect. Tuition charges for students were introduced in the 1990’s, government support is now provided through a flexible budget, and external funding has been attracted as reform efforts have succeeded. Four American philanthropies have recently pledged $100-million to assist African higher education, singling out three institutions they viewed as especially able to benefit from their assistance: Makerere, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mosambique, and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. See

3) India’s brain drain may be reversed, according to an article by Erica Vonderheid in the July 2002 issue of the IEEE Institute. The recent trend has been that the best and brightest of India have been lured to leave their homeland to work in Australia, Canada, the United States, and Western Europe, typically to work in the information technology industry. According to a United Nations report, that brain drain represents a $2-billion loss for India. But a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California suggests that as many as 45% of these Indian high technology workers intend to return to their homeland – often interested in starting a business there. The downturn in the US economy has slowed the recruitment rate for new engineers – including those from abroad. By contrast, the IT industry in India is still going strong – with software exports last year up 29% over the previous year. See

4) Corruption is plaguing academe around the world, according to a note in the Chronicle. Students have others take their tests, fake diplomas are sold, and theses are ghost written. Such corruption is not limited to the developing countries – recent cases have involved using political influence to gain a medical school admission in Japan, a proposed large financial contribution to buy a spot in a prestigious British university, and students in the US buying term papers and admission essays online. Professors worry that students will get used to buying grades instead of earning them. See

5) UNESCO has recently held a “Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries”. The group of  about twenty world experts participating defined open courseware (or their preferred term ‘open education resources’) as: “Information and communications technology enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes”. One major planned source of such educational resources is the MIT OpenCourseWare project, which will eventually put information from some 2000 courses online for free non-commercial use. The experts at the UNESCO forum emphasized that courses posted on the web would have to be ‘sustainable’ – meaning that other could freely edit, change, or make use of part of a course. In addition they stressed that the technology used in posting such courseware needed to be designed to allow the use of a variety of appropriate tools at receiving institutions, with a minimum of integration problems. International cooperation is expected to lead to free exchanges of enhanced materials as well – a university can download a course from the Internet, translate it, adapt it, then put it back online so that others can make use of the new material. See for papers presented at the forum, and see for information on the MIT OpenCourseWare project.

6) The European Union plans a scholarship program for master’s-level students from elsewhere, according to an article in the Chronicle by Burton Bollag. Under the planned program, some 2000 students from outside the region would be supported in two-year master’s programs at any one time. ‘Erasmus World’ will have a budget of about $200-million for the four academic years starting in 2004, to support some 4200 foreign students. Except for Britain, European countries have attracted far fewer foreign students than the United States and Australia. European Union officials hope that this new program will create a pool of young, educated decision makers around the globe who will be more attuned to dealing with Europe. The program is also designed to promote closer cooperation among European universities, through joint master’s programs across institutions and national borders. The program also supports the Bologna process, aimed at harmonizing Europe’s higher education system. See

7) Germany has gone ahead at an accelerated pace to adapt university degree programs to be compatible with international degree offerings. There are now 94 programs with graduating diplomas designated B.A and M.A., conforming to  degrees offered in English speaking countries. These are run in parallel with the traditional German degrees of Dipl.Ing. Many of these degree programs have a strong international component with individual courses given in English. Of the degrees offered by 'Fachhochschulen', newly titled as Universities of Applied Sciences, 21 are at the B.A. level and 35 at the M.A. level. A total of 32 B.A. and  62 M.A. programs are offered by all university types. Courses are predominantly in engineering oriented categories and range from International Technical Communication, offered by the University of Hildesheim to Paper Science and Technology, offered by the University of Darmstadt. See German Universities Information Service at

8) A new online Islamic university based in the United States is seeking recognition from leading Islamic universities in Egypt, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia, according to a note in the Chronicle by Andrea Foster. The nonprofit Internet Islamic University, which opened last August, awards diplomas and bachelor’s degrees in Islamic disciplines. Its 55 or so current students mostly live in the United States. Courses are offered live in English by faculty members affiliated with American and foreign universities. The institution’s mission is “to help shape the destiny of the Muslim people through the opening of vistas of Islamic knowledge for young Muslims that are inquisitive and deeply attached to Islam”. Recognition by the major Islamic universities would allow graduates of the Internet Islamic University to continue their studies at those institutions. See

9) An Engineering Council of India has been established recently, in the context of professional services and the accountability of professional engineers. The Council will coordinate the activities and responsibilities of the several Indian engineering societies in developing a uniform code of conduct of Indian professional engineers both inside the country and abroad. See

10) The September 2002 issue of the World Press Review has as its cover story a series of article from world papers on the learning curve for children. An article from Poland argues for parent involvement in building better schools. One from Germany describes a political turf war about jurisdiction over the school system, between the federal government and local states and municipalities. An article from Japan describes a new education initiative designed to relieve the pressure on students and to broaden their perspectives and creative abilities. One from Finland decries low pay and low prestige for teachers there. And a final article in the series, from Nigeria, argues that schools must relate education to work. See


U.S. developments

11) Foreign students will face new obstacles before being able to work on US campuses this year, according to an article in the Chronicle by Sara Hebel. Because of policy changes stemming from national security concerns, foreign students who arrive at American universities this fall will confront a new procedural hurdle to getting Social Security numbers. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service will have to review their passports and immigration documents before the Social Security Administration can process an application. Social Security officials estimate that this extra step could delay processing by from 2 to 12 weeks. While Federal law does not require a Social Security number before the start of work, many colleges will not hire or pay individuals until one is obtained. See

12) US defense experts have cited international education and cultural exchanges as among the benefits of federal international affairs spending, according to a news release from the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange. A diverse group of America’s leading business, nongovernmental organization, and defense experts met at the US Chamber of Commerce in July in support of an increased budget for US international affairs programs that bolster national security and fight terrorism. In addition to supporting international education and exchange programs, the panel noted that America’s international affairs community needs to do a better job of educating the public on international affairs issues. See

13) The US Senate appropriations subcommittee has approved a healthy increase of nearly 12% for the National Science Foundation’s budget for next year, according to a note in the Chronicle by Jeffrey Brainard. The proposed increase is more than double that requested by President Bush, but is still short of the amount needed to double the NSF budget in 5 years – a goal of many supporters. The House of Representatives last month passed a bill authorizing a 15% increase, which would be on track to the doubling of the budget in 5 years, but its appropriations committee has not yet acted. Strong support in the Senate comes from Senators Mikulski and Bond, who argue that the NSF budget should keep pace with increases that are doubling the budget of the National Institutes of Health. See

14) In a related article by Ron Southwick in the Chronicle, Representative Sherwood Boehlert is described as a major supporter for increasing the NSF budget. He is chairman of the House Committee on Science, and although a Republican is critical of several of President Bush’s proposals. Boehlert calls the spending plan for most scientific agencies “anemic”, and says that the president’s blueprint for the Department of Homeland Security “does not give research and development a high-enough profile”. See

15) Record engineering unemployment has spurred IEEE-USA to call for congressional action. Although the overall US unemployment rate fell in the second quarter, it increased significantly for engineers and computer scientists – from 3.6% in the first quarter to 4.0% in the second. IEEE-USA is concerned that this increase in engineering unemployment is not a short-term cyclical phenomenon, but represents a more fundamental shift in engineering utilization that has potentially negative impacts for the US. It is asking Congress to investigate the impacts of increased hiring of non-US guest workers, the greater use of temporary workers and the outsourcing of engineering work overseas as causes of the unemployment problem, in addition to the economic downturn. IEEE-USA is particularly concerned about H-1B visas, with 163,000 issued in the last government fiscal year. See 

16) Educators say that if the US does not increase the number of engineering graduates soon it will lose out in the global marketplace, according to an article by Charles Murray in EE Times Online. In 2000, the US brought in 90,000 foreign engineers and computer scientists, compared to the 65,000 engineers and 15,000 computer scientists graduated domestically. Observers note the stigma attached to ‘nerdy’ engineering and science studies by some high school students, and note the high percentage of undergraduate students that drop out of engineering schools. Statistics indicate that engineering schools graduate only between one-third and one-half of the students who start out in engineering programs. Recent curricula overhauls at some schools are aimed at reducing this dropout rate. See

17) Science and math education were among the top concerns voiced at a recent White House forum on the future of technology, according to an article by Cara Branigan in eSchool News. The consensus of the over 100 IT executives gathered was that a better math and science program for students would both benefit the national economy and strengthen security, since foreign workers would not be needed for critical positions. President Bush said that broadband rollout also plays a role in education, and said the creation of the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology would help steer policy on broadband rollout. The ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation provides $160-million this year for a Mathematics and Science Partnerships program, the first installment in a planned 5-year, $1-billion push to bolster math and science partnerships between higher education and secondary and elementary schools. See

18) The National Science Foundation is expanding its 15-year-old program of collaborative academic-based research centers, according to a major review article by Jeffrey Mervis in the 26 July 2002 issue of Science. This summer, six US-based university consortia will be funded, the survivors of a grueling competition that began with 143 entrants. The winners will receive up to $20-million over the next 5 years, with the likelihood of another 5 years of support after a midterm review. Fields likely to be supported range from space weather modeling and biophotonics to water purification and Earth-surface dynamics. The Center’s program, NSF’s flagship program to support long-term interdisciplinary and cooperative research centers, began amid controversy in 1987. Many scientists feared that the proposed centers would drain funds from NSF’s traditional support for individual investigators, and also promote applied research at the expense of basic science. But the fears proved groundless; the centers program will this year consume only 1.1% of NSF’s budget, and many centers focus on the most basic of scientific pursuits. See

19) The National Academy of Sciences plans a debate on the publication of papers that might help terrorists, according to a note in the Chronicle by Lila Guterman. Fearful of helping terrorists, some scientists are hoping to withhold key information from research papers on bioterrorism. But others wonder whether journals should allow such papers to be published, because they withhold information scientists at other laboratories would need to replicate the work. A broad national debate is being scheduled for September by NAS. See

20) The US science community has begun examining proposals to create the new Department of Homeland Security, according to an article in the 5 July 2002 issue of Science by David Malakoff. In recent congressional hearings, research leaders said that there were serious flaws with the plans for the department’s science and technology programs. Many biomedical scientists, for example, opposed giving an agency with a strong focus on border security control over bioterror research. Others questioned how the new department would manage research. Representative Sherwood Boehlert, chair of the House Science Committee, says the White House proposal “simply does not give R&D a high enough profile”. See  

21) TIAA-CREF, the single biggest pension-fund manager for academics, is urging corporations to account for stock options as expenses. According to a note by Goldie Blumstock in the Chronicle, TIAA-CREF has written to more than 1700 major corporations in which it invests, urging them to account for all stock options as expenses in their financial statements. The pension fund believes that reporting options explicitly in financial statements would enhance credibility by providing a more accurate account of the company’s costs. See


Distance education, technology

22) A first transatlantic alliance on distance education between the US and the EU was hosted at the end of May by the University of Maryland’s University College. The European Union, currently under the presidency of Spain, organized the conference through the Spanish National University of Distance Education. Keynote speakers noted that distance education has become the future of education, and that it provides opportunities to deliver quality education to more people than ever before. High-ranking representatives from the US and most of the 15 EU member countries attended the conference, and many offered presentations on distance education and issues related to the use of technology in education. PowerPoint slides and talks are available on the web. See

23) Faculty members at the University of Southern Maine are debating the review of distance education materials, according to a note in the Chronicle by Scott Carlson. After a student complained that he was offended by a tenured professor’s remarks in a videotaped lecture, a faculty committee proposed that all videotapes and other materials for distance-education courses be reviewed by the university before the materials are used in class. The faculty union has objected to the proposal, saying that the idea of having a committee censor a videotape that is used in distance education is a violation of academic freedom. The administration has yet to address the issue. See

24) China is preparing to make a great leap forward in the IT field, according to an article from Der Spiegel by Andreas Lorenz, reprinted in the August 2002 issue of World Press Review. Leaders in Beijing have set a goal of 20% growth in the country’s high tech sector each year, such that it becomes the major source of economic growth and surpasses the US in IT production by the year 2010. About 150 million Chinese are already using cell phones – some 20 million more than in the US – and that number is expected to rise to 260 million by 2005. No other sector of the Chinese economy is a dynamic as the IT area, and products from DVD players to floppy drives to color TVs are now made in China. According to forecasts, more PCs will be sold in China next year than in Japan. Much of the Chinese government’s motivation in setting a priority in this area is a desire to liberate the country from dependence on the American computer industry. One major obstacle to the information age, the Chinese written language, is well on the way to removal. Chinese can now type in their characters on a regular keyboard using their Latin transliterations. See

25) College network managers are worried that company failures will threaten their high-speed upgrades, according to an article by Florence Olsen in the Chronicle. Experts say that the corporate failures could delay upgrades in high-speed research networks, and that one bankruptcy in Europe could cut off high-speed trans-Atlantic Internet service. The bankruptcy of KPNQwest in Europe, which has provided the trans-Atlantic link between the Internet2 and its European counterpart Geant, has left its circuits in doubt – currently working until something malfunctions or the power is cut off. Replacement circuits have been ordered, but are not yet operational. In the US, Internet2 is concerned that one of its major corporate partners, WorldCom Inc., has filed for bankruptcy. There is concern that the current chaos in the telecommunications market has the potential for affecting not just the research and education community, but everybody else. See

26) In states hurt by the recession, technology is on the chopping block, according to an article in the Chronicle by Dan Carnevale. Now that many states are mired in an economic slowdown, many public colleges and universities are cutting back on technology spending and are requiring students to pay more for computer services. Many states have reduced spending for higher education, and technology expenditures can usually be sacrificed more easily that professor’s salaries. The extent of the cutbacks varies from state to state. For example, Oregon students may see computer-help services reduced, Nebraska colleges are slowing the growth of online education programs, California’s campus computers will not be upgraded as frequently, and institutions in Indiana, Virginia, and Oregon will increase student fees to help keep their technology current. See


Students, faculty, education

27) A survey has found that students use the web extensively, but recognize its limitations, according to an article in the Chronicle by Scott Carlson. The Online Computer Library Center survey, “OCLC White Paper on the Information Habits of College Students”, says that almost 80% of students surveyed use Internet search engines for “every” or “most” assignments. About 50% of respondents glean information from each of two other sources -- library web portals or class web sites. Students appear to be driven by convenience, so tend to begin their research on readily accessible search engines such as Google and Yahoo, outside of library portals. Librarians worry that paper resources are often ignored by such approaches. See

28) The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology has undertaken a longitudinal study to measure the success of its EC2000, the outcomes-based criteria recently placed into use for the accreditation of engineering programs in the US. The study, to be conducted by Pennsylvania State University’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, will address the question: What impact has EC2000’s emphasis on outcomes, innovation, and continuous improvement had? The study’s findings, which will be reported regularly to ABET’s constituents, will be used to improve ABET’s quality assurance process.  See

29) Latino parents in the US are largely unable to provide their children with basic information or assistance about attending college, according to a recent report. As described in an article in the Chronicle by Richard Morgan, “College Knowledge: What Latino Parents Need to Know and Why They Don’t Know It” says that Latino parents surveyed failed a number of tests designed to determine how informed they are about college admissions and matriculation processes. Parents with lower incomes, less education, and first generation immigrants have the most difficulty helping their children – even though they often have high aspirations for those children. Language and cultural barriers are at the root of many of the problems encountered. Among other recommendations, the report calls for government funding to be used to provide radio and Television public service announcements – in both English and Spanish – about basic college information. See

30) An internship gives students a leg up on the job market, according to an article by Scott Kariya in the July 2002 issue of IEEE Spectrum. Internships offer engineering students a unique window into the real-world marketplace, and can help students make better career decisions. And in the current employment landscape, the on-the-job experience and contacts can prove invaluable. The National Association for Colleges and Employers has reported a 36.4% drop in hiring of recent college graduates, who in many cases are competing for fewer openings with more experienced unemployed workers. An internship can make the difference as employers scan resumes in search of qualified candidates. See

31) A Census Bureau study has shown that advanced degrees result in higher earnings over the course of careers, according to a note in the Chronicle. People with doctoral degrees earn an average of $3.4-million over the course of their working lives, compared with $2.5-million for those with master’s degrees, $2.1-million for those with a bachelor’s degree, and $1.2-million for those with only a high school degree. People with professional degrees do best of all, earning an average of $4.4-million over the courses of their careers. Other findings are that the gap in earnings for people with different levels of education has grown over the years, that while women have closed the gap in educational attainment in recent years the gap in earnings is still significant, and that educational attainment and earnings vary greatly by race. See

32) The American Federation of Teachers has approved a set of standards for the treatment of part-time faculty members, according to an article in the Chronicle by Scott Smallwood. The union is calling for an equitable pay scale, evaluation procedures for adjuncts, a seniority system for part-timers, and compensation for office hours. It hopes that such an approach will improve working conditions for those at the bottom of the academic pecking order. The union publication “Standards of Good Practice in the Employment of Part-Time/Adjunct Faculty” are available online at  For the Chronicle article see



33) “Teaching Entrepreneurial Engineering”, a conference sponsored by Engineering Conferences International, will take place 13-16 January 2003 in Monterey, California. The conference will assemble entrepreneurs, engineering educators, and business school faculty to discuss relevant topics and to make outcome recommendations. For details, and a registration form, see

34) “Enhancement of the Global Perspective for Engineering Students by Providing an International Experience”, another conference sponsored by Engineering Conferences International, will take place 6-11 April 2003 in Tomar, Portugal. This conference will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on methods of enhancing the global perspective of engineering students, identify the key obstacles, and discuss progress toward eliminating the obstacles. For details, see



35) The Journal of Engineering Education for April 2002 contains 14 high quality articles, plus a comment by the editor (on ABET EC2000) and a book review (“Understanding by Design” by Wiggens and McTighe). Papers include discussions of undergraduate research experiences, virtual fieldwork, educational video conferencing techniques, engineering entrepreneurship, collaborative learning, assessment, multi-disciplinary design, and globalization of the curriculum. See

36) The Summer 2002 issue of Issues in Science and Technology has as its lead article “Memory Faults and Fixes”, discussing research on the limits of human memory and how it should impact the courts. Two articles discuss terrorism and security, two articles discuss technological literacy for the broad public, and one discusses climate change. See

37) The June 2002 issue of the European Journal of Engineering Education contains nine major articles on topics including engineering design, engineering ethics, curriculum change in engineering education, internships, engineering education in China, and university policy. See


To unsubscribe from this newsletter service, please respond to with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Send address changes to the same e-mail address.

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

This Digest provides summaries of published articles, both printed and electronic. World Expertise does not endorse or corroborate the information in these articles. Some publication web sites may require user registration before access is granted to articles via the links provided above.

Back issues of this International Engineering Education Digest can be read on the Web at