December 2004

Copyright © 2004 World Expertise LLC – All rights reserved

A periodic electronic newsletter for engineering education leaders,

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


1 - International developments

2 - US developments

3 - Distance education, technology

4 - Students, faculty, education

5 – Employment

6 – Journals


1 - International developments

Canada takes steps to award more distinguished chairs to women – As a result of public pressure and a much-publicized lawsuit, the Canadian Research Chairs program has this year greatly increased the number of appointments made to women faculty.  The program, created in 2000, was criticized last year for failing to appoint women to their level of representative in the academic ranks.  But now, reports Karen Birchard in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the number of nominations of women has greatly increased, indicating that progress should be more rapid in the coming years.  (See

Kyoto Protocol enacted – With the United States keeping on the sidelines, delegates from more than 190 countries gathered in Buenos Aires recently to celebrate the enactment of the first treaty requiring cuts in greenhouse gasses linked to global warming. According to an article in the December 13th New York Times by Larry Rother and Andrew Revkin, many delegates and experts concede that the pact has flaws and implementation problems, but feel that the treaty that has been ratified by 130 countries and international blocs is an important step. It is the first time that industrialized countries have agreed to mandatory constraints on carbon dioxide. The treaty, which takes effect on February 16th, commits the three dozen industrialized countries taking part to cut combined emissions of the gasses to at least 5% below 1990 levels, by 2012. (See

Campus corruption in India seen as mirror to larger society The Chronicle of Higher Education recently dedicated a long article to a study of corruption on Indian university campuses.  According to reporter Shailaja Neelakantan, campus politics have become dangerous in recent years, to the point that armed police guards, voter bribery, intimidation, and death threats are increasingly common.  Students see success in campus politics as a stepping stone to candidacy in national elections, and a route to wealth and power.   Students may seek multiple degrees to maintain their student status and influence at a particular university.  It is not unusual for candidates to have criminal records.  Public officials have not made a serious effort to control the violence, and indeed, may be using campus elections as ways of reaching students and swaying them in national or local issues.  (See

Italians protest plan to end tenure – Italian academics have rallied outside that country’s higher education ministry to show their disapproval over government plans to end tenure and increase teaching loads. According to a note by Alexander Hellemans in the November 19th Science, the government says that its reform plan is needed to provide much-needed flexibility. But faculty members feel that the plan could drive away the country’s best young brains. The plan put forth by Italy ’s education and research minister would apply to the majority of the country’s 50,000 researchers and professors at its 70 universities – replacing the current tenured research track with a series of fixed-year contracts. The reform addresses widespread claims that the current system is corrupt, with rigged appointments, widespread nepotism, and mismanagement of public resources. (See

American-style law schools in Japan take a hit – In an effort to make the study of law emphasize more practical skills, Japan this year opened 68 American-style law schools.  Already, these schools are in trouble, with applications for next year having fallen by 50%.  At the center of the problem is the pass rate initially proposed by the Ministry of Justice for the bar exam, which was established based on an estimate of how many people would attempt the test.  When many more people enrolled in the new schools, the expected pass rate has declined, from about 70-80% to 35%.  Because students have the option until 2010 of sitting for the bar exam after only two years of college, many are now electing to bypass the expensive new law schools and take their chances with studying on their own, writes Alan Brender of The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Europe advances plan for merit-based funding – The European Research Council, a new funding agency that would support basic research based solely on quality, has moved closer to implementation. According to a note in the December 3rd Science by Martin Enserink, the ERC has gained popularity over the past two years since being proposed by Europe ’s scientific organizations. It would be funded as part of Framework 7, the EU’s science funding round for the period 2007-10. All but two of the EU’s 25 member countries support the idea and have asked the European Commission to work out a proposal. (See

Cell phones used in South Korea exam scam – Cell phones were recently used in a wide-spread cheating scheme in a South Korean college placement exam, resulting in numerous arrests and great outrage.  The examination, which was taken by about 600,000 students this year, is key to entrance into famous universities.  Students used hidden mobiles from inside testing sites to send answers to students outside, who then checked on their accuracy and transmitted the information back to other students inside.  As punishment, reports Alan Brender for The Chronicle of Higher Education, guilty students will be prevented from retaking the exam for three years.  Also in the works is a system to prevent a recurrence.  (See

New Commissioner for EU science and research – Europe has a new leader at the helm of its science policy, according to an article by Gretchen Vogel in the November 26th Science – Janez Potočnik, a Slovenian economist. He will oversee a $22-billion research fund, which he hopes to see double in size during his 5-year term. Potočnik admits to having little background in the natural sciences, and indicates that he will follow an evolutionary path, building on past directions, rather than revolution. He speaks enthusiastically about the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises as drivers for scientific research. (See

Canadian higher education no big bargain – A new report compares the cost of higher education in Canada and the US , and concludes that Canada is no longer as affordable as it once was, due to the availability of more grant aid in the US .  The report recommends that the Canadian government examine the joint issues of aid and college costs, reports Karen Birchard in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

2 - US developments

FY 2005 Appropriations bill enacted – A lame-duck US Congress finally has completed work on the FY 2005 budget, with a $388-billion omnibus appropriations bill. The bill, now signed by the President, holds domestic spending flat at last year’s level, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Earlier in the year, defense and homeland security spending had won large increases, including for R&D programs in those agencies. With only a few exceptions, R&D funding in domestic agencies share in the sacrifice of tight budgets. The National Science Foundation’s budget actually declines in FY 2005, down to $5.5-billion, $107-million or 1.9% less than last year. The five largest research directorates all see budget cuts approaching 2%. NSF’s education and human resources programs fall by 10%. The National Institutes of Health budget of $28.6-billion is just 2% above last year’s funding level, well off the 15% annual increases in recent years. NASA is one of the few winners, with a $16.1-billion appropriation, 4.5% more than last year. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science gets a 2.8% increase, the US Geological Survey gets a 0.3% cut, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology labs is a bright spot with a 10% increase. (See

National Academies urge more expertise, less politics – The US National Academies recently released a report urging that federal advisory panels on science and technology be populated by experts rather than political supporters.  The Bush administration has been criticized for asking candidates questions about their voting records or views on particular policies.  But the recommendations in this report are largely the same as have been made in reports dating back to 1992.  One additional recommendation in the report is that new presidents appoint a science advisor immediately, to help select other people for science and technology positions.  To date, presidents have awaited Senate confirmation of their director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, a potential lengthy process, according to Kelly Field writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

US Commission on UNESCO appointed – After an 18 year absence, the US rejoined UNESCO in the fall of 2003. It now has announced the formation of a US National Commission which will provide advice and guidance to the State Department and the US Ambassador to UNESCO. The Commission will consist of 100 members, spread across UNESCO’s areas of activity – education, science, culture, and communications. To date 90 members, representing government agencies, NGO’s and at-large individuals, have been named. That group will select the remaining 10 members. The list of members identified to date, and background on the Commission, can be seen at

US National Academy of Sciences calls for interdisciplinary research – A report from the US National Academy of Sciences calls for a change of policies and ideologies to support more interdisciplinary research, writes Joseph Gidjunis in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Traditional ways of organizing research by departments put brakes on such collaboration, as colleagues question how much the department benefits from an interdisciplinary project.  Recommendations in the report include developing policies that support interdisciplinary work, Congress urging federal research agencies to balance disciplinary research with interdisciplinary research, structures to enable undergraduate and graduate students to experience research outside of their primary field, and increased publication of the results of interdisciplinary research.  This report, “Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research,” is available at (See

Bush victory brings concerns in the science community – The scientific community was critical of President Bush’s policies in his first term, and let its concerns be known in the recent presidential election campaign, according to an article in the November 12th Science by Jeffrey Mervis. Now that he has been re-elected, his chief spokesman to that community – Presidential Science Advisor John Marburger – has warned that criticism of the Administration’s science policies during the campaign may be undermining public support for science. Observers from the scientific community say that the White House now perceives that community as an enemy, and that that perception will make it harder to open doors for engagement with the Administration – which may just go its own directions without interacting. (See

US leaders need better info, advice on science, technology – The Federation of American Scientists issued a report and recommendations on what they see as a weakened system of scientific counsel provided to Congress and the president.   As an example, the report points to President Bush’s decision in 2001 to limit federal support of research using embryonic stem cells to the 60 lines already available.  After this decision was made, it was revealed by the National Institutes of Health that only 22 lines existed.  Furthermore, there are few records to document how this policy statement was formulated. The Federation of American Scientists said that their report was not political.  Their recommendations include creation of a special organization within the Government Accountability Office to analyze complex technical subjects; a regular review of federal research and development expenditures; and the creation of a National Science and Technology Council under the direction of the president’s science advisor.  This article was written for The Chronicle of Higher Education by Jeffrey Selingo. (See

Bush proposes Spellings as Secretary of Education US President George Bush has nominated Margaret Spellings as the next Secretary of Education.  Spellings, Bush’s domestic-policy advisor, is generally supported by college leaders, but it is not clear how she would exert leadership on legislation affecting post-secondary education.  One fear is that she might bring to higher education her notably strong emphasis on accountability.  (See

Decline in new foreign grad students slows – The number of international students beginning graduate studies at US universities has declined for the third year in a row, according to a note by Yudhjit Bhattacharjee in the November 12th Science. But the 6% drop this year is the smallest in three years. Some attribute this improvement in part to faster handling of visa applications. This is good news for higher education organizations, which had braced for worse after a 28% drop in international graduate applications and an 18% drop in offers of admission. Declines in the past two years – 10% in the fall of 2003, and 8% the year before – appeared after the September 11th terrorist attacks, and reversed several prior years of growth in the number of international students. (See

Collaborative research receives support – The US House of Representatives recently passed legislation that will eliminate a significant barrier to collaborative research.   The legislation was endorsed by the Association of American Universities, representing 62 research institutions.  The bill will permit members of research teams from different organizations to share information on a project. Since 1997, a court ruling judged that such sharing could make the results of research “obvious,” thus preventing discoveries from being patented.  Joseph Gidjunis reported on this for The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Some US universities clean up from tech transfer – In fiscal year 2003 US colleges and universities reported earning over $1 billion from income generated by technology transfer activities.  The Association of University Technology Managers conducts the annual survey, which this year included results from 96 of the 100 universities that spend the most on research.  It is difficult to discern trends in the data, largely because the same schools do not participate each year, but also because one year’s data may be skewed up or down by one large success or failure.  Washington University in St. Louis , for example, received an up front payment in 2003 from a German pharmaceutical company for a drug used in the treatment of Crohn’s disease.  This caused the university’s revenues from royalties to almost double over the previous year, writes Goldie Blumenstyk in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The AUTM can be contacted at its website ( for information on how to obtain a copy of the full report.  (See


3 - Distance education, technology

On-line education deemed successful – Between fall 2002 and fall 2003 the number of US students enrolled in on-line courses increased 19%, to 1.9 million, according to chief academic officers at 1170 institutions.  The survey, supported by the Sloan Foundation, revealed that larger public institutions relied more heavily on on-line education as a central part of their over-all strategy than did smaller, private, non-profit institutions, writes Scott Carlson in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Student satisfaction with on-line courses was reported to be positive by 40% of the respondents.  Again, student satisfaction was reported to be higher by CAO’s affiliated with public and for-profit institutions.  The report, “Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States , 2003 and 2004,” is available on the Sloan Consortium website.  (See

Internet access delivered from above – Telephone companies are being challenged for high-speed Internet business customers by new services using beamed high-powered wireless Internet connections, according to an article by Ken Belson in the November 29th New York Times. Technology experts say that this wireless technology could uncork the nettlesome bottleneck of the telecommunications industry, the phone companies which control the “last mile” of wire that travels from their switching stations to homes and offices. The emerging wireless service is known as WiMax, wireless interoperability for microwave access. Unlike WiFi, radio wave technology which allows laptop users to log onto the Internet within 150 feet of an antenna,  WiMax delivers broadband Internet connections through fixed antennas that send and receive signals across entire cities. (See

High tech communications don’t replace face to face in research projects – In a comprehensive update on the success of electronic collaboration in multi-location research projects, Jeffrey Young, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, points out evidence that indicates technology cannot replace face-to-face communication.  An analysis of 62 multi-institution research projects shows that they have been less successful in terms of published papers and patent applications than single institution projects.  While there are recent developments which will mitigate the situation, such as the design of technologies permitting multiple researchers to control equipment simultaneously from different locations, significant social and culture barriers persist.  It is difficult to maintain motivation when working with remote colleagues, and e-mail and phone contacts often degenerate into discussions of mundane matters such as timetables, schedules, and logistics.  The most successful distributed projects rely on face to face meetings and workshops for participants.  C. Suzanne Iacono, director of NSF’s Information Technology Research program, succeeded in requiring grant applicants to provide detailed plans for coordinating distributed projects.  But hers was the only NSF program to do so, and it did not receive continued support.  Insiders report that travel is often the first item to be cut from proposals, when in fact it can be crucial to establishing trust between researchers.  (See

Libraries reach out online – Libraries are moving to serve the massive online public as their newest service audience, according to an article by Tim Gnatek in the December 9th New York Times. For example, the New York Public Library now offers to its 1.8-million cardholders some 3000 titles of electronic books, available through the web, ranging from best-sellers to nonfiction to romance novels to self-help books. Patrons borrow them for set periods, downloading them to computers or handheld devices. When they are due, the files are automatically locked out and returned for circulation. In addition to e-books, libraries offer access to card catalogs, reserving and renewing of book loans, paying fines, etc., on-line. They are also leveraging technology, such as free access to wireless networks, to draw people to their physical premises. (See

Google Scholar now available to search – A beta version of Google Scholar was recently released, designed to focus entirely on scholarly works, including technical reports and peer-reviewed papers.  Google officials say they worked with a range of scholars, colleges and universities, librarians, academic publishers and learned societies in creating this new search engine, although for the moment, the names of the people involved in the development have not been released, nor has a definition of what constitutes a scholarly work.  Enthusiasts say this sort of engine is long overdue: skeptics are afraid that students will no longer used specialized academic databases. According to Jeffrey R. Young, writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, improvements will be made to the engine in the future, including options for limiting searches.  For now, no advertising is included in search results. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

US teens are among the worst in math – Fifteen-year-olds in the US rank near the bottom of industrialized countries in math skills, according to a new international comparison by the Program for International Student Assessment. According to an article by June Kronholz in the December 7th Wall Street Journal, two of the most unsettling findings are that the percentage of top-achieving math students in the US is about half that of other industrialized countries, and that the gap between scores of white and minority groups is enormous. The US ranked 24th among 29 OECD countries surveyed, well behind top ranked Finland , Korea and Japan . The PISA study also looked at reading and science skills, where US students scored slightly higher than in math, and at general problem solving skills, where they scored close to the bottom. (See also similar articles in the December 7th Washington Post by Michael Dobbs, and in the December 7th New York Times by Floyd Norris)

Barriers to study abroad still exist in USA – According to the Institute of International Education , slightly more than 1% of the total US undergraduate population earned academic credit overseas in the 2002-2003 academic year.  Data show that fewer students are studying abroad for a full year, and more students are studying abroad for less than eight weeks.  The barriers to greater participation are financial and academic, with highly structured majors such as engineering and science seeming to afford fewer opportunities for students to study overseas.  In this article by Burton Bollag writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Denver , a private institution, was cited as having an exceptionally aggressive program for encouraging study abroad.  The university funds a program which allows students to go overseas for the price of normal tuition, with airfare and other expenses covered for them through the Cherrington Global Scholars Program. The US Congress is looking into a program which would triple the number of students studying abroad.  (See

2005 Grads getting good offers – After three slack years, employers across a range of industries have headed back to campus, according to an article in the December 6th Business Week by Jennifer Merritt. A study of 582 companies by Michigan State University indicates that companies plan to expand hiring of grads by 20% over last year, and that average pay could rise 4% to 7%. The change appears to be across the board, in industries ranging from investment banking and health care to retail and real estate. Companies are hiring due to continued solid economic growth and because they can no longer put off hiring for jobs left empty through attrition. (See

Foreign students like UK universities – According to a recent study, most foreign students in the UK are satisfied with their education. Instructional methodologies and support services are all ranked highly by students from 150 countries studying in 181 UK higher education institutions. China has the largest percentage of foreign students in the UK , followed by Greece and then the US .  American students tend to rate the quality of teaching at UK universities higher than the instructional facilities.  The foreign students had complaints about strict British strict regulations, similar to complaints expressed about the US , writes Aisha Labi in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Closing the racial gap - Many middle-class African American students are scoring lower than white classmates, but it may be their parents and teachers who need remedial work. Writing in the November 29th Time, Sonja Steptoe explores issues about the achievement gap between black and white students in the US . In 2004, black students scored 104 points lower than whites on the math SAT, and 98 points lower on the verbal. In the past, this gap has been attributed to the economic and social disparities between black kids attending inner-city schools and white kids in suburban schools. But a recent book by Abigail and Stephen Thernrstrom (No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning) argues that black underachievement stems from such factors as impaired intellectual development due to low birth weight and a high number of single-parent households led by mothers too young to give their children proper educational guidance. Other experts have cited inadequate funding of poor schools and the difficulty of recruiting good teachers to work in them. (See

Another challenge to affirmative action in US university admissions – As proof that affirmative action issues related to US college admissions were not over, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has begun investigating the University of Virginia’s admissions policies, and will begin similar proceedings related to, among others, the law program at the College of William and Mary, and the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in Baltimore, writes Peter Schmidt in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The plaintiffs claim that the schools under investigation consider race and ethnicity to such an extent that they violate guidelines coming out of the Supreme Court’s 2003 rulings on the University of Michigan .  (See

Professors paid to express views – If a professor takes money from a company and then argues in the media for a position the company favors, is he an independent expert or a paid shill? Writing in the December 10th Wall Street Journal, Michael Schroeder explores this question – pointing out among other things, that often the financial arrangement between a professor and a company is not disclosed. Some PR firms seek to hire experts who already espouse a certain viewpoint, and may even ghost-write opinion pieces to run in the media then solicit experts to lend their name to the article. Academics who enter into such arrangements argue that there is nothing wrong with working with PR firms or interest groups when the opinions expressed match their views. They argue that newspaper quote or opinion articles can be a good plug for their research and university. Yet the general public is typically unaware of such consulting arrangements. (See

Pros and cons of open, shared research space The Chronicle of Higher Education published a long article by Lila Guterman on the movement to design research labs with open spaces, rather than defined turfs. The advantages are better collaboration, and more efficient use of equipment, say advocates.  Old (turf protection) habits die hard, though, and some of the new open lab space is under-utilized because faculty refuse to move.  There are limits, too, to the size of an open space: some say that 20 – 24 people in one space is about the maximum before giving the impression of chaos and working in a warehouse. This move toward shared space echoes some funding priorities in the US National Science Foundation.  In 1982, about 85% of funds went to individual researchers, while in 2001, that figure had dropped to about 50%.  And the National Institutes of Health in 2003 recommended interdisciplinary research as a backbone of medical research.  While no claims can be made for having achieved a monumental breakthrough in the way science is done, open labs have been conducive to communication and collaboration when researchers want it.   (See

Engineering for Everyone – The cover story in the December ASEE Prism, by Bethany Halford, describes a push on campuses to make all students technically literate. In a technology-driven society, everyone needs to know about engineering, and more and more schools are teaching engineering courses to non-engineers. One landmark pair of courses in this area is that taught for many years at Princeton by David Billington, “Structures and the Urban Environment” and “Engineering and the Modern World”. His lectures are all visual, bombarding the students with images that provide an aesthetic sense of engineering and its overall importance in transforming society. Other schools involve non-engineering students in open-ended design projects, where they often make valuable contributions because they are not constrained by what can not be done with conventional approaches. (See

The secret is out! Students don’t study much Despite the fact that most US students report their grades to be mainly A’s and B’s, only about 11% of them study more than 25 hours per week, according to a recent finding in the National Survey of Student Engagement, writes Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  That 25 hour target is the time that faculty say students should spend in class preparation. About 44% of students spend fewer than 10 hours per week studying. The National Survey also reports that about 25 % of seniors talk with their professors about class materials outside of class, and 60% engage in volunteer work.  Over a quarter of students did not attend an art exhibit or play during the academic year, and only 10% used newspapers and magazines for information on local and national news.  (See

Surfing to campus – A new online search service for college-bound students,, offers to assist prospective students in picking the right college. As described by Sonja Steptoe in the December 20th Time, the service joins a vast array of free and fee-based college-search services available to anxious families during the complex and competitive admissions process. aims to differentiate itself from the pack by tailoring its advice to the candidate’s personality – for a price. (See


5 – Employment

Economist magazine sees benefits of outsourcing The Economist, in the November 13, 2004, issue, presented a detailed study of outsourcing, a topic that has generated a great deal of controversy, enthusiasm and misunderstanding over the past few years.  While admitting that the subject has “. . . inspired[d] more fear about jobs than hope about growth,” the editors claim that the “. . . agents of change are the same as those that brought about the 1990s boom. . . . This survey will try to restore some of the hope.”

“Men and machines” looks at lessons to be learned from the revolution in industry which has long since been successfully navigated by the labor markets around the world, and concludes, “Just as in manufacturing, the solution to the growing complexity of white-collar work is to do less of it in-house.”

“The place to be” describes India ’s dominant position as a destination for outsourced BPO and IT functions, but suggests that its reign is even now threatened by China and Russia .  According to this article, not all graduates of Indian schools are up to the challenges of today’s workplace, and the overall infrastructure of India is in desperate need of improvement in order to sustain its attraction to international companies.

“Faster, cheaper, better” argues that India’s claim to be able to do everything faster, etc., is suspect, given the challenges of competing with more mature companies better positioned to take advantage of the needs for custom-design in IT services.

“Into the unknown” asks “Where will the jobs of the future come from?”  The Economist makes the argument for the deconstruction of job descriptions, and says, for example, that while skills related to the maintenance of business-software packages have migrated overseas, there is a shortage in the US now of people who can custom tailor software and services.  And some jobs will disappear not through outsourcing, but as a result of more sophisticated use of technology at home. 

“Sink or Schwinn” says that while the US receives $1.14 in return for every dollar spent in outsourced work in India , the same is not true for Europe , which is hampered by its social legislation, labor agreements, and general rigidity in employment practices. 

“A world of opportunity” is the final article. The Economist concludes that the ultimate advantage of a truly globalized economy is that it offers opportunities to severely under-developed countries to improve the lives of their citizens.  (See

Preparing engineers for an outsourced world – National Academy of Engineering President William Wulf  provides a Viewpoint in the December issue of Engineering Times, focusing on the offshoring of engineering jobs from the US to places such as India and China . He points out that hard data on the extent of such outsourcing is difficult to obtain, and that firm facts tend to be confounded by the definition of an engineer. He comments on factors that contribute to offshoring, such as decreased production of new engineers in the US , and notes that a protectionist approach is not the appropriate way of solving the nation’s problem of ensuring access to engineering talent. Wulf goes on to express his personal viewpoints, including an observation that the US ’s prosperity, security and health depend on technology created by engineers – so the US needs a vibrant engineering workforce. (See

More visas for foreign workers – Congress is letting employers hire 20,000 more high tech workers under its H-1B visa program, after business reach the previous quota of 65,000 on the first day of the 2005 fiscal year. According to an article in the November 23rd Washington Post, Congress is exempting from the limit 20,000 foreign students with masters or higher degrees from American universities. Industry representatives argued that these graduates represent a critical talent pool that American taxpayers have helped to educate, and that it would be counterproductive to force them abroad to compete against the US . H-1B visas are granted to foreigners in specialty professions such as engineering, architecture, medicine, biotechnology and computer programming. Under the program, employers must pay foreign workers the prevailing wage for their job fields, and show that qualified US workers are not being passed over. (See

Rejecting the next Bill Gates? – There is a growing danger for the United States that needs urgent attention of the State Department, soon to be headed by Condoleezza Rice, according to an article by Fareed Zakaria in the November 29th Newsweek. It is the foreign visa crisis, which has become so cumbersome and bureaucratic that the US is turning down far more applications than ever before. One crucial result is the dramatic decline of foreign students in the US – where the most serious effect is the erosion of American capability in science and technology. The US economy has powered ahead in large part due to the amazing productivity of America ’s science and technology. But the underlying research is now largely done by foreign students. National Science Board statistics show that 38% of doctorate holders in America ’s science and engineering workforce are foreign-born. Foreigners make up more that half of the students currently enrolled in science and engineering programs. These statistics indicate that America ’s scientific edge is largely produced by foreigners and immigrants – who are now having a more difficult time getting into the US due to the visa bottleneck. (See


6 – Journals

IEEE Transactions on Education – The November 2004 issue contains several papers on diverse topics: tools for power electronics education, improving education through teaching about industrial engineering, teaching through games, robotics courses to motivate children, a unique capstone course, etc. (See

 International Journal of Engineering Education – A special issue on Spreadsheet Applications in Engineering Education, with guest editors Chung-yau Lam and Karim Kabalan, is the primary thrust of vol. 20 no. 6, with 14 papers. The issue also contains eight papers on diverse topics, including one entitled “Engineering Education Reform: Signs of Progress”, which focuses on the importance of the inclusion of environmental and sustainable development considerations in the engineering curriculum. (See


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