January 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., with Bethany S. Oberst, Ph.D.


1 - International developments

2 - US developments

3 - Distance education, technology

4 - Students, faculty, education

  5 – Employment

  6 – Journal

  7 – Meetings


1 - International developments

Basic research agency for Europe – Scientists in Europe are pleased with a report calling for the creation of a $2.5-billion a year basic research agency, according to an article in the January 2nd Science by Gretchen Vogel. A group of experts assembled to advise research ministers have thus provided a major push toward a European Research Council. Although national agencies fund basic research, many scientists have complained that a European Union-wide program is needed to complement the E.U.’s $25-billion, 5-year Framework program, which is devoted largely to applied research. The European Commission, the E.U.’s executive branch, is expected to support the proposed new agency, and to call for it to be an independent body run by scientists for scientists. (See

UK struggles how to implement new tuition plans – Early in January the British Labor Government published details about its proposed reform of higher education, and citizens learned about plans for creating a variable tuition system, allowing institutions to charge up to $5450 US per year.  Currently students in England and Wales pay a flat fee of $2050 US per year, with almost half receiving that amount in financial aid.  Laborites in Parliament have proposed an alternative, a $4550 US flat fee at all universities, to be charged upon graduation and attainment of an annual income of $27,300 US.  Aid would be provided the poorest students up to the full amount of tuition, and all fees and loans would be written off after 25 years.  Supporters maintain that this alternative system would stave off creation of a two-tier system, with only Cambridge and Oxford able to impose the maximum fees. University administrators support the government’s proposal, but since opposition to it is widespread across political parties and includes vocal students, this issue may be a testing point for Blair’s government, says Aisha Labi, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Tenure on the horizon at Peking University – Peking University (known as Beida) will this spring likely see approval of a final proposal to revamp its faculty personnel policies, including the creation of a tenure system, reports Jen Lin-Liu for the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In recent decades, many Chinese faculty members work at the university from which they graduated and stay at that institution their entire career, receiving steady wages that hover slightly over the national average for city dwellers.  Now Peking is about to change that, first by banning the hiring of their recent doctoral graduates.  Another regulation would create an “up or out” system familiar to US faculty: until tenure is granted, a person must advance or leave.  In addition, each department will have to form a tenure review committee and include both professors from outside Peking and Beida administrators.  While few academics or administrators at Peking are willing to be quoted on record, academic freedom being absent, there is strong opposition to these changes.  And even one supporter pointed out that these reforms require a change in university culture in order for them to raise the level of academic excellence. (See

Tighter security for visitors –Security measures imposed on travel to the Unites States have sparked different strong reactions around the world, ranging from support to retaliation. According to an article in the January 7th New York Times by Elaine Sciolino et al, the responses frame their views according to their own vulnerability to terrorism. Some see fingerprinting as the only reliable way to track passengers on planes, while others see it as a racist human rights violation which singles out citizens of certain countries. Tight security measures have taken the fun out of flying, and flight cancellations and delays due to terrorism concerns have disrupted travel for many. A Brazilian judge was so furious that he has ordered his country to retaliate by subjecting all Americans to fingerprinting and photographing to enter that country. But countries that also have faced terrorism threats, like France , are supportive of the US measures. Airline experts say that it is crucial to balance security with common sense – making sure that no act of terrorism can occur, but making sure that the flow of aviation commerce is maintained. (See

Canada ’s effort to attract researchers comes under scrutiny – A mid-term score-card on the results of one of Canada ’s major efforts to attract world-class researchers to its universities has revealed a disturbing fact: of the 1000 prestigious and lucrative Canada Research Chairs already distributed, only 17% have gone to women, although 26% of Canada ’s full-time faculty are female.  This fact has created controversy and some change, although the amount of change has yet to be determined.  Karen Birchard of the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote a lengthy analysis of the situation, pointing out the embarrassment felt by university administrators, the resistance of some professors to suggestions that discrimination against women might remain, and the complexities of measuring availability of talent across disciplines and professional areas. The selection of recipients of the CRCs was delegated to individual universities, and in some cases, to individual departments, and the low numbers of women in engineering and science has been played off against the higher number of women in humanities and social sciences in arguments about solutions, for example.  (See

Private R&D in Russia – Russia’s leading oil company, Yukos, has opened the first private R&D center in Russia, in Moscow, according to an article by Vladimir Pokrovsky and Andrey Allakhverdov in the January 9th Science. But the center and the company face an uncertain future, due to the arrest of Yukos business leader, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is charged with tax evasion and fraud. To date, Russian authorities have not sought to meddle with the new center, which will focus on chemistry. The R&D center cost $15-million, of which $5-million was invested in state-of-the-art equipment. Yukos plans to spend about $10-million a year on running and developing the center, which will employ about 200 researchers. Many Russian émigrés are being drawn back to Moscow because of the high quality facilities, and salaries that are competitive with the West’s. The center signals that Russian industry feels a need for scientific research. (See

More foreign S/E doctorates remain in US – An examination of tax records indicates that 71% of foreigners who received doctorates in engineering or science in the US in 1999 were still in the US two years later, according to a study financed by the US National Science Foundation.  This compares with a similar study which previously showed that 49% of these students were still in the US in 1989 after receiving their doctorates in 1987.  According to the study’s author, Michael G. Finn, an economist at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in Tennessee (USA), although there is some concern about brain-drain, many educators and US government officials say that this is good news.  Thomas Bartlett wrote the article for the Chronicle of Higher Education.  ( The complete study is available at  There readers can find additional interesting information, such as the fact that most foreign doctorate recipients come from four countries: China , India , Taiwan and Korea .  Their stay rates vary widely, being 96%, 86%, 40% and 21%, respectively.  Also, the highest stay rates were for computer/electrical and electronic engineering, computer science and the physical sciences, while economics and other social sciences were lowest.  

Church-state strain in France – Europe’s tense relations with its large minority of Muslims have been further strained by a proposed new law to ban religious symbols from public schools, according to an article in the December 18th Wall Street Journal by Charles Fleming. French President Jacques Chirac has called for the law, which explicitly targets Muslim schoolgirls in headscarves. Muslims comprise an estimated 7 or 8% of the French population, and a small but growing number of women in that group have grown assertive about their right to display their religious beliefs by wearing headscarves. The French establishment feels that such displays in schools challenge France ’s strict separation of church and state. Chirac also would ban Jewish skullcaps and large crucifixes from public schools. Muslim leaders have expressed concern that such a law would increase discrimination against Muslims. (See


2 - US developments

New space program trajectory – After months of closed-door debate, President Bush has outlined his plans for the American space program, according to an article in the January 16th Science by Andrew Lawler. Bush plans to send humans to the moon to establish a lunar base that will allow jumping off for eventual human exploration of Mars. He also proposes to retire the space shuttle, and to replace it with a more versatile vehicle capable of achieving those ambitious goals. Bush is expected to ask Congress for an $800-million boost to NASA’s $15.5-billion budget for 2005, with similar annual increases of 5% over the next 5 years. The plan was developed by a group led by the National Security Council, with little input from Congress, industry, or the scientific community. Reactions in Congress are mixed, with one leader commenting that the future of manned space flight must be made in the context of budget realities. (See

State higher ed appropriations fall across the board in US – Michael Arnone of the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that for the first time in eleven years, US state appropriations for higher education fell, according to a survey conducted by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University .  The figures analyzed general fund appropriations and do not include construction.  The 2.1% drop was greatly, but not entirely, influenced by the huge cuts anticipated in California , which accounts for 15% of states’ spending nationwide.  Among the extremes in funding fortunes are Nevada , which increased its higher education budget by over 10% (in anticipation, however, of a large cut two years from now), and Massachusetts , where cuts amounted to 19.3%.  Appropriations for community colleges mimic those for four year institutions, and some states have cut appropriations they previously made to private institutions.  Publicly funded historically black colleges are looking at a slight (1.2%) increase. James C. Palmer, who conducted the survey, warns, however, that all these data are inexact measures for state spending on higher education, given budget revisions, reporting differences, etc. The complete analysis is available on-line at (See

Visa trap for foreign students – Students wanting to travel to the US for study are experiencing long delays in visa processing, according to an article in the January 18th New York Times by Yilu Zhao. One foreign graduate student in engineering at a US university who went to China for a three week visit to his parents got stuck there, as the US government took 11 months to conduct a security check for his return visa to the US .  American consulates started paying special attention to visa applicants with science and technology backgrounds in the summer of 2002, part of the State Department’s post- September 11th response. Visa officers have been provided with a ‘technology alert list’ of 150 concentrations of study, including fields as diverse as nuclear technology, engineering, immunology, community development, and urban planning. Chinese students represent 11% of foreign students in the US , but a recent survey indicates that 57% of student visa delays involve Chinese applicants. Male students from Arab or Muslim countries undergo an additional round of checks for terrorist links. Some 1000 science or technology related visa application cases were more than 3 months old in mid-December. More than a dozen top American research universities have issued advisories to their foreign students against travel outside the US . (See

Governor attempts to overturn ban on race-conscious admissions – Governor Gary Locke of the State of Washington (USA) has proposed to his legislature that the 1998 Initiative 200, banning race-conscious public college admissions, be amended in light of last summer’s Supreme Court ruling, thus permitting colleges and universities to consider race and ethnicity provided they not use quotas or point systems and consider each applicant “holistically.” This article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, written by Peter Schmidt, points out that Locke’s move is expected to draw heavy opposition, since the original ban was supported by 58% of the voters. Since the ban, minority enrollments at the University of Washington have dropped, then recovered to nearly the previous levels. (See

School funding pulled from NSF budget – President Bush’s 2005 budget request is expected to phase out the National Science Foundation’s largest program to improve student achievement in science and math and shift the responsibility to the Department of Education, according to an article by Jeffrey Mervis in the January 16th Science. The change would replace a national competition based on peer review with a congressionally mandated formula to distribute money to every state based on the size of its student population. The total budget for math and science education programs, currently $290-million between NSF and Department of Education budgets, would not change. NSF would receive enough funding to finish up the 52 projects already underway.  The phaseout of the NSF program would be a blow to university researchers who use the funds to support programs in local school districts to train teachers, improve curricula, and devise better ways to measure student progress in science and math. Apparently the shift is being made because White House officials felt that the NSF programs were too close to its previous systematic initiative and not specific to the President’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ program. (See

US higher ed budget contains few surprises – The US Congress passed its budget for 2004, four months after the beginning of the 2004 fiscal year.  The National Science Foundation budget was increased 6%, meaning that the agency will not see its budget doubled as Congress had previously set as its target.  The National Institutes of Health’s budget was doubled between 1998 and 2003, but the rate fell this year, with only a 3.7% increase.  Pell Grants, an essential tool for university access, were held constant, meaning that with rising tuition costs, more students could find going to college out of their reach.  This article in the Chronicle of Higher Education was written by Jeffrey Brainard and Jeffrey Selingo.  (See

NSF advised to create long-term plan for capital projects – At the request of six US senators, the National Academies conducted a study of how the National Science Foundation handles the building of large research facilities, and concluded that the National Science Board should tighten its procedures and increase accountability.  The impetus for the report was the fact that there exists a backlog of approved projects which did not appear in the NSF’s budget request to Congress.  The report recommends that the agency rank each project according to its priority for funding and then construct a 10 – 20 year plan which would drive budget requests.  NSF’s initial response to the report was positive, according to Alyson Klein, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Engineers Week going global – National Engineers Week 2004 (February 22-28) will be celebrating the international engineering community and recognizing the globalization of the engineering profession, according to a note in the January Engineering Times. The 2004 program will showcase rising young stars of engineering in the US and from around the world, as a way of encouraging high school students to consider engineering careers. It will also establish a global dialogue with a new web-based communication and discussion vehicle for engineering students, young professionals, and business leaders, aimed at keeping undergraduates interested in engineering. The 2004 eWeek is co-chaired by IEEE and the Fluor Corporation. (See

Governor proposes giving private colleges access to public funds US governor George E. Pataki of New York has proposed that his state join Maryland and New Jersey in permitting private colleges to compete for public funding for capital projects, writes Sara Hebel for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The private institutions had argued that they educate significant numbers of lower-income students and generate over 40-billion US$ each year in economic activity.  Under the plan, a private institution would have to provide three dollars of their own money to match every one dollar received from the state. While representatives from the State University (SUNY) have not commented on the proposal, a spokesperson for the City University ’s Faculty Senate (CUNY) objected to spending money at private colleges when so many unmet needs exist at the public institutions.  (See


3 - Distance education, technology

Bridging the digital divide – The UN Summit on the Information Society convened in December aimed at democratizing the digital world, according to coverage in the February 2004 World Press Review. While 174 countries pledged universal Internet access by 2015, they must still grapple with financing the technology and ensuring the free flow of information. A series of quotes from article from France , Germany , Switzerland , and India describe the situation. The Summit brought together governments, industry and citizens to develop a plan of action, but torn by conflicts of interest and deep divisions, they found agreement elusive. One major point of conflict was the idea of a Digital Solidarity Fund to aid in the financing of communication infrastructures in developing countries. Another stumbling block was human rights – the degree to which governments would guarantee each person’s right to generate information as well as receive it. A third major issue was e-governance, the regulation and control of information and communication networks. Illustrative of problems faced is Africa where only one in every 700 people has Internet access (compared with one in 4 in Europe ). Problems limiting access include a limited number of computers capable of connecting to the Internet, high costs of telephone connections and Internet access, limited wired telephone connections, and lack of electricity and frequent blackouts. (See

Computer security top priority in lean budgets In the annual report of the Campus Computing Project, readers learn that in the face of still declining resources, US colleges will give priority to computer security rather than new systems and e-learning.  Andrea Foster, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, points to a three year pattern of escalating plans for deferring upgrades to existing computing systems, especially among public institutions.  At the same time, colleges are spending on security in reaction to both federal mandates on securing financial and medical data, and to increasing concerns about viruses, identity theft and the potential vulnerability of wireless networks. (See

Web phone service debate – Proponents of Internet-based telephone service in the US want federal and state governments to let it blossom, free from regulation, taxes and surcharges, according to an article by Matt Ritchel in the January 5th New York Times. But there is a nagging concern; Internet-based phone service travels over traditional telephone or cable lines, so it will only work if the conventional phone network is intact. A key public policy question is thus raised: If the government does not continue to play a role in ensuring that the telephone network is reliable and universally available, does the US risk losing a vital asset? Proponent of little regulation argues that market competition would protect consumers. Industry leaders estimate that savings of 25 to 30% are possible, due to the underlying architecture of the Internet as compared to conventional telephone service and savings in access fees, taxes and surcharges. But critics point out that those current charges provide services such as 911 and low cost access for the poor and elderly. (See

Grid computing given a boost in southeast US – AT&T has signed an agreement, brokered by SURA (US-based Southeastern Universities Research Association) with research institutions to provide them access to a new high-speed fiber-optics network.  The network, not yet operational, will help primarily researchers who rely on grid computing, where super-computers located on different campuses are connected to greatly increase speed in crunching huge data sets.  The institutions have agreed to work with AT&T for ten years. They will pool their resources to complete the network, and once it is functioning, to provide maintenance.  AT&T, in return for offering discounted rates, will have access to both problems and innovations stemming from the institutions’ use of the system, and then is expected to make commercial use of that knowledge.  Scott Carlson reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

2004 technology review – The January 2004 IEEE Spectrum cover story is its annual review of technology – winners, losers, and holy grails. Technologies analyzed include a telecommunications backbone for government, a global network of airborne probes to monitor the atmosphere, fiber to the home, a hybrid van that converts to an electric vehicle, self-sustaining thermonuclear fusion, ultraviolet semiconductor lasers for next-generation DVDs, electron projection lithography, superconductors applied to ship propulsion motors, hypersonic passenger flight, a system that can analyze the anarchy of online data to identify valuable information, genomics to yield drugs tailored to individuals, etc. (See

Open-source project challenges commercial course-management packages  Blackboard and WebCT, the two largest providers of course-management systems in the US , may be significantly threatened by the Sakai Project.  Stanford, MIT, the University of Michigan and the Indiana University system, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will collaborate to create open-source courseware in a project named after a Japanese chef.  The project will rely on uPortal and the Open Knowledge Initiative for access to and support of its new software.  Blackboard, which currently dominates the course-management software market in the US , has expressed interest in partnering with Sakai , although rumor also has it that the organization is about to go public.  Skeptics raise the issue of service and support, which in their eyes, are a weakness in the open-source environment.  This report was written by Andrea Foster for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Technology giants unite to deter file sharing – The technology and entertainment industries have long been at odds over the best way to secure intellectual property rights as digital technology advances. Now, according to an article by John Markoff in the January 5th New York Times, a new consortium of technology companies is trying to convince Hollywood that it finally has found an acceptable way to protect the digital content of music CDs, movie DVDs, and hand held devices wirelessly connected to the Internet. The consortium is made up of Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Toshiba and Matshushita. This new consortium is competing with other copy protection systems being advanced by Sony and Royal Philips Electronics, Apple Computer, RealNetworks, and Microsoft. The interest in new copy protection approaches has been spurred by Apple’s successful iTunes music store. (See

Mars rover falls silent – After enjoying a few weeks of dazzling success, the Martian rover Spirit fell largely silent on January 21, causing engineers at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to scramble to find the cause and correct it.  At the same time, NASA was awaiting the landing of a second Mars rover, Opportunity .  This update was written by Richard Monastersky for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

4 - Students, faculty, education  

Colleges cut back minority programs – Although the Supreme Court’s rulings on racial preferences in University of Michigan admissions last June were widely interpreted as a victory for affirmative action, the impact now looks considerably more ambiguous. In an article in the December 30th Wall Street Journal, Daniel Golden writes that although the decisions allowed colleges to preserve the ability to consider race in choosing students, many schools have felt obliged to change how they factor race into other big academic decisions – like awarding minority-only scholarships. While the Court struck down a point scale for admitting undergraduates, giving an automatic boost to blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, it did not mention scholarships in its decision. But because financial aid is so closely linked to admissions, many schools fear that race-conscious scholarships and other programs would be interpreted by lower courts as being impermissible. Already the Court’s decisions have accelerated conservative legal activists’ challenges of minority scholarships. So schools including Williams College, Indiana University, Carnegie Mellon University and others have opened minority scholarships to all races. Meanwhile, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating complaints about race-exclusive programs at several public and private universities. (See

Raising girls to succeed in engineering – Hands on learning is one key to getting girls hooked on science and engineering, according to the results of a recent project funded by NSF. A book entitled “New Formulas for America ’s Workforce: Girls in Science and Engineering” is described in the January 6th Washington Post by Pat McNee – who wrote the book. The book summarizes what investigators on 224 projects have learned about how to get more girls and women to study for careers in science, technology and engineering. Some suggested guidelines are: help girls get past the ‘yuck’ factor, being afraid to get messy; let girls make big, interesting mistakes, to embrace their curiosity and develop their own judgment; and assume that girls are interested in math and science, and get them involved in their study and applications. The book can be read online at or ordered free (order number NSF 03-207) at For the article, see

Early admission changes – Some top universities have changed their policies on early admission, resulting in acceptance rate shifts. According to an article in the January 20th Wall Street Journal by Anne Marie Chaker, Yale and Stanford have relaxed their ‘early decision rule’ which required students to attend if accepted – while Harvard went in the opposite direction, adopting stricter rules for applying early. Harvard now requires that students submit only one early admission application rather than letting them apply to other schools as well. The ramifications of these changes are now being seen, in the first round since they were made. Harvard has seen its pool of early applicants for the fall shrink by 49%. Yale and Stanford, on the other hand, received many more early applications this year, up 55% and 60% respectively. (See  

New center for corporate ethics announced – The Business Roundtable (USA) recently announced plans to establish an ethics institute housed at the University of Virginia ’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.  Other institutions such as Harvard , Texas at Austin , Minnesota - Twin Cities and the University of Michigan will join with the 150 CEO members of the Roundtable in the activities of the new Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics.  The agenda will be to create courses, conduct research and offer executive seminars on ethics.  The Institute will also serve as a center for ideas on how best to teach ethics to both students and business leaders.  R. Edward Freeman, a leader in ethics who is a professor at the Darden School , will serve as academic director, according to Katherine S. Mangan, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Research at America ’s Black Colleges – Writing in the December 13th US Black Engineer Magazine, Lango Deen spotlights some of the research work being conducted at historically Black colleges. Examples of current research projects at Morgan State University (nanotech and biotechnology), Florida A&M University (automated systems), North Carolina A&T State University (novel engineered materials), Hampton University (aero propulsion), Tuskegee University (small satellites), Prairie View University (communications systems) and Tennessee State University (biomedical engineering) are described. (See    

Study shows women still under-represented in S/E at top institutions – A study funded by the Ford and Guggenheim Foundations has revealed that women are still greatly under-represented in the faculties of the top US research institutions, according to Robin Wilson writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The study looked at fourteen disciplines, including chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering and computer science, as well as biological sciences and psychology.  Even in disciplines such as psychology, where women earned two-thirds of the doctorates from 1993 to 2002, fewer than half of the assistant professors at those institutions in 2002 were female. The proportion of female full professors in engineering, science and math at the top research institutions did not exceed 15% in any case. The study was conducted by Donna J. Nelson, a chemist at the University of Oklahoma at Norman .  (See  

Better teaching tools – Funded by a $10-million NSF grant, a study headed by the University of Washington is exploring how engineering students think and learn, according to an article in the January 2004 Engineering Times. The study will track 40 engineering students at five schools through the four year educational system to determine what classroom practices can be improved, and how to apply those improvements. At two of the schools, an additional group of students will be monitored from their junior year through graduation, and on through their transition into the workforce. Partner schools include Colorado School of Mines, Howard University , Stanford University , and the University of Minnesota . (See

Licensure requirement changes recommended – A task force of the US National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is recommending sweeping changes in the education, experience, and examination requirements for engineering licensure, according to an article in the December 2003 ASCE News. Major recommendations are for more rigorous educational requirements for licensure, the creation of a new licensure tier, and establishment of a licensure exam covering non-technical professional practice areas.  Issues that led to the creation of the task force were concerns for changes in engineering education such as the reduction of core subjects and increased specialization, the low number of graduate engineers who become licensed, and more specialization within the profession. Report of the Engineering Licensure Qualifications Task Force can be read at  . Or see the article at


 5 – Employment

Offshore jobs in technology – There is a wholesale flight of US technology jobs like computer programming and technical support to lower cost nations like India, according to an article by Steve Lohr in the December 22nd New York Times. A report by Forrester Research in November 2002 predicted that 3.3-million services jobs in America would move offshore by 2015, with the information technology industry leading the initial overseas exodus. The overseas challenge comes from linking strong education systems like China , India and Russia to the global economy via the Internet, driven by substantial salary savings. But analysts say that actual cost savings are not proportional to salary, due to the requirement for face-to-face meetings to accomplish complex projects, the costs of communication, and reduced effectiveness caused by cultural differences. Some offshore work has returned to the US after customer complaints. However many feel that the trend to offshore outsourcing of technology jobs is real, irreversible, and another step in the globalization of the American economy. One industry leader says that “to be competitive and to maintain and improve American living standards, we have to move up the technology food chain.” (See

Putting it into perspective – Globalization has hit the US engineering workforce hard, according to an article in the January 2004 ASEE Prism by Dan McGraw, but the nation’s strongest assets – innovation and creativity – should help it keep its competitive edge. Instead of qualified people seeking work wherever work is available, work is seeking qualified people wherever they are, according to the author. But he states that the lesson we need to take is that innovation has made the US great, and that since it is still the best at fostering creativity and innovation the country will continue to be strong. (See

Peter Drucker on jobs – The famed 94 year old management guru, Peter Drucker, says that most people are thinking all wrong about jobs, debt, globalization and recession, according to an article in the January 12th Fortune. Drucker states that the economic dominance of the US is already over, and that a world economy is emerging. But the US economy remains strong; even as it exports low skill, low paying jobs it imports high skill, high paying jobs. He observes that the industries that are moving jobs out of the US are the more backward industries, and that the US remains the cheapest place in the world to produce for many of the advanced industries. Drucker attributes part of the success of the US to its continuing education system, which makes it easy for younger people to move from one area of work to another readily. In evaluating developments abroad, Drucker finds India to be a rapidly developing powerhouse, while he sees China as lagging substantially behind in economic development. (See

Job losses slow in Silicon Valley – A study by a nonprofit organization indicates that while Silicon Valley is still losing jobs, the rate of loss is slowing, according to an article by Laurie Flynn in the January 19th New York Times. According to the most recent data available, Silicon Valley lost jobs from the second quarter of 2002 through the second quarter of 2003 at only half the rate – 5 percent – of the year-earlier period. The region has lost 202,000 jobs from the peak of employment in 2001, when the workforce was 1.38 million. It is anticipated that the biomedical industry will play a bigger role than in the past when and if job growth returns. (See

Nice work if you can get it – Writing in the December 26th Wall Street Journal, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich analyzes the job situation in the US and in the rest of the world. He states that factory jobs are disappearing all over the world, due to factory automation and productivity improvements, so losses in the US are not unique. And he says that we should not blame poor nations with low salaries for taking US jobs, because they can only become prosperous by exporting to rich nations. Helping poor nations become more prosperous is not only in the interest of humanity, but also politically wise because it lessens global instability. Reich identifies two growth areas for jobs in the US : symbolic analysis (R&D, design, engineering, etc.) and personal services (restaurant workers, cabbies, retail workers, security guards, hospital attendants, etc.). He states that the former will command good pay and benefits, while the pay of the latter will decline as the ranks of such workers swell with displaced factory workers and immigrants. To get more Americans into the symbolic analyst’s ranks, he states that more must get good educations, including access to college. (See


6 - Journal

Journal of Engineering Education – The January 2004 issue of this ASEE publication includes nine papers, including two which look at the record of the journal itself after ten years of publication. Other papers describe a longitudinal study of an integrated engineering curriculum, curricular change models within the Foundation Coalition, interdisciplinary group learning, multimedia effectiveness in education, assessment of engineering education, FE exam results, and an engineering concepts and communication course sequence. (See


7 – Meetings

Electronic conference calls for papers - An electronic conference is planned to be held in conjunction with the 3rd ASEE International Colloquium on Engineering Education which will take place at Tsinghua University in Beijing , China , September 7-10, 2004 .  Abstracts for the e-conference will be accepted until March 1, 2004 .  Notification of acceptance will be announced on April 1, 2004 , and papers are due by June 1, 2004 .  All papers will be available on the WWW from June 15 - August 15, 2004 .  Please submit abstracts to .  Abstracts must be in English and 500 words or less.  For questions, please contact Dr. Gerry Johnson at .

ExcEEd Teaching Workshop – A six day workshop for engineering faculty will be presented at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville from 11-16 July 2004, and at the US Military Academy from 25-30 July 2004. The workshop is a practicum that provides engineering educators with an opportunity to improve their teaching abilities. Information and applications are available at Application deadline is February 13th.


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