January 2005

Copyright © 2005 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

7 -- Meetings


1 - International developments

Help offered to students caught in backlash of tsunami – The Institute of International Education and the Freeman Foundation (USA) are offering up to $5000 in assistance to students who might not be able to continue their studies in the US due to the destruction of the recent tsunami, writes Kellie Bartlett in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Students from Indonesia , Malaysia and Thailand who were enrolled in an associates or bachelors degree program in an American university in December 2004, and who have an immediate need for assistance may be nominated by their institutions.  The deadline is February 1, and each institution may nominate up to four students. A second round may follow later.  (See

Thai university organizes tsunami relief project Thammasat University in Bangkok was far from the destruction of the December 2004 tsunami, but it organized two major efforts to help in the aftermath.  Immediately after the wave struck, it opened a relief center where it provided shelter to people, mainly tourists, evacuated from the coast.  The university also has mobilized 500 students who want to help out, and was planning to send them to the coast for one week to work in reconstruction, writes Jen Lin-Liu in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Scientists seek clues to disaster prevention – Having claimed more than 150,000 lives and destroyed billions of dollars of property in the Indian Ocean Tsunami, nature has reminded the world of the cost of ignorance. Now, according to an article by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee in the January 7th Science, the nations devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami are hoping to marshal the political and scientific will to reduce the toll from the next natural disaster. Researchers are gearing up for an international data-collection effort in the affected countries, aimed at improving models of how tsunamis form and setting up a warning system in the Indian Ocean. Scientists are traveling to the ravaged coasts to survey how far inland the water ran up at various points along the shorelines, how tall the waves were, and how fast they hit. Such data will enable researchers to test computer models that simulate the propagation of tsunami waves and the pattern of flooding when they break upon the shore. (See

Clamor grows for global network of ocean sensors – An oft-ignored plea to the US government to improve a federally funded tsunami warning system is falling on more receptive ears in the wake of the tragedy in South Asia, according to an article by Eli Kintisch in the January 14th Science. Scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which runs a six-buoy network of pressure sensors in the Pacific Ocean , have seen previous efforts to expand the network rejected on fiscal grounds. The current network can detect tsunamis as small as one centimeter, relaying data instantly via satellite from buoys to tsunami warning centers. NOAA scientists believe that about 20 detectors could provide adequate coverage for coastal warnings around the Pacific, and that 50 would provide the basis for a global system. (See

Lesson in how not to rebuild – El Salvador is a lesson in how not to rebuild after a natural disaster, according to an article in the January 19th Wall Street Journal by Alex Frangos. Four years ago a pair of powerful earthquakes crumbled whole villages on small brick homes, and millions of dollars of foreign aid have poured in to help rebuild. The result is more than 25,000 homes, 53 schools, and dozens of clinics and other facilities. But in some cases the design and construction of the new buildings are flawed, making them potentially dangerous in the event of another disaster in the earthquake-prone region. In some homes, the ceilings are improperly attached to the walls, and in others concrete blocks are too small and the reinforcing metal rods used to add strength are too thin. US government officials involved in overseeing the reconstruction say the new buildings meet Salvadoran codes for earthquake resistance and are far better than what was there before. (See

Low enrollment of low-income students in the UK – There is a growing debate in the UK over the government’s efforts to increase the number of low-income students in higher education.  In particular, poorer students are less likely to be found at the most elite institutions than they were before.  Exacerbating the problem is the new freedom given to UK institutions to radically increase their fees, although each university is required to submit plans to show how they will guarantee equal access to underrepresented populations before they are given permission to charge more.  Studies indicate that another aspect of the problem is the low expectations of some students, who have the qualifications to be admitted into excellent universities but never apply, writes Aisha Labi in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

US slips in attracting the world’s best students – American universities, which for half a century have attracted the world’s best and brightest students with little effort, are suddenly facing intense competition as higher education undergoes rapid globalization, according to an article by Sam Dillon in the December 21st New York Times. The European Union, moving methodically to compete with American universities, is streamlining the continent’s higher education system and offering American-style degree programs taught in English. Britain , Australia , and New Zealand are aggressively recruiting foreign students, as are Asian centers like Taiwan and Hong Kong . And China is persuading Chinese scholars to return home from American universities. Foreign applications to American graduate schools declined 28% this year, with actual foreign enrollments down 6%. Some of the decline is due to visa problems in the post 9/11 era, but it remains unclear whether the drop in foreign enrollments is a one-time drop or the beginning of a long slide. During 2002, some 586,000 foreign students were enrolled in US universities, compared with 270,000 in second place Britain and 227,000 in third place Germany . Foreign students contribute $13-billion to the American economy annually. (See

Algerian academic and political figure released on bail in New Zealand – An Algerian academic and political activist has been released on bail after two years of detention in New Zealand .  He had been labeled a "national security threat" according to David Cohen writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  In addition to his academic post in religious studies at the University of Algiers , Ahmed Zaoui had also been a political candidate with the conservative Islamic Salvation Front. That party, close to being elected, was suppressed by the government with the help of the army, leading to a decade of bloodshed in the country.  The court in New Zealand declared that he could no longer be detained without charges because there was insufficient evidence.  Mr. Zaoui has already received several offers to lecture at academic institutions.  (See

Japanese junior faculty get name change – By tradition and law, Japanese academic departments are broken up into chairs, in which a full professor oversees one or two assistant professors as well as lecturers and research associates. According to an article by Hiromi Yokoyama in the December 17th Science, change is coming in that system due to a recommendation from a Ministry of Education advisory committee. Assistant professors would become associate professors with the same educational and research duties as professors, but at a lower rank. Lecturers and research associates would also receive greater independence. The committee is soliciting comments, and hopes to finalize its recommendations next spring – to go into effect in 2006 or 2007. (See 

Student deferrals revoked by Russian government – The Russian government has suddenly called for an immediate end to all military deferrals, including those granted to university students, writes Bryon MacWilliams for The Chronicle of Higher Education. This has resulted in students being dragged from their dormitories and put into the army, where they face violence and deprivation in the service of their country.  (See

European accreditation report – The EURopean ACredited Engineer project (EUR-ACE) has completed its first stage and has made public the first version of tentative “EUR-ACE Standards and Procedures for the Accreditation of Engineering Programmes”. The aim of this effort is to increase transparency and comparability in European engineering education in the context of the Bologna process, and to promote Europe-wide and global recognition of engineering degrees. For countries currently without accreditation procedures, the system will provide guidelines for establishment of an appropriate one. For countries with existing national procedures (e.g., France , UK , …) the system is intended to provide a common reference framework. Comments on the current draft are sought by the end of February, with a revision scheduled for March. (See

Settlement reached in Albanian university strike – A faculty strike which began at the Polytechnic University of Tirana, Albania, and then spread across other higher education institutions in the country, has ended with promises of higher pay for faculty and more autonomy and money for the universities.  Both severe brain-drain and the pressures to conform to the Bologna Process of educational reform have placed faculty under pressure in recent years, according to the article written by Aisha Labi in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Arab entrepreneur promotes student involvement – Entrepreneurship in the Gulf region was given a boost when the Higher Colleges of Technology in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates , hosted a “Young Entrepreneurs Conference” featuring Mohammed Al Fahim, a successful local businessman who started out with a plan to run the first bus service in Abu Dhabi years ago.  He risked failure, but ultimately succeeded, and now enjoys being a sparkplug, encouraging students to pay particular attention to the service industry, where there are great needs which can be profitably met by energetic and ingenious people.  This report came from the Khaleej Times, January 6, 2005 , and was written by Sushil Kutty. (See

Books and lab equipment arrive in Baghdad – UNESCO and the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq have succeeded in obtaining $5.5 million in textbooks and lab equipment and sending it to Iraq to help rebuild its universities.  These items are their highest priorities, according to Iraqi educators.  Of that money, $4.6 million is the value of equipment donated for programs in engineering, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy.  The broader plan also includes sending Iraqi students abroad to study, offering workshops for administrators and sending faculty overseas to update their skills, writes Katherine Zoepf in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Japanese budget accelerates competitive grants – The budget recently adopted by the cabinet of the Japanese Prime Minister features a 2.6% boost for the direct funding of research, far outpacing the 0.1% rise in overall government spending. According to an article by Dennis Normile in the January 7th Science, the budget also implements a concerted effort to wean university scientists off a system of small but universal block grants and onto one that rewards the best ideas, with a 30% rise in funding for competitive grants. Universities will also feel the bite of increased competition. They will have to become more dependent for their operating expenses on overhead charges on grants to their faculty members, instead of direct government funding to support operating expenses. (See


2 - US developments

US R&D outlays to rise in 2005 – A sharp rise in federal spending on military systems is expected to drive total funding for research and development in the US up 3.6%, to $312-billion, in 2005. According to an article by Antonio Regalado in the January 7th Wall Street Journal , US industrial outlays are expected to remain essentially flat, however, for the fifth consecutive year. Companies plan to increase R&D spending on new products and services by just 2% to $191-billion for 2005, a figure that falls short of the predicted rates of inflation. Increasingly, US dollars are being spent overseas in research centers in China and India . The mixed outlook for innovation comes at a time of heightened anxiety over America ’s technical pre-eminence. (See  

US higher ed improvement fund vs. pork: FIPSE 0, Pork 1 – 89% of the $163.6 million budget of the US Department of Education’s annual grant program known as FIPSE, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, has already been spoken for in the form of congressionally mandated, non-competitive projects, reports Kelly Field in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  As a result, the remaining funds must be spent for existing grants, and no new applications will be considered.  FIPSE, despite a relatively small budget, has been an important source of support for projects that have resulted in significant changes in higher learning, including the first research into student assessment and learning communities.  Defenders of the “pork” say that members of Congress have a better understanding of what is needed by their constituents than the Washington-based FIPSE staff.  Earmarked projects in the FIPSE budget stood at two in 1998, but have risen each year until now there are 419 of them, funded at levels as high as $5 million.  (See

Engineers Week 2005 – The annual observance of Engineers Week, February 20-26 this year, will focus on international aspects, according to an article in the January issue of Engineering Times. Materials from the “ZOOM into Engineering” effort, developed in collaboration with the PBS television show “ZOOM”, are being translated into Arabic, French, Hindi, Malayalam, and Russian on the EWeek web site, to facilitate its international thrust. One feature of this year’s EWeek will be highlighting of Engineers Without Borders – USA , a non-profit humanitarian organization which delivers environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects to communities worldwide to improve their quality of life. Another feature will be “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day”, scheduled for Thursday, February 24th. The sponsors of this year’s EWeek are the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and BP. For more information about EWeek, go to (See

NSF audits point to need for increased monitoring, accountability – The National Science Foundation (USA) received two audits of its operations, both containing some criticisms.  The first report, an outside audit conducted by KPMG, stated that the agency should better monitor the institutions that receive money, especially those whose past performance puts them at high risk of mismanagement.  The second, an internal audit conducted by NSF's inspector general, said that the foundation is still not able to insure that principal investigators file annual and final reports of funded projects on time, and that some researchers have received additional grants even when in default on their obligations under previous grants.  In fact, over the past five years, 47% of the required reports have not been filed on time or have not been filed at all.  The internal audit recommended tighter controls, writes Kelly Field in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

US Treasury Dept loosens regulations on foreign publications – Scholars, researchers and other have been following closely the US Treasury Department in its attempts to restrict publication of materials from Cuba , Iran and Sudan .  Using regulations designed to enforce trade sanctions against these countries, officials from the Treasury Department issued several warnings early in 2004 that fines could be levied against anyone who even edited a manuscript coming from a writer from those countries.  Now, under a special license, those threats have disappeared, writes Edward Wyatt in the December 16, 2004 on-line issue of The New York Times. Greater latitude is given for scholarly activities related to publishing, although US scholars are still forbidden from working with government officials in these countries, even in publication-related activities.  (See 

New model for funding tech transfer – Some US universities have created new models to aid in technology transfer.  Auburn University , writes Goldie Blumenstyk in The Chronicle of Higher Education, is one example.  Auburn ’s Aetos Technologies, Inc., is a company funded by alums and outside investors who are willing to put their money into taking Auburn ’s ideas and turning them into products. So far about 200 investors have put up $4 million, with the prospect of considerable gain if the company is successful.  The Medical College of Wisconsin uses a variation of the Auburn model.  Investors have pledged $2 million over five years, but the most they can expect to gain from their investment is a return of the principal plus 8%.  An integral part of both of these models is that investors have no insider’s claims on the inventions coming out of the schools.  So far, results have been modest but good and with good prospects for generating future income for the universities. (See

Harvard president upsets women – Harvard University President Laurence Summers has provoked a new storm of controversy by suggesting that the shortage of elite women scientists may stem in part from “innate” differences between women and men, according to an article by Michael Dobbs in the January 19th Washington Post. At a meeting on the progress of women in academia, Summers laid out a series of possible explanations for the underrepresentation of women in the upper echelons of professional life, including upbringing, genetics and time spent in child-rearing. Some women who attended the meeting said they felt that Summers was implicitly endorsing the notion that there are genetic differences that inhibit girls from excelling in math and science. In an interview after the conference, Summers said that some critics had erroneously interpreted his remarks as suggesting that women can’t do science. (See

NIH plan for open access undergoes changes – In the latest development involving the proposal by the US National Institutes of Health to make available the results of research it has funded, the NIH announced compromises on two important issues.  The first compromise would call for a six month lag between the publication of papers written on NIH funded research and the posting of those papers in an online archive for free public access.  The second compromise is the statement that researchers would not be forced to release their papers to the online archive.  Richard K. Johnson from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition praises these compromises.  Other interested parties scoff at the suggestion that any researcher would be willing to jeopardize future NIH funding by refusing to release their writings.  Possibly in response to the NIH project, twenty publishers and three patient groups have agreed to create patientInform, a project to translate into layperson's terms significant articles on diabetes, cancer and heart disease and make them available online.  This article was written by Lila Guterman of The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See


3 - Distance education, technology

Whiskers threaten electronic devices – Engineers are racing to avert what could become a plague of short circuits in electrical and electronic devices, according to an article in the January 10th Fortune by Ivan Amato. A group of theorists at the University of Maryland estimate that tin whiskers have caused losses of billions of dollars to date – including the loss of the Galaxy 4 communications satellite in 1998, which shut down 40-million pagers, and interrupted ATM and credit card transactions. And the problem could get worse, as the march of miniaturization means that even smaller metal whiskers can short out the ever smaller distances between electronic surfaces. The problem has been exacerbated by the move to get lead out of electronic products, to reduce human exposure -- but lead inhibits the growth of tin whiskers. Industry is seeking effective lead-free solutions, but clear winning approaches have yet to result. (See 

Google plans to digitize major library holdings – Google announced recently that it had signed contracts with distinguished libraries such as Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford University to digitized millions of books and make them searchable through their popular search engine.  Despite the impressive size of the project, only a portion of the entire holdings of these libraries will be digitized initially: there are some fears that the process might result in damage to the books.  In addition, copyright issues have not yet all been resolved.  The project is expected to be a boon to scholars and students, and to result in increased library use and book purchases.  Skeptics fear that the Google approach to searching may dumb-down the process, and that the profit motive will eventually find its way into the enterprise, write Scott Carlson and Jeffrey R. Young in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Costs for computer security rise on US campuses – Georgia State University’s computers are attacked over five million times each week, according to officials.  With numbers such as these, it is not surprising that each year larger percentages of information technology budgets at US colleges and universities are being spent on computer security.  Strategies include hiring an information security officer, installing firewalls, holding security awareness workshops, and developing formal security plans. With so many processes being run by computers, writes Andrea L. Foster in The Chronicle of Higher Education, there is too much at stake for colleges and universities to be lax in addressing the dangers of IT attacks.  (See

Frosh scoops Jobs In late December a Harvard freshman announced to the world that Apple Computer was about to release a $499 Mac, thus scooping the company which had scheduled the big announcement for January.  Apple has sued; the student claims he doesn't have the money to defend himself; and, according to Jeffrey R. Young, reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, a spokesperson for Apple was not available to comment.  Apple's claim is that the student, Nicholas M. Ciarelli, used illegal means to extract information from employees. (See

"Google Scholar" riles chemists – Google’s creation of a service it calls “Google Scholar” has caused the American Chemical Society to sue it, writes Jeffrey R. Young in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The society claims that the term violates its “common law” trademark on the term scholar, because its Scifinder Scholar is frequently referred to as simply “scholar.” The Google service, which is free, permits users to conduct full text searches of various scholarly materials, although some materials might require payment of fees.  The ACS tool permits searching of scientific journals, patents and more.  It charges users, mostly college and universities, significant fees to subscribe.  (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

US gets tough on student loan repayments – Years after a political outcry over high levels of student-loan defaults, the US Department of Education has become one of the toughest debt collectors around. According to an article in the January 6th Wall Street Journal by John Hechinger, the Department has developed a steadily increasing arsenal to wield against former students who will not repay. For example, a 1998 change in federal law made it extremely difficult for people to escape student loans through personal bankruptcy. The Education Department can also now seize parts of borrower’s paychecks, tax refunds and Social Security payments without a court order. It has access to government data bases on employment, can now use private collection companies, and there is no statute of limitations on student loans. (See   

Report ranking grad programs delayed – The National Research Council (USA) has delayed the publication of its well-known ranking of graduate programs until 2008 due to lack of funds, reports John Gravois in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

High tech visas fund NSF scholarships – A popular federal scholarship program for low-income and disadvantaged undergraduates has been extended, thanks to reforms in the process that allows foreign workers to hold high-tech jobs in the US .  According to an article in the December 10th Science by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, a provision in the recently passed omnibus spending bill for 2005 has extended the authority for the National Science Foundation to collect fees on H1-B visas, and increases the fee from $1000 to $1500. The legislation also increases NSF’s share of the fee from 22% to 30%, and raises the overall cap on H1-B visas from 65,000 to 85,000. (See

2003 US engineering doctorates: male, white, foreign, married – A study of doctoral degrees awarded by US universities shows that new engineering doctorates completed their studies relatively quickly, 74% of them earned their undergraduate degree in engineering, they are overwhelmingly male, and over half of them come from outside of the US .  Of US citizens who completed the Ph.D. in engineering, 78% were white. Over half of the recipients were married, and 61% planned to work rather than continue studies in some form.  More of the new engineering doctorates who planned to work were choosing industry over the academic life, and only 1.1% were going to work for a nonprofit organization. These are findings from the recent “Survey of Earned Degrees,” which can be accessed on the internet at  Other interesting facts in the survey, according to John Gravois writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, are that the number of degrees earned by members of American minority groups rose to 19%.  Only 17% of the total engineering doctorates went to women, however.  Undergraduate programs at the University of California at Berkeley produced the highest number of all Ph.D. recipients, but second on the list is Seoul National University of South Korea , beating out the University of Michigan .  (See

Retention in engineering education – The cover story in the January ASEE Prism, by Margaret Loftus, recognizes that retention is a big issue in engineering education and points out that more schools are developing programs to keep students from dropping out. Engineering students are reported to look around and see non-engineering students not working hard, and asking them selves “Why an I killing myself for this?” Schools that are directly addressing the retention issue find that students learn better and are retained at higher rates if they are part of an academic community – perhaps studying together, having peer mentors, or living together. Some schools have developed programs to ease the high school to college transition, or provide professional counseling. A nurturing atmosphere that has open-door access to faculty members in another effective approach. (See 

AP exams, not courses, good predictors of college success – A new study has challenged the assumption that taking Advanced Placement courses in high school has predictive value for success in college.  Two researchers, Kristin Klopfenstein and M. Kathleen Thomas, queried records from Texas students who took AP courses about whether they had higher grades in their first year in college, and whether they were less likely to drop out before their second year than students who had not taken such courses.  The researchers determined from their study that the answer to both questions was no.  It should be pointed out, however, that the predictive value of AP exams was not questioned.  The article was written to David Glenn in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Impact of ABET EC2000 – The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology has made an interim report on its longitudinal study on the impact of outcomes-based accreditation criteria on ABET programs and their graduates. More than 75% of program chairs report greater curricular emphasis on knowledge and skills central to EC2000 a-k criteria. 70% of chairs report high levels of faculty support for continuous improvement efforts. More than 75% of employers rate new engineers as adequately or well prepared in basic technical skills, problem solving, teamwork, and lifelong learning. 95% of chairs report ABET is an important source of the increase in their program’s use of assessment. (See  

Canadian students earn credit for development work abroad – The Canadian government has created a program through which Canadian students can earn academic credit for working with developing countries. Canada Corps hopes that each college or university will eventually send at least one student to engage in a project that promotes democracy, such as creating court procedures.  Most of the internships will take place in countries where institutions already have academic links, according to Karen Birchard in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Stopping tenure clock not enough – University policies aimed at giving women time to have a family and a career are no match for the pressure to publish, according to an article by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee in the December 17th Science. In the past decade, dozens of universities have changed their tenure policies to accommodate the family needs of their faculty members. They have adopted rules that provide time off from tenure-track positions, created part-time tenure slots, and spread the gospel about the need to make room for family choices in the climb up the academic ladder. But many women are fearful that choosing to take advantage of such policies will place them at a disadvantage. In a recent survey at a major research university, 42% of women did not request to go off the tenure clock, and too-thirds of them said that it was because of fear that an extension would have an adverse impact on their careers. There are scant data on whether stopping the clock actually hurts a faculty member’s chance of receiving tenure; but at one major university, none of the ten women who have taken extensions for childbirth or other family-related reasons have been denied tenure. Experts say that the academic community must figure out how to meet the needs of the next generation of women faculty members if academic research is to remain an attractive career for them. (See

Students bear more of college costs – College students in virtually every state in the US will be required to shoulder more of the cost of their education under new federal rules that govern most of the nation’s financial aid, according to an article by Greg Winter in the December 23rd New York Times. Because of the changes, which take effect next year and are expected to save the government $300-million in the 2005-06 academic year, at least 1.3-million students will receive smaller Pell grants – the nation’s primary scholarship for those of low income. Beyond the implications for Pell grants, the new rules are also expected to tighten up access to billions of dollars in state and institutional grants, thus increasing the reliance on loans to pay for college. (See

Pell reform announced, generating elation and concern – Pell Grants are the US government's most important vehicle for funding low income students to attend college.  Now US President George Bush has announced an increase of $500 to the maximum Pell Grant over the next five years, just weeks after he announced a reformulation of the way the government calculates financial need which would result in 80,000 to 90,000 students losing their eligibility.  The source of money for this increase would come from unspecified reforms and efficiencies in the federal guaranteed student loan program, which has put loan industry officials on edge.  Legislators and higher education officials had mixed reactions.  Some are worried that any time an increase in funding is announced for one program, another program is cut.  Stephen Burd wrote this report for The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

On the trail of academic fraud – An article by Alex Kingsbury in the January 17th U.S. News and World Report describes efforts of the FBI’s diploma mill task force to pursue fraudsters who sell fake academic credentials using anonymous mailboxes, website hoaxes and spam. It is estimated that there are thousands of such degree mills in operation, and that their total market is about a billion dollars. Public demand for phony degree credentials drives the supply; sometimes with the speed of the business world, companies do not take the time to check the credentials of the people they hire. (See  

Student employees in US still exempt from Social Security tax – The US government took steps recently which will allow most student employees, including research and teaching assistants, to be exempt from paying Social Security taxes, notes Jeffrey Selingo in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See


5 – Employment

Job outlook for college seniors brightens According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the job outlook for college seniors continues to improve. As reported in a January 4th article by Megan Ballinger and Erin White in the Wall Street Journal, surveyed employers predicted an increase in hiring for the second year in a row – indicating 2005 hiring 13.1% above the 2004 rate. About 70% of employers said they planned to increase starting salaries for new college graduates – an average increase of 3.7%. The five most “in demand” majors are accounting, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business administration and management, and economics and finance. (See

Bangalore elbowed out as top Indian offshore center – A company named Neo-IT recently drew up what is called the Offshore City Competitive Index, which includes metrics such as the number, quality and education system of the people in a city, the quality of the infrastructure, financials and catalysts, and used it to measure cities in India .  While Bangalore , the city which has become synonymous with off-shore outsourcing, ranked second in this index, the first place was taken by Gurgaon, little known beyond the borders of India .  Following the two leaders were Pune and Hyderabad , tied for third place, Chennai, Kolkata, and Chandigarh , writes Chidanand Rajghatta in The Economic Times on January 12, 2005 . (See 

More offshore outsourcing seen – More than 80% of the world’s top 2000 corporations will have established significant outsourcing operations overseas by the end of 2005, according to a report conducted by a consulting group in India . As reported in a note by Jay Solomon in the December 22nd Wall Street Journal, the study also says that small and midsize businesses are increasingly looking to outsource services to India and other developing countries, and that Japanese and European companies are also investing heavily in the offshore model. India experienced sharp growth in handling outsourced software and services during the fiscal year ended March 31 – with software exports growing 25% from a year earlier to $12.5-billion. The report projects that this growth will accelerate next year, with software exports from India posting growth of around 25% to 30% and revenue from back-office work growing 60%. Even as India continues to grow in outsourced work, the study sees China , Russia , and a number of Eastern European and Southeast Asian countries also becoming large players in the outsourcing industry. (See

6 – Journals

European Journal for Engineering Education – EJEE Volume 29-4 is a theme issue, on New Perspectives of the Engineering Disciplines – Active Learning in Engineering Education. Guest Editors Michel, Graaff and Christenson have assembled eleven papers on active learning, including topics such as project based education, online roleplay, virtual enterprise, interactive design course, and preparing students to co-operate, communicate and compete. (See

Issues in Science and Technology – The Winter 2005 issue features a major paper by Michael Kearns, “Economics, Computer Science, and Policy”, based on a recent named lecture at the National Academies. The author illustrates his perspective that cross-fertilization of ideas and techniques between economics and computer science is yielding fresh insights that can help inform policy decisions. Other papers in this issue are on preventing a nuclear 9/11, moving drugs to market, international comparisons of student achievement, managing the life sciences, and agricultural biotechnology. (See


7 – Meetings

ICWES13 – The 13th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists will be held in Seoul , South Korea , from 26-29 August 2005. The theme is “Women Engineers and Scientists: Main Force to Reshape the Future World”. Deadline for abstracts is 31 March 2005 . (See

ICEE 2005 – The International Conference on Engineering Education, sponsored by iNEER, will be held at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice , Poland , from 25-29 July 2005. The theme is Global Education Interlink – Geometry and Graphics. Abstracts are due by 31 January. (See 

IGIP 34th annual conference – An engineering education symposium organized by Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, under the sponsorship of the International Society for Engineering Education (IGIP) is scheduled for 12-15 September 2005. The theme is “Design of Education in the 3rd Millennium – Frontiers in Engineering Education”. Abstracts are due by March 1st. (See

WFEO 7th World Congress on Engineering Education – The Committee on Education and Training of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations is organizing a conference on 4-8 March 2006 in Budapest , Hungary . The theme is “Mobility of Engineers”, and papers are being sought on accreditation, equivalence agreements, licensing, and mobility for students and for graduate engineers. Abstracts are sought by March 31st 2005 . (See


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