March 2006

Copyright © 2006 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 - Technology

4 - Students, faculty, education

5 – Employment, competitiveness

6 – Journals

7 – Meetings



1 - International developments

Low costs, plentiful talent make China a global magnet for R&D – Multinational companies, drawn by a huge and inexpensive talent pool, are pouring money into research and development in China . According to an article in the March 13th Wall Street Journal by Kathy Chen and Jason Dean, the total number of foreign-invested R&D centers in the country has surged to about 750, from 200 four years ago. A recent UN survey of multinationals cited China as most frequently listed for R&D expansion, well ahead of the US and third-place India. But China ’s growth as a global R&D hub faces some constraints, such as the country’s weak protection of patents and other intellectual property rights. Whereas R&D investment in China initially focused on adapting existing products and technologies to the Chinese market, companies now are expanding their Chinese operations to develop products for the global market. (See

Port deal shows roadblocks for globalization – The globalization of business has recently run into some big roadblocks, according to an article in the March 11th Wall Street Journal by Greg Ip and Neil King. The latest example – scuttling of the deal to have Dubai Ports World operate ports in the US – comes just months after a political uproar derailed a Chinese bid for a US oil company. And in France , Spain and Poland , governments have sought to block foreign bids for domestic companies. In Korea , a US march on a tobacco company is fueling calls for restraints on foreign investment. And in Bolivia , a new populist government has joined a Latin American revolt against free markets. The reactions reflect not just xenophobia stoked by fears of terrorism, but also anxiety among workers in developed countries that their livelihoods are threatened by imports, immigrants and low-wage workers. If this backlash does not fade, according to the writers, it could disrupt a world economy that has become increasingly interdependent. (See

Saudi students returning to US – Saudi students studying in US universities fled the country after 9/11, but now thousands are attending US institutions again. According to an article in the March 20th Time by Jeff Chu, the US and Saudi governments, worried that American and Saudi people would get nervous about one another, and have set up a program to foster more person-to-person contact. Over the next four years, Saudi Arabia will pay for as many as 20,000 young Saudis to study in the US . The US has pledged to speed visa processing for the students – while still running full background checks and in-person interviews at the consulate in Jidda . For the Saudi rulers, the scholarships are a way to revive the tradition of educating their brightest in the US , where more than three-quarters of current cabinet ministers studied. (See 

More research money for top Indian universities – Three Indian universities will each receive a total of $22.6 million this year to strengthen research and transform them into world-class institutions.  The universities of Mumbai, Calcutta and Madras , already among the best in the country, will all be beneficiaries. In additional news, India ’s finance minister, P. Chidambaram, said the Punjab Agricultural University will receive $22 million in recognition of its role in increasing crop yields, and that the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology will become a national institution with greater access to research funds, writes Shailaja Neelakantan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Reform in French science – A French government plan to infuse new life into French research has drawn much protest since it was proposed two years ago, but the protests are waning and the National Assembly is moving ahead in authorizing the reforms. According to an article in the March 10th Science by Martin Enserink,  the legislation includes a raft of measures aimed at luring young people into labs and making innovation the engine of a flagging economy. A protest movement, Let’s Save Research, and the powerful trade unions criticize the plan for falling short of their goals. But others cite the proposed growth of the research budget from €19.9-billion in 2005 to €24-billion in 2010 as a positive element. But the scientific community had hoped for a larger financial boost. In addition to providing more funds, the legislation attempts to simplify research management and empowers a new agency to distribute funds for projects based on merit reviews – a novelty in France . (See

European schools in decline, says OECD report – The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) claims that European schools, led by France , Italy , the UK and Germany , have fallen substantially behind those in the US and Asia , writes Lucia Kubosova for the EUobserver on-line on March 14.  The author of the OECD report, Andreas Schleicher, says that Europe ’s educational systems need to be more flexible and accessible.  He points out that France and Germany have insufficient numbers of people with high-skill qualifications, and that funding of education is low.  Touching on a controversial area, Schleicher says that the US spends more money per person on college education, with most of that additional money coming from private sources and individual tuition.  He admits, however, that countries such as Ireland , Portugal and Spain have improved their performance in education.  (See

French students protest violently against new labor law – In actions reminiscent of the 1968 revolution, tens of thousands of French students across the country took to the street to protest a new law that would permit employers to fire younger employees without cause. The probationary period for young people in new jobs would be extended to up to two years, rather than the few months stipulated now, before France ’s traditionally strong job protections would be available.  Such was the anger of French students that one of the student labor unions claimed to have shut down entirely 66 of France ’s 84 universities last week, writes Aisha Labi in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The government has refused to back down, so there were predictions of as many as one million participants joining the protest. (See

Networking Nigeria A world class internet facility has been established at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria , thanks to the effort of IEEE and Hewlett-Packard. As described by Harry Goldstein in the lead article in the March IEEE The Institute, sixty new, state-of-the-art computer terminals are online for the use of engineering students, connected to the Internet via a satellite dish. In addition to the computer setup, IEEE is making available to the aspiring engineers and their instructors free access to the full IEEE digital library – a valuable resource found nowhere else in Africa . The IEEE past president who attended the inauguration ceremony noted that more companies need to donate new computers to developing countries, not just cast off their used machines for a tax credit. And more information providers need to give students and their instructors free or reduced-cost access to the world’s treasure troves of engineering information. (See

South Korean universities undertake radical changes – Taking into consideration the falling number of 18 year olds and the tight hold of tradition and elite institutions, the South Korean government has embarked on an effort to transform its higher education system.  If the government has its way, 25% of the national universities will close or be merged, automatic tenure will be a thing of the past, the US model of graduate programs would be introduced, and entry requirements be changed.  Opposition to these changes is strong.  The suggestion to replace the much feared national entrance examinations with more reliance on students’ secondary school grades has been met with predictions that schools will simply begin to inflate grades.  Presidents of prestigious national universities, when faced with the possibility of greater autonomy, expressed fears that faculty would be deprived of their coveted status as civil servants, according to Alan Brender in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The debate is likely to continue, but change, driven by the changing population, appears inevitable. (See

Infosys U. One of the world’s largest training centers, operated by Infosys Technologies, prepares some of India ’s best and brightest to take their places in the global workforce. According to an article in the March 20th Fortune by Julie Schlosser, at a new $120-million facility in Mysore, India, the mission is teaching the Infosys Way to the 15,000 employees the fast-growing company hires a year – an average of 40 a day. Many of the 4000 “freshers” who are on campus at any one time come with little or no practical experience. Most of the training focuses on technical skills, but freshers also spend a lot of time working on softer skills such as team building, comportment, and improving interpersonal communication. The $1.6-billion company, founded in 1981, had nearly 50,000 employees as of January 1 – up 34% over 2004.  (See

Brain Korea 21 infuses serious money into research and graduate education – One feature alone of Brain Korea 21 would be sufficient to impress most academics: since 1999 the Korean government has sent 38,000 students overseas to earn their master’s, and 19,000 to seek a doctorate.  BK 21 is meant to reinvigorate the country’s researchers by large infusions of money invested in promising projects.  Over the past seven years $1.1 billion has been invested, and results have been so positive that the second phase will be funded at $2.03 billion, reports Alan Brender in The Chronicle of Higher Education. This second phase will emphasize curriculum and industry collaboration.  (See

European Institute of Technology – Facing down skeptics in the academic community, European Union leaders are forging ahead with a proposal to create a new research-intensive university on the continent. According to an article in the March 3rd Science by Daniel Clery, the objective of EU leaders is to remedy problems in European higher education by building a flagship modeled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rather than a single site, however, a plan published recently by the European Commission calls for a network of centers across the 25 member states. The idea continues to meet hostility from scientific and education leaders who argue that there are already a lot of good institutions in Europe – but that they are grossly starved for funds. Academic leaders fear that the Commission’s proposal will draw funding away from the new European Research Council, due to begin work next year. (See

Is Australia losing its appeal to foreign students? – Much has been made of Australia ’s recent success in attracting fee-paying foreign students into its higher education system.  But in 2005, that success appears to have tapered off: the number of new foreign students who came to Australia that year was only 0.8% higher than the number for 2004.  In some states and territories, the numbers actually declined.  Student “exports” from Hong Kong , Malaysia and Singapore declined significantly, although the numbers from China and India remained stable.  Reasons for the fall off include the stronger Australian dollar, making the cost of education there higher, reports David Cohen in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See


2 - US developments

How the government refocused on innovation and competitiveness – Innovation and competitiveness are words that have recently garnered support from Congress and the White House. As described in an article by Debra Schiff in the March Today’s Engineer, two key reports laid the groundwork for proposed legislation and the initiatives that President Bush included in his State of the Union Address: Innovate America from the Council on Competitiveness, and Rising Above the Gathering Storm by the National Academies. President Bush has outlined his American Competitiveness Initiative, designed to spur US innovation and better equip the US to compete in the global marketplace. And Congress has two major initiatives in process: Protecting America’s Competitive Edge Act (PACE), and the National Innovation Act. With such broad support, it appears likely that some legislation related to innovation and competitiveness will survive the political process. (See

BlackBerry service to continue - Just before a judge was expected to issue an injunction shutting down the popular e-mail service provided by Research in Motion, the patent infringement lawsuit brought by NTP was dropped in exchange for $612.5-million. As reported in the March 4th New York Times by Ian Austen, the settlement followed three days of negotiations as well as several setbacks for NTP at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. RIM’s decision to settle was immediately welcomed by customers and investors; its shares rose 19% in after-hours trading. But analysts say that RIM may have aided its rivals by prolonging the disputes, as the public began searching for other choices for wireless e-mail. (See

Colleges open minority aid to all comers – Facing threats of litigation and pressure from Washington, colleges and universities nationwide are opening to white students hundreds of thousands of dollars in fellowships, scholarships and other programs previously created for minorities. According to an article in the March 14th New York Times by Jonathan Glater, the institutions are trying to minimize their legal exposure, reacting to two 2003 Supreme Court cases on using race in admissions at the University of Michigan . Although the cases did not ban using race in higher education, they did leave the state of the law unclear, and with the changing composition of the court some university officials fear legal challenges. The affected areas include programs for high schools and graduate fellowships. It is too early to determine the effects of the changes on the presence of minorities in higher education. (See

Latin American Studies Assoc. moves annual conferences off-shore After the US government again barred a group of Cuban scholars from entering the US to attend the Latin American Studies Association meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the association leadership announced plans to move all future meetings outside of the US in order to preserve academic freedom and dialogue among scholars.  This year, 58 Cuban academics were denied visas; in 2004 65 Cubans were barred; and in 2003, 60 Cubans were stopped, reports Burton Bollag in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The group says they are prepared to accept the consequences of breaking their contracts with organizations in Boston in order to move the September 2007 meeting offshore.  (See

On-line education given a boost by US Congress – In a move with potentially major implications, the US Congress changed a provision which until now had required colleges to offer at least 50% of their courses on campus in order to receive federal aid.  With this new arrangement, colleges will be able to expand their on-line courses, and private on-line institutions are expected to grow considerably, fueled by new federal monies.  Supporters of non-traditional students are happy.  The old restriction was created in 1992 when on-line education was frequently considered synonymous with diploma mills.  Since then, the lobbying machine supporting private on-line institutions had matured and grown more powerful, with important Washington connections, even in the White House.  Critics point out the lack of hard evidence that distance education is effective, and the fact that most cases of academic fraud take place in for-profit schools. Reporting on this was Sam Dillon in the March 1 on-line issue of The New York Times. (See

NSF Education Directorate failing? – Education researchers say that a sinking budget, a leadership vacuum, and an administrative reshuffle put NSF’s education activities at great risk, according to an article by Jeffrey Mervis in the February 24th Science. While President Bush has stated that the US “needs a workforce strong in engineering and science and math”, his proposed 2007 budget would cut the funding of the NSF program explicitly aimed at improving math and science education – for the third straight year. The decline of the Math and Science Partnerships program, which links university science and math faculty with their local elementary and secondary schools, is only one of many problems facing NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate. The Directorate has been run for more than a year by a temporary head, and a major internal reshuffling is seen as accelerating a move away from direct intervention in the classroom. In addition, while cutting the NSF program budget, the President has proposed a major new initiative to improve elementary and secondary school math and science at the Department of Education. (See

Academics outnumbered by industry reps on Bush’s S & T Council – The score was 10 to 4 when President George Bush released the names of the 14 members of his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, reads an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Four members are from the academic world – the heads of Boston University , the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue, and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa – and ten from industry.  The Council serves to advise the president on various issues, including, this year, information technology R & D.  (See

Biography of Frederick Terman wins award – A biography of legendary Stanford University professor and dean, Frederick Terman, has won an IEEE award for literary contributions that further the public understanding of the profession, according to an article in the March IEEE The Institute by Evan Koblentz. Terman graduated from MIT in 1924 – the holder of only its eighth doctorate in electrical engineering. He became one of the best known electrical engineering faculty members in the US , writing a 1932 textbook Radio Engineering that became a standard. And he worked with some of the electronic industry’s best known people and companies. He is perhaps best known for encouraging his graduate students, William Hewlett and David Packard, to start a company based on then state-of-the-art research on the resistance-tuned oscillator. The book, Fred Terman at Stanford, was written by C. Stewart Gilmore, and is available from Stanford University Press. (See


3 - Technology 

China sets up Internet domain system – The Internet authorities in China have set up a new family of Chinese-language alternatives to .com and other popular Internet address domains. It is seen as a move to bypass the US-sponsored organization that controls address information on the global Internet, according to an article in the March 2nd International Herald Tribune by Hiawatha Bray. Some analysts fear that it could enhance China ’s ability to censor its citizens’ access to the Internet. In announcing the move, Chinese authorities noted that web surfers will not have to access the web via servers under the management of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers of the United States . (See

Push to create standards for documents – With government records, reports and documents increasingly being created and stored in digital form, there is a software threat to electronic access to government information and access. According to an article by Steve Lohr in the March 3rd New York Times, the problem is that public information can be locked up in proprietary software whose document formats become obsolete or cannot be read by people using software from another company. To cope with the problem, 30 companies, trade groups, academic institutions and professional organizations have formed the OpenDocument Format Alliance, which will promote the adoption of open technology standards by governments. The alliance supports a particular solution, called the OpenDocument Format. But today over 90% of the document market uses Microsoft Office, and Microsoft is developing a different open standard for documents, called OpenXML Document Format, which will be included in Office 2007. (See

Unsafe at any airspeed? – Cellphones and other electronics are more of a risk than the public thinks, according to an article by Bill Strauss et al in the March IEEE Spectrum. Passengers are bringing more and more electronics on board flights – cellphones, PDAs, laptops, DVD players, and game machines. All of these items emit radiation and have the potential to interfere with aircraft instrumentation. The authors have done research which indicates that interference occurs at an appreciable rate and that some events create hazardous situations. They recommend that the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Aviation Agency confer in establishing acceptable electronic emission standards, and that the public be educated about the real risks to flight safety of using certain devices. (See

A laptop you can hold in your hand – Microsoft and two electronics companies – Samsung of Korea and Asus of Taiwan – are introducing an ultralight tablet computer that melds a laptop with a media player. According to an article in the March 9th New York Times by Kevin O’Brien, the devices weigh 1.7 pounds, are about 9” x 5” x 1”, and have a viewing screen that measures 7” diagonally. The new machines will sell for $600 to $1200 each. Experts are skeptical that the new tablet computer will make inroads against devices like the BlackBerry and the iPod. (See

Fusion claims now being investigated – Scientists have been trying for over four years to replicate the findings of Rusi P. Taleyarkhan, professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue, who claimed in the journal Science to have caused fusion with low-cost techniques, thus pointing to a potential new source of energy.  Taleyarkhan used sound waves to cause acoustic cavitation in bubbles in a liquid.  When the Science paper was under review, it already attracted opponents who sought to block its publication.  While more findings were published in Physical Review Letters in January of this year, scientists who have seen demonstrations remain unconvinced that fusion has actually occurred.  According to Richard Monastersky of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Purdue has begun its own investigation into the controversial results. (See

New director of MIT’s Media Lab promotes identifiable outputs – Frank Moss was recently appointed director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s famous Media Lab.  As a serial entrepreneur himself he is preparing to take the risk of pushing the lab into new territory.  Despite its fame, the Media Lab is not identified with any single new technology: Moss wants to change that by moving toward making prototypes that can then be pointed to as a direct output from the lab’s work.  But as he moves toward achieving specific breakthroughs, Moss also admits that the corporate clients who fund the lab value highly its big picture approach.  Moss himself is interested in projects with a social benefit, such as the $100 laptop project for developing countries and innovations that will improve healthcare for an aging population.  With computing now in the hands of more and more ordinary but creative people, the MIT Media Lab may eventually go out of business.  But that’s ok with Moss, who wants to be in the forefront of a move to recognize the power of bottom up creativity, writes Gregory M. Lamb in the March 6 on-line edition of The Christian Science Monitor. (

Satellite results add to understanding of a nascent cosmos – A NASA satellite known as WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) has provided data that support the inflationary theory of basic cosmology, reports Rich Monastersky in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The satellite added information about what happened one hundred-billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the big bang, and that information has enabled researchers to strengthen the inflationary theory and reject others.  This most recent study has given much more precise information about the temperature variations in the microwave glow emanating from the universe when it was only 400,000 years old. (See


  4 – Students, faculty, education

Colleges bolster family benefits – After lagging behind corporations in work-family benefits, colleges are beginning to improve their policies, according to an article in the March 9th Wall Street Journal by Sue Shellenbarger. Alarmed by high quit rates among faculty members, charges of sexism, and the looming retirement of baby-boomer professors, top universities are shifting gears fast. In the past couple of years, universities have improved such policies as family leave, part-time work, and job-finding help for trailing spouses in dual-earner couples. And options of halting the tenure clock for childbirth are becoming easier. The trend stands to make academic careers more attractive to young parents and others with family responsibilities. (See

To the rescue – The cover story in the March ASEE Prism, by Anna Mulrine, describes programs that involve engineering students and engineers from developed countries in helping to solve the problems of the developing world. Engineers-without-borders type programs utilize the fabulous skills and energy levels of engineering students and their faculty advisors to address the developing world’s most pressing problems. Students learn that it’s not always the technical aspects that are important, and that cultural and societal dimensions often play an important role in developing appropriate solutions. (See

Using the FE for assessment – Outcomes assessment is now an integral part of the engineering accreditation process in the US , as a result of implementation of Criteria 2000 by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In an article in the February 2006 NCEES Licensure Exchange, excerpted from a white paper “Using the FE examination to assess academic programs”, the Fundamentals Exam of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is identified as one potentially effective tool for assessing certain aspects of engineering education. As the only nationally-normed examination that addresses specific engineering topics, the FE exam is seen by the authors of the white paper as an attractive tool for outcomes assessment – when used in conjunction with other standardized tests, assessment tools, alumni surveys, and placement data. (See

Lecture method should be jettisoned in science and math instruction – In a debate over funding for the US National Science Foundation, faculty told Congress that college math and science faculty need to break away from the old lecture method which still predominates, to make good teaching as rewarding as good research, and to respect school teaching as a career, reports Jeffrey Brainard in The Chronicle of Higher Education. NSF’s division of undergraduate education is scheduled to be cut by 5% in 2007.  Speakers such as Carl Wieman, a physicist at the University of Colorado who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001 and spent his prize money on improving college science and math education, said that NSF’s efforts, while somewhat successful, were too splintered across institutions to bring about significant change.  He urged teaching faculty to place more emphasis on the application of knowledge to attract and retain students’ attention.  (See

US report promotes language learning, international studies – The US Committee for Economic Development has just published a report, “Education for Global Leadership: The Importance of International Studies and Foreign Language Education for U.S. Economic and National Security,” which makes three recommendations.  1) Add international content across the school curriculum. 2) Have national leaders emphasize the importance of foreign languages and international studies. 3) Expand the number of Americans fluent in foreign languages by providing opportunities throughout the educational process. (See

Women in science – a global concern – The underrepresentation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is a concern around the world. And according to the March 2006 MentorNet News, the goal of concerned organizations is the same around the world: to advance society and fuel greater innovation by increasing women’s participation in these areas. The current situation of women in STEM in several parts of the world is reviewed in the article: Australia , Europe , South Africa , and the United Kingdom . And a list of resources for dealing with the issue is provided. (See

US students lack reading skills to succeed in college – The ACT is a popular college entrance examination in the US .  Recently, the company that administers the ACT released a study showing that only 51% of the students who took the exam last year had reading skills sufficient to ensure success in college or job-training programs, writes Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Findings also suggest that reading skills for many students actually decline during secondary school.  Students who read well are more likely to enroll in college right after high school, to earn better grades in college, and to return to college after their first year. (See

Engineering in the schools in Massachusetts Most US students are not exposed to engineering until college, but Massachusetts is different. According to an article in the March 3rd Science by Yudhijut Bhattacharjee, the main reason for the difference is one person, Ioannis Miaoulis. While a faculty member and dean at Tufts University , Miaoulis started a statewide campaign to introduce engineering concepts into schools, and in 2001 Massachusetts became the first state to include engineering in its curricular standards and student assessments. Today Miaoulis has expanded that campaign into a national effort, having left academic life to become President of the Museum of Science in Boston . Under his leadership, the Museum has established a National Center for Technological Literacy. The Center has raised $32-million from businesses and the federal government to develop an elementary school curriculum and an engineering course for high school students. Last fall, schools in a dozen states began trying out the elementary school curriculum, and high schools in seven states are piloting the advanced course. (See

Plagiarism investigation begins at Ohio U. engineering college – Ohio University (USA) is investigating numerous cases of plagiarism in the college of engineering, some dating back at far as 1989, reports Thomas Bartlett in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Accusations include plagiarized master’s theses.  A committee will report in late March: punishment could include revoking degrees.  As a consequence of this situation, students are now required to sign a statement saying that their theses are original.  (See


5 – Employment, competitiveness

How many engineers does China actually graduate, and who cares? – David Epstein in Inside Higher Ed wrote a lengthy article that attempts to illuminate the current debate about the US need for more and better scientists and engineers, and the competitive advantages of China , India and the US in technology and science.  Some US engineering faculty are finding even very bright engineering students worried about whether their jobs are going to be outsourced in the future, indicating that the talk-show harangues about the outflow of American jobs abroad may in fact be discouraging students from studying engineering rather than encouraging them to become engineers.  The article goes on to expose the debate over the often quoted figures that the US graduates 70,000 engineers per year while India graduates 350,000 and China 600,000.  Recent analysis has unpackaged these figures, showing that they are old, not correct, and comprised of apples and oranges, grouping together sub-baccalaureate technical degrees with baccalaureate degrees.  A 2005 report from McKinsey and Company Global Institute shows that only about 25% of India ’s engineers are competent to work successfully in the global arena, a lower percentage than found in Poland and the Czech Republic .  In any case, the emphasis should be on the quality of US graduates, rather than the quantity.  (See

Author shows downside of China’s success  “The Dark Side of China’s Rise,” by Minxin Pei, makes the case for China’s being a severely flawed society where small gains in economic development are vastly overshadowed by monumental corruption, strict government control, networks of patronage, and a co-opted citizenry.  The author tells us that China hype should be examined carefully so as not to fall victim to the propaganda of its leaders.  The economic boom will become a bust if its political future remains the same: bleak.  This article was published in Foreign Policy, the March-April issue.  (See

Indian call center employees stressed by organized verbal abuse – Employees in Indian call centers are upset about the verbal abuse that has become part of their jobs.  Up to 60% of call center workers leave their jobs each year, despite their relatively high wages, around $70 US per week.  Some attribute this attrition to the racist comments and anger that spews out to them from callers.  Even worse, writes Nick O’Malley in an article published on March 18 in the on-line version of The Sydney Morning Herald, is the organized abuse resulting from US radio stations which encourage opponents of off-shoring to place one harassing phone call each day to a call center.  Some are suggesting that call center employees urge their foreign clients to take the matter up with police in the corporation’s country. (See

City pegs revitalization on a tuition plan – Kalamazoo , Michigan , has implemented a college funding plan that it hopes will revitalize its economy. According to an article by Neal Boudette in the March 10th Wall Street Journal, the “Kalamazoo Promise” – funded by an anonymous source – guarantees free college tuition to any student who enters the city school system by at least the 9th grade, regardless of income or need. The plan only requires that students live in Kalamazoo or a neighboring township, graduate from a public high school, and attend a public community college or university in Michigan . There has already been an increase in housing demand in the city, and it is hoped that the plan will attract companies to locate in the city, bringing much needed jobs. (See    


6 – Journals

European Journal of Engineering Education – The March 2006 issue is a theme issue on gender studies in engineering and engineering education. Topics covered in papers include masculinities in organizational cultures, gender equality in higher education, gendered images of engineering among students, and gendered practices in a problem-based learning environment. This issue of the EJEE also features several articles focused on competence of engineering graduates, particularly for the global environment. (See

Religion at the academy – The March/April 2006 issue of Change includes a series of articles on religion on campus. Articles cover evangelical faith-based colleges, the Catholic college in America , safe spaces for Muslim students, the professional formation of clergy, and the rise of conservatism on campus. (See


7 – Meetings

Electronic Conference for ASEE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education – An exclusively electronic conference on engineering education will be conducted for two months this summer, in preparation for the October 2006 ASEE Colloquium to be held in Rio de Janeiro. The electronic conference will be conducted through Web-based posting of papers, followed by electronic interactions among participants. All posted papers and discussion will be summarized at a major plenary session at the Rio Colloquium. Abstracts are currently being sought, and are due by 30 April 2006 . Submit all inquiries and abstracts to 

WFEO World Congress on Engineering Education – The 7th in a series of conferences organized by the WFEO Committee on Education and Training was held in Budapest from 4 to 8 March 2006 . The theme of “Mobility of Engineers” attracted participants from some 41 countries. The opening session was conducted in the Assembly Hall of the Upper House in the Building of the Hungarian Parliament – an impressive venue, but without PowerPoint! Sessions addressed such topics as Accreditation of Engineering Qualifications, Regional Agreements, Registration and Licensing, Curriculum to Promote the Mobility of Engineering Students, and Case Studies from Industry on Mobility Issues. (See 




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