May 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

Canada steps up recruitment of international students – The Canadian government is taking steps to attract more international students, reports Karen Birchard in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The main thrust is to make it possible for students to work off campus and to work in Canada for two years after graduation, provided they do so in smaller towns and not in Montreal , Toronto and Vancouver , which already have absorbed disproportionate numbers of international students.  The government hopes to increase the number of international students, now 50,000, substantially.  The program will cost about $8 million US each year.  Koreans currently make up the majority of foreign students in Canada , followed by China , Japan and the US .  (See

Europe plans for electronic archives – In a flurry of new proposals, European institutes and funding agencies are laying the groundwork for the free release of peer-reviewed papers, according to an article in the April 29th Science by Grechen Vogel and Martin Enserink. Similar proposals to make scientific results available for free at the click of a mouse have generated intense debate in the US . European research organizations are starting to build and connect institutional and even nationwide public archives that will be the megalibraries of the future, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to access papers that result from publicly funded research. The UK ’s largest funder of biomedical research, London ’s Wellcome Trust, for example, is planning to launch a system that will archive all papers produced by its grantees. That goes much further than the US National Institutes of Health position which decided to “strongly encourage” but not require grant recipients to post their papers within 12 months of publication. Projects similar to that in the UK are also underway in France , Germany and the Netherlands . (See

Iraqi universities still in shambles – UNESCO has taken the lead in surveying the condition of Iraq ’s universities and determining their reconstruction needs, writes Katherine Zoepf in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Iraqi universities, once among the best in the Arab world, have been subjected to both looting and neglect.  Faculty have left the country over the years, and since the recent war began, many have been killed. UNESCO is providing funds for re-equipping labs and libraries, for conducting professional development workshops, and for sending Iraqi academics to the US for short-term stays to reconnect them with their academic fields and make contacts with peers abroad. (See

CAFTA faces trouble in US Congress – Ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement is facing significant resistance in the US Congress, according to an article in the May 10th New York Times by Elizabeth Becker. Concerns include record trade deficits, concerns about lost jobs, and an overarching fear that the US is losing out in the accelerated pace of global changes. The Bush administration contends, though, that free trade agreements are critical components of any efforts to enhance American global competitiveness. The trade deal, which was signed a year ago, includes Costa Rica , El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras and Nicaragua . The ambassadors to the US from these countries are traveling around the country to try to persuade members of Congress to vote for the accord. (See

New pope expected to maintain conservative themes of predecessor – Scholars are attempting to predict how the election of Joseph Ratzinger to become Pope Benedict XVI will affect Catholic universities and teachings, writes Thomas Bartlett in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The new pope is an academic with many years of experience in German universities.  He is known to be conservative in his views and it is anticipated that he will carry on with the traditions of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who died recently.  (See

New OAS head elected – The Organization of American States has elected Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza to a five-year term as its Secretary-General, according to an article in the May 3rd Washington Post. The 34-member organization struggled with this election, having deadlocked earlier in a tie between Insulza and a candidate from Mexico . The United States of America had earlier backed other candidates, concerned about whether Insulza would take hard stands on Cuba and Venezuela , but eventually supported his election when it became apparent that he had broad support in Latin America . (See 

Demonstrations occur on Egypt ’s campuses Since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced in February that the country would hold multicandidate elections, there have been significant demonstrations on university campuses expressing discontent with government interference in academic activities.  Demonstrations have taken place at Cairo University and at Menia University , and students recently protested against Mubarak in defiance of a general ban on political activity on campuses, reports Katherine Zoepf in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

EU framework for change – European Union officials have proposed a €73-billion, seven year funding program for individual grants, and a promise of less red tape. But, according to an article in the April 15th Science by Gretchen Vogel, it remains to be seen if researchers will believe them and whether political leaders will foot the bill. The proposal would go much further than the previous EU multiyear funding program, known as Framework. The new proposal, identified as Framework 7, would be twice as big as previous programs. The proposal includes launching of a long-desired European Research Council, a Europe-wide grantmaking body that will fund individual researchers instead of the large and often unwieldy collaborations supported by previous Framework programs. Supporters of the increased program argue that the expansion is vital to keep Europe competitive in the face of an aging population and limited natural resources. (See

British academic organization votes boycott of two Israeli universities – The Association of University Teachers, a British organization of almost 50,000 members, voted to end relations with the University of Haifa and Bar-Ilan University in Israel , claiming that the institutions had violated Palestinian rights. Their action was followed immediately by condemnation of the decision by Israelis and others who saw in it an endorsement of anti-Israeli sentiment.  Outrage was particularly strong among those who pointed out the commitment of Haifa University to fostering an Arab-Jew dialogue.  One AUT proposal that was not approved was a condemnation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for having confiscated Palestinian land, writes Aisha Labi in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Kuwait grants political rights to its women – Kuwait’s Parliament has granted full political rights to women, making way for them to vote and run for office in parliamentary and local elections for the first time in the country’s history. According to an article in the May 17th New York Times by Hassan Fattah, the surprise amendment to Kuwait’s election law ends a decades-long struggle by women’s rights campaigners for full suffrage, and promises to redefine the political landscape there. The ruling family has been under growing pressure to allow women’s suffrage and is believed to have forced the measure through ahead of a planned trip by the prime minister to Washington . (See 

Latin American parliamentarians promote science and technology – Members of the parliamentary committees on science and technology in ten Latin American countries met in Buenos Aires recently to plan for increasing research budgets and promoting the sharing of expertise and data, reports Mike Ceaser in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The attention paid to science and technology in the countries differed: the parliament of Argentina , for example, has paid attention to specific issues such as biotechnology, while Brazil employs parliamentary advisors on a range of science issues. Argentina has offered to create a clearing-house on science-related legislation across Latin America .  Countries participating in the meeting were Argentina , Brazil , Chile , Ecuador , El Salvador , Mexico , Panama , Paraguay , Peru and Venezuela . (See

No to European Institute of Technology – Efforts to create a European Institute of Technology (EIT) modeled after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could do more harm than good, according to an advisory panel to the European Commission. As reported by Gretchen Vogel in the May 6th Science, the proposal had been floated by the Commission’s president as part of a strategy to highlight research as a catalyst for economic growth. The panel stated that “As much as we would like to see an EIT come into existence in Europe , we are wary that it cannot be created top down. An EIT must grow bottom-up from existing research communities”. (See  

Puerto Rican students strike to protest tuition hike – When the administrators of the University of Puerto Rico postponed a 33% tuition increase, students called off their three-week strike, writes Erin Strout in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The Board of Regents, without consulting the students, had voted to raise tuition from $30 per undergraduate credit hour to $40.  In 1981 tuition tripled, and in 1992, tuition doubled; each time the students closed down the university.  More than 40% of Puerto Rico ’s residents live below the poverty line.  (See

Research boost in Germany caught in crossfire – A bitter dispute over who has responsibility for German universities is blocking a federal government plan to spend nearly €2-billion on cutting edge research. As reported by Gretchen Vogel in the April 22nd Science, the proposed Excellence Initiative would boost the fortunes of Germany’s most competitive universities, which have suffered decades of tight budgets, aging faculty, and expanding student populations. But the targeted university funding is a dramatic change in Germany , where decades of egalitarian policies have sought to ensure equal access to universities nationwide and “elitism” has been taboo. The German constitution assigns responsibility for universities to the 16 German states, and state leaders have protested that the plan oversteps the federal government’s powers. (See

Mexico witnesses benefits, drawbacks of private education explosion The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a major article, written by Marion Lloyd, about private higher education in Mexico .  In the past few decades, more than 1500 private colleges and universities have opened in Mexico , fueled by the enormous growth of high school graduates, students driven to find employment, and stagnating budgets for public higher education.  The country has seen the creation of storefront schools as well as reputable institutions, although the “industry” of private education is largely unregulated by the government.  Many of the new schools are located in formerly under-served areas, urban slums and remote rural communities.  Accreditation is still in its infancy in Mexico .  The government has created 57 new public institutions of higher education, mostly technical colleges, in the past four years, but the demand still outpaces the ability of the government to provide sufficient seats.  The best of the new private universities are taking seriously the task of teaching job-related skills, even to the point of redefining the majors in which graduates have trouble getting jobs. But the fear remains that the private schools are graduating too many students in areas where education is cheapest in terms of instructional costs, leaving insufficient development in research intensive areas such as science and engineering, with their dependence on expensive labs.  (See

Engineering students among those arrested, tortured, says rights organization – Some 40 Syrian students, among them engineering students, were imprisoned and tortured for illegal political activity, says the Human Rights Association in Syria .  It is illegal to form any group without government approval.  To compound the issue, the students were accused of being Islamists, a threat to the Baathist Syrian government, writes Katherine Zoepf in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See


2 - US developments

University of California to manage Lawrence Berkeley National Lab – After a year of negotiations, the University of California has succeeded in retaining its contract with the US Department of Energy to run the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  The five year contract, worth $2.3 billion, was put out to bid along with the contracts for four other national labs after problems surfaced in the running of Los Alamos National Lab, writes Kelly Field in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The management of Los Alamos should be decided this summer, and contracts are under negotiation for Lawrence Livermore and Ames Laboratories.  (See

Ph.D. deficit in US – Writing in the May 4th Wall Street Journal, Norman Augustine and Burton Richter review how the unprecedented opportunities for American workers in the latter half of the 20th century came from creating new jobs, not from protecting old ones. The authors say that a major component of job creation is investment in scientific research – particularly in the physical sciences and engineering. They express concern that the robust investments in research that are needed to keep feeding America ’s innovation machine are not keeping pace with the need. Federal funding for research in the physical sciences and engineering has been stagnant for two decades, in inflation adjusted dollars. Other countries are surging ahead in this area. China , for example, had a 350% rise in R&D expenditures from 1991 to 2001, and the number of science and engineering Ph.D.’s soared 535%. In addition to funding concerns, fewer Americans are pursuing physical science and engineering careers. At the graduate level, enrollments are down more than 20% since 1993. And with abundant opportunities in their own countries, foreigners are no longer flocking to US universities in the numbers that they did a decade ago. The authors argue that there is a major federal government responsibility to increase R&D funding – that in this competitive world, companies alone cannot provide sufficient funding. (See

Tax-exempt status to come under scrutiny – It appears likely that the definition of which organizations deserve tax exempt status in the United States will be changed, but not soon, according to an article by Harvy Lipman in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  There is a growing consensus that a coherent definition of what differentiates a tax-exempt organization from a taxed one is lacking. Some have suggested that tax-exempt groups should be those which are heavily dependent on donations; some have suggested that organizations should be obligated to define more narrowly who the beneficiaries are of their activities.  (See

NSF looks at centers proliferation – Faced with a shrinking budget, the new Director of the National Science Foundation says it is time to “weed our garden” of centers, according to an article in the May 13th Science by Jeffrey Mervis. NSF currently makes a $350-million investment in nearly 200 centers of various sizes and shapes, with the largest expenditures in Engineering Research Centers (19), Science and Technology Centers (11) and Materials Centers (35). There are no plans to pull the plug on existing centers, but Director Arden Bement expects to take a very hard look at any future competition. When the center concept was launched in the mid-1980’s, there were concerns from individual PIs that grants to them would be reduced significantly – but typically only 7% of the NSF budget goes to fund centers. (See

Sociologist wins NSF’s Waterman Award – The US National Science Foundation awarded its $500,000 2005 Alan T. Waterman Award to Dalton Conley, professor of sociology and public policy in New York University , the first time a sociologist has won the prize, according to Kellie Bartlett in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The Waterman Award was established in 1975 and is accorded each year to a young scientist or engineer.  (See

Bill offers breaks on loans for engineering study – An estimated 100,000 college students could save up to $10,000 each under proposed federal legislation to increase the number of US citizens pursuing undergraduate science and engineering degrees, according to an article in the April 22nd Science by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. The bill, introduced into both houses of Congress, would forgive the interest on federal loans for science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors who work in science-related occupations for 5 years after they graduate. If passed it would be the largest program of its type in the history of higher education, but critics say that the amount is too small to steer students into science and engineering careers. Of concern is the possible unintended consequence of crimping the flow into graduate school. (See

US National Academy of Sciences names record number of women members – Seventy-two new members were named to the US National Academy of Sciences, 19 of them women, the highest number ever in one year.  The total active membership of the NAS is 1,976.  The National Academy has been attempting to shed its identity as an old  boys’ club in recent years, according to Jeffrey Brainard writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

International scientists and engineers are essential – A new report from the National Academies says that to maintain America ’s leadership in science and engineering research a comprehensive effort is needed to improve the recruitment, education and training of a cross section of US students in these fields,while continuing to attract the most talented scholars worldwide. These twin goals are critical, given increasing global competition for top-notch graduate students and researchers. The report calls for a study to explore policies and programs that would help the US attract the best international and domestic graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. It suggests looking at issues such as the amount of time it takes to earn a degree, the availability of fellowships or assistantships, and whether lengthy postdoctoral appointments are required. (See for the news release and the report)

Can universities be held responsible for loss of potential profits? – Some US universities and higher education organizations are closely watching a California court case which they think might have significant repercussions on research.  The case involves the University of Southern California , which conducted clinical trials on dental implants for Sargon Enterprises, writes Goldie Blumenstyk for The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The fear is that if USC is held liable for profits Sargon claims it lost due to delays and mismanagement of the trials, other research universities might be subject to a host of other such claims, many of them frivolous.  (See

US Commerce Department considers ever-more intricate licensing regulations – Not only is it illegal to export certain research equipment from the United States, but now, in a proposal under consideration in the US Commerce Department, universities might be required to obtain licenses to permit foreign students and researchers to use such equipment located in US labs.  University officials say that the new regulations would make them justify and document the use of even ordinary equipment by foreigners.  With so many licensing and clearance regulations in force, foreign students and scholars are even more discouraged from working and studying in the US , reports Kelly Field in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See


3 - Distance education, technology

Internet provides access for African students to US engineering labs – Internet links to labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( USA ) will soon provide students in Uganda , Tanzania and Nigeria with opportunities to conduct high-level engineering experiments, according to Wachira Kigotho in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  With financial support from the Carnegie Corporation, these links, currently available to students in Britain , Greece , Singapore , Sweden and Taiwan , will be available in Africa .  The grant includes funds for six African and six MIT students to visit each other’s countries.  Researchers have created opportunities to conduct on-line research in fields such as chemical and mechanical engineering and microelectronics.  MIT engineering professor Jesus del Alama says, “If you can’t come to the lab, the lab will come to you.” (See

Distributed computing – The cover story in the May 6th issue of Science explores computing by virtual machines that dwarf the top supercomputers. Computer owners have been asked by scientists needing lots of number-crunching power to donate their computer’s spare cpu cycles to assemble such virtual machines. Ventures in fields as diverse as climate prediction, number theory, genomics, and particle physics have used such an approach. Another way of distributing both data and computing power, known as grid computing, taps the Internet to put petabyte processing on every researcher’s desktop. Several related articles follow an introductory page. (See

US funding drops for university-based computer science research A recent article in The New York Times has touched off concerns that the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), well known for having developed technologies which led to the Internet, was scaling back its support for basic computer-science research at universities, writes Vincent Kiernan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering and an engineering professor at the University of Virginia , believes that cut-backs in university-based research are risky, especially when competition for new ideas is so intense.  DARPA’s director, Anthony J. Tether, revealed that his agency spent $123 million on university-based computer science research in 2004, down from $214 million in 2001. But John H. Marburger III, President George Bush’s science advisor, says that rethinking the agency’s budget priorities was appropriate in such a fast-moving area of research. (See

Higher Education Act reauthorization – Every six years reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 provides the US Congress and the nation the opportunity to examine the current conditions and consider the future needs of higher education. In a major article in the May/June 2005 Change, Paul Lingenfelter and Charles Lenth explore what such reauthorization should be about this round. Typically, the focus is on funding and on “fixing” postsecondary education’s most visible problems via federal action. The authors assert that the fundamental objective for reauthorization must be to foster the highest possible rate of successful participation in postsecondary education. They also argue that financial aid should become less a form of support for higher education per se, and more an instrument for ensuring that US citizens have the capacity to compete in the global economy. (See

US IT Advisory Committee calls for support for multidisciplinary research – The US President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee has released a draft of a report on “Computational Science: America’s Competitive Challenge,” reports Vincent Kiernan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  In it, experts call on universities and federal agencies to restructure their operations in support of multidisciplinary research.  One major failing is the tendency of universities to reward work within specific disciplines, rather than work that involves several disciplines.  But in order to break with this traditional mode of thinking, there will have to be financial incentives for universities.  The National Academies were called upon as well: the report recommends that the government ask the Academies to determine how federal agencies can promote more aggressive original research using computers. Of course, more money needs to be put into computational science, including support for creation of repositories for vast amounts of data being generated, and funding for supercomputer centers. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

Advanced Placement tests may act counter to students’ best interests – The Leadership Alliance, a presidential group representing 29 US colleges and universities, has not met formally since its organization in 1992, but the members came together in Washington, DC, recently to take stock of their progress toward diversifying the students pursuing mathematics, science, engineering and technology.  They admitted that they had not made sufficient progress, and cited several issues which work against minority enrollment in these strategic areas, reports Peter Schmidt in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Weeding out students in the first year in rigorous introductory courses is counter productive.  The fear of debt from student loans works against the pursuit of graduate studies for many.  And the spread of advanced placement tests, according to some presidents, has had the unintended effect of pushing some students to skip introductory courses and to plunge immediately into more advanced courses where they fail.  (See

For-profit universities growing – The question of whether higher education can be reformed with capitalism is asked by Gary Berg, writing in the May/June 2005 issue of Change. The author evaluates for-profit universities, and suggests lessons they have learned that might be useful to traditional institutions – such as how to be more cost effective without abandoning a commitment to social good and to student learning.  The imagined “threat” to traditional higher education from for-profits is more symbolic that real, according to the author. The success for-profit colleges have in attracting minority students challenges the conventional wisdom on how to achieve diversity in higher education. The for-profits openly grapple with the tension between academic and business interests. (See

Four US institutions establish programs in Qatar Education City in Doha , Qatar , is the home to four US universities which have responded to an invitation by the Qatari government to set up academic programs in this oil-rich Gulf country.  Only about 350 students are currently enrolled in the programs, but within ten years officials expect 8000.  So far, programs include pre-med run by Weill Cornell Medical College , engineering offered by Texas A & M, business and computer science from Carnegie Mellon, and arts and design offered by Virginia Commonwealth University .  The arts and design program is for women only, although there is a plan to open it to men within a few years.  Stunning new facilities have been built and faculty lured to Doha by excellent financial packages and bright and energetic students.  According to Katherine Zoepf of The Chronicle of Higher Education this is all part of a plan by the Emir of Qatar to develop the human potential of the country through educational reform that extends from the elementary through post-secondary education.  (See

Will SAT essay scores be used? – Three years after the College Board decided to add a handwritten essay to the SAT, and three months after the new test made its debut, many universities are still grappling with how, when, or even if they will use the new scores.  According to an article by Tamar Lewin in the May 15th New York Times, so far less than half of the nation’s colleges and universities have said that they will require next year’s applicants to submit writing scores. The College Board itself has sounded a note of caution about using first round scores in admission decisions until more experience with it is gained. The new SAT writing test includes a required 25-minute essay which counts for a quarter of the writing grade. (See  

Leading business profs critique research agenda in US B schools – According to a Harvard Business Review article written by two well-known business professors, Warren G. Bennis and James O’Toole, the current model for business education in the United States “ . . . advances the careers and satisfies the egos of the professoriate,” but does a disservice to students.  Faculty adopted a scientific model of research and lost touch with the skills needed to actually run a business, skills such as judgment and discernment, substituting “statistical and methodological wizardry.”  The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business vehemently disagrees.  The article is available at writes Katherine S. Mangan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

University reports success in recruiting women faculty into engineering – As the United States struggles to draw more women into engineering and the sciences, one university has had a commendable record of success.  The University of Maryland-Baltimore County, building on it achievements in recruiting and retaining black students into the sciences, now is working with notable success at increasing the number of women on its faculty.  In the past five years, the number of tenured and tenure-track women in science, engineering and mathematics has gone from 17 to 36, with some departments such as chemical and biochemical engineering with more female than male faculty.  In an article by Scott Jaschik appearing in Inside Higher Ed, six strategies used by the UMBS were headlined: “Examining the search process. . . . Mentoring starts before hiring has even taken place. . . . Educating women about their faculty careers. . . . Enhancing good family leave practices. . . . Winning grants. . . . Involving the president.”  President Freeman Hrabowski III says that recruiting minority students is not exactly the same process as recruiting women faculty.  In the first place, there are many more women in the pipeline leading to university careers in engineering and science.  Strategies must be formulated that address the issue of why those women leave the pipeline.  (See

Heinz awards given to three engineering and science profs – Three science and engineering faculty were among the recipients of awards in honor of the late US Senator John Heinz.  Sidney Drell (Stanford), Mildred S. Dresselhaus (MIT), and Jerry Forest Franklin (University of Washington), each received $250,000 in recognition of their achievements, reported Kellie Bartlett in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Harvard to spend $50-million to diversify faculty – In the wake of a controversy generated by President Lawrence Summers’s statement in January that “intrinsic aptitude” might be a factor behind the low numbers of women in science and engineering, Harvard has announced a major new program to recruit, support and promote women and members of underrepresented minority groups on its faculty. According to an article in the May 17th New York Times by Alan Finder, the money will be spent on a range of initiatives, including the creation of a new senior vice provost post to focus on diversity issues, improved recruitment, subsidies for salaries, monitoring of junior faculty members and extending the clock on tenure for faculty who go on maternity or parental leave. Summers called the $50-million an “initial commitment” for the next ten years, and said that he expected the university would ultimately devote more resources in this area. (See

Percentage of Canadian women in senior admin positions plateaus – The number of administrative jobs labeled as senior in Canadian universities has increased over the past year, but the percentage of those occupied by women has held steady at 30%, reports Karen Birchard in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  This means, according to the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada, that women are not making progress in achieving positions of influence in higher education.  (See

Report recommends new visa category for grad students, post docs in US – A report from the US National Academies includes the recommendation that the State Department create a new visa category for graduate students and post doc researchers that would not require them to prove that they intend to return to their home country once their education was completed.  This is one of many recommendations that came out of this report, “Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States .”  Other recommendations include ensuring that foreign students could participate in international conferences without having to face barriers to their return to the US , and establishing a database on the supply of scientific talent in the US .  The impression still lingers abroad that the US is not welcoming foreign students, writes Jeffrey Brainard in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Petition urges new initiatives to attract women to engineering, sciences – In 2002 two US Senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and George Allen of Virginia , held hearings on the low participation of women in engineering, the sciences and mathematics.  These same two senators recently accepted a petition signed by 6,000 people, themselves scientists, engineers and educators, asking that the US Congress study why women are not entering these fields and take action to correct the situation. Michelle Diament, reporting for The Chronicle of Higher Education, notes that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the regulations that are widely credited with greatly improving women’s access to sports in the US, also applies to education.  The petition specifically calls on the application of Title IX as a means of reversing the barriers to entry of women into these fields.  Senator Wyden said Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is organizing a panel to consider using Title IX as leverage to change academic programs. (See


5 – Employment

The World Is Flat – A new book on globalization by Thomas Friedman, “The World Is Flat”, was reviewed in the April 30th New York Times by Joseph Stiglitz. Friedman argues that there is a level (or at least more level) playing field in the world economy where countries like China and India that have long been marginalized are now able to compete effectively. The author describes the forces of leveling – from the fall of the Berlin wall, which eliminated the ideological divide separating much of the world, to the rise of the Internet and technological changes that have led to new models of production and collaboration, including outsourcing and offshore manufacturing. The bulk of the 488 page book explores the implications of this flattening, for both the advanced industrialized countries and the developing world. For example, Friedman asserts that economic equality for poorer nations means more inequality in richer ones. (See  

Bangalore’s big dreams – The Indian firms that generated the outsourcing wave with call centers, software writing, and back-office operations are now moving up the “value chain” according to an article by Terry Atlas in the May 2nd U.S. News and World Report. The big three firms – Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, and Wipro – and many smaller firms are taking outsourcing in new directions, such as tech product research and development. Multinational companies are being attracted by the potential to outsource engineering design and sophisticated business computing. India ’s big draw is its deep pool of skilled technology workers who cost only a fraction of Western salaries. India is turning out 82,000 engineering undergraduates a year, versus 60,000 in the US . What this new outsourcing trend will mean in coming years for American tech innovation and the jobs that it generates is unclear. (See

Wage inflation hits Bangalore – In an article posted on the Siliconindia website on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 , international management consultant McKinsey & Co. has warned that wage inflation is eroding India ’s competitive edge in business process outsourcing.  Wage inflation has been estimated at about 10 – 15% in the last five years.  Indian companies are also facing a talent shortage, causing consultants to recommend that they create private-public partnerships to address the challenge.  (See

Better late than never in outsourcing – Pakistan is trying to copy India’s success in luring IT work, according to an article by Naween Mangi in the May 9th Business Week. It makes sense for Pakistan to try to follow in India ’s footsteps, since it shares a British colonial history and has some 17-million English speakers. It also has a huge community of émigrés with experience in technology, and a wage structure similar to that in India . Still it remains far behind India with just $300-million in software and IT services business last year, compared to $12.8-billion in India . Pakistan faces major hurdles in trying to attract outsourcing IT work. Security is of concern to Western executives, who are cautious about trusting sensitive data to a troubled country. And the country may face a shortage of IT workers: currently 75,000 people work in the sector, and projections are that 7000 more may be needed each year. But the country’s tech schools are producing only 1000 well qualified graduates a year. The country is working to fix these problems. (See  

Japan mulls workforce goals for women – A government advisory committee has suggested that Japan ’s publicly supported universities and labs set targets for hiring more women, and that the government monitor their progress and publicize the results. As reported by Dennis Normile in the April 22nd Science, the idea is to encourage – and perhaps even embarrass – authorities into lifting Japan from last place among industrialized countries in the employment of women scientists. Current statistics show that women make up only 11.6% of the country’s R&D workforce – compared to over 40% in Portugal and 26% in the US . Women see male attitudes about women being unsuitable for science as a major obstacle. (See

More visas allowed in US – Immigration officials in the US have increased the number of H-1B visas to be allowed this year, according to a brief note in the May 5th Washington Post. US businesses can submit applications for an additional 20,000 such visas – but limited to foreign skilled workers with advanced degrees from US institutions. (See

Quality lures software outsourcing – India became a software outsourcing hub by reassuring multinational clients it could compete on quality as well as cost. Now, according to an article in the May 5th Wall Street Journal by Nicholas Zamiska, that quality movement is rapidly spreading around the globe as other countries pursue the same strategy. The gold standard in the quality-certification business is the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), which sets out specific steps for an effective development process to be completed. These standards are now being employed in countries as diverse as China , Chile , Egypt and Vietnam to chip away at India ’s outsourcing empire. The approval process can take anywhere from a week to a few months, but some companies spend a year or more overhauling their entire software development process in preparation. (See   


6 – Journals

International Journal of Engineering Education – The current journal (Vol. 21, No. 2) contains a special issue on “The Entrepreneurial Engineer: Educating Tomorrow’s Innovator”, edited by John Feland of Stanford University . Nine major papers on this theme cover engineers as entrepreneurs and innovators, weaving innovation into engineering education, E-teams, and descriptions of entrepreneurship programs at several universities. In addition, the current journal includes a dozen papers on a variety of engineering education topics, including internationalization of the undergraduate engineering program, course improvement through multiple assessments, and innovative course developments. (See

Journal of Engineering Education – The April 2005 issue of this ASEE sponsored journal includes eight papers, and a guest editorial by current ASEE President Sherra Kerns. Topics include apprenticeships, self-directed learning, engineering ethics in the curriculum, student entrepreneurial skills, guided research, experiences of African- American engineering students, student assessment, and learning communities. (See

Global Journal of Engineering Education – The current issue of the journal of the UNESCO International Centre for Engineering Education (Vol. 9, No. 1) includes ten papers which were designated ‘best papers’ at  two recent UICEE conferences. Topics include engineering communications, computer mathematics, active learning, accreditation and quality assurance, environmental engineering education, academic practice abroad, impact of engineering solutions on society, and professional engineering in a knowledge organization. (See 

IEEE Transactions on Education – The May 2005 issue includes a guest editorial on engineering education and the Bologna Declaration, and sixteen papers. Topics include advanced computer architecture, teaching telecommunications, parallel database systems, motivating non-majors in computer science, web-based education, reconfigurable systems, distance education on the Internet, ethical issues in engineering, and telemedicine. (See

7 - Meetings

International engineering education colloquium – The eighth annual Colloquium on International Engineering Education, organized by the University of Rhode Island International Engineering Program and the Georgia Institute of Technology, will take place in Atlanta on 10-13 November 2005. With a focus on strategies and techniques for preparing young engineers for the global workplace, the meeting will bring together educators and members of the private and public sectors for information sharing and building an agenda for the internationalization of engineering education. (See

Capacity building in southern Africa – Engineers and policy makers from 15 countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March for a workshop on capacity building and the use of best practices in sustainable water supply and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa, according to an article in the April 2005 ASCE News. Organized by the African Engineers Forum, the workshop addressed what it will take to get potable water within the reach of a huge population in the region currently without it – including capturing rainfall, drilling wells, and redirecting rivers. Also explored were options for replacing pit latrines in villages and smaller towns, such as spot sanitation plants. In addition to technical concerns, the group addressed policy issues relevant to funding and implementing projects. One of the editors of this Digest, Russel Jones, participated in his role as chairman of the Capacity Building Committee of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations. (See    

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