May 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




            **                                                                                                                **

            **   Electronic conference on engineering education call for papers      **

            **                                                                                                                 **

            **   The 5th ASEE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education, to               **

            **   be held in Rio in September 2006, will conduct an exclusively                  **

            **   electronic conference over two months this summer as input to the           **

            **   live conference in the fall. Particularly invited to submit abstracts               **

            **   are engineering educators in developing countries who seldom have         **

            **   the opportunity to participate in face-to-face international meetings.         **

            **   Information can be found at         **

            **                                                                                                                **



1 - International developments

Canadian science policy review – The new government in Canada has issued its first budget plan, which places science and technology relatively low on its priority list. But according to an article by Wayne Kondro in the May 12th Science, the Harper government has said that it plans to develop a new research policy based on demonstrating “value for money”. In the meantime, the 2.4% increase proposed for Canada ’s three granting councils falls far behind the 5% increase recommended for overall government spending. Officials say they have no preconceived notion of how to determine whether a research grant yields an adequate return, but critics are worried that the exercise hides an attempt to gut basic research in favor of industrially relevant science. (See

China and the Internet – At present, the Communist Party in China has the upper hand in controlling citizen access to information on the Internet, but it is starting to sweat, according to an article in the April 29th The Economist. China ’s web-filtering technology has grown more sophisticated, and the ranks of its Internet police have swelled – allowing it to shut down or block web sites critical of the government. And the Chinese government has succeeded in requiring foreign companies involved in the Internet business to remove sensitive materials and services. But in the last three years China has seen far more extensive use of the Internet as a means for groups to share ideas online that are by no means the same as the Party’s. China now has more Internet users than any country but the US . (See

Chirac unveils high-tech industrial plansFrench President Jacques Chirac has unveiled plans to invest in six high-tech projects, including a European rival to Google, in a bid to secure France ’s place as a world leader in industrial innovation. Projects include an advanced light metro train, a plan to produce plastics from starch, a hybrid diesel-electric car, and a plan to slash household electricity use by 20 per cent. Carried out over three to seven years, the projects are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs. According to an article in the April 26th Khaleej Times, the plan has been received coolly by some French groups that see it as unwelcome state intervention. (See

Japanese education ministry to modernize graduate schools  – Over the past fifteen years, the profile of Japanese graduate students has changed, with traditional students, just graduated from undergraduate programs, being joined by significant numbers of foreign students and older people with work experience.  This explains in part the growing dissatisfaction with Japanese graduate education, which recently led to a significant overhauling of the system, writes Alan Brender in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Gone are the rules and traditions which supported domineering professors who used graduate students as personal employees. And graduate schools are under increased pressure to align their programs more to the needs of society and industry, instead of seeing graduate education as solely designed for creating the next generation of university professors.  (See

Dissenting views of Chinese higher education – Despite huge investments in higher education by the Chinese government in the past decade, which saw infusions of $225 million to Tsinghua University, for example, and an increase of students from 3.4 million in 1998 to 16 million currently enrolled, many insiders are saying that the system still is far from breaking with traditions of rote learning and over-emphasis on research to the detriment of teaching.  Critics say that students are pressured into taking too many courses at the same time, and that admissions practices, while designed to cut down on corruption in how students are admitted into higher education, favor political correctness and work against students who excel in interdisciplinary and creative fields.  Still, writes Paul Mooney in a major article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, even critics admit that change of the magnitude that China is attempting to bring about takes time, and perhaps within 15 – 20 years universities such as Peking University or Tsinghua will break into the ranks of the top 100 universities in the world.  (See

Indian government sets off protests with enrollment set-asides – The Indian government has set off a firestorm of protests by proposing to reserve more higher education seats for lower-caste citizens in government operated universities.  Violent protests have already broken out, led by students who say that, taken together, set-asides for members of “Other Backward Classes” and “Scheduled Castes and Tribes” would amount to 49.5% of university seats being reserved, too high in their estimation.  Institutions involved would include the elite Indian Institutes of Technology, universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University , and six medical colleges.  Although the proposal still has not been passed, clashes between protesting students and the police led to the launching of tear gas bombs and beatings, writes Shailaja Neelakantan in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Two Koreas build science ties – Some 200 researchers from North and South Korea met in secret in Pyongyang recently, according to an article in the April 14th Science. The unprecedented gathering was convened to discuss ways to jumpstart scientific cooperation across the divided peninsula. Officials from the South Korean organizations that sponsored the event say that they expect to catalyze joint projects in nanotechnology, information technology, environmental sciences, and biotechnology. The long term objective is to narrow the technological gap between North and South to make it easier to eventually reunify Korea . (See   

Chinese scientist accused of fraud – After having praised a researcher at Jiaotong University for a claimed breakthrough in creating a sophisticated microchip, the Chinese government now says that the research claimed by Chen Jin was faked and that the chip design was stolen from a foreign company. According to an article in the May 14th New York Times by David Barboza, the story of this 37-year old favorite son raises the question of whether China is pushing its leading thinkers too hard to innovate and catch up with the West. The researcher returned to China six years ago after earning a doctoral degree at a major US university. (See

Katrina aid from Qatar -- Qatar , on the Arabian Gulf , has donated $60 million in support of relief operations for Hurricane Katrina, writes Paula Wasley in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  More than half of that money will go to three Louisiana universities.  Xavier University , a black Roman Catholic institution, will be able to expand its College of Pharmacy and its services to poor New Orleans neighborhoods with a grant of $12.5 million, while Tulane University will receive $10 million in scholarships for regional students affected by the storm.  Louisiana State University will be able to help support 1,249 students with the $3.3 million from Qatar .  The gift was pledged by the Emir of Qatar, and decisions about its distribution were made by Qatar ’s ambassador to the US , Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, assisted by people such as John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University president, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, dean of business at Berkeley. (See

India ’s Silicon Valley suffering from infrastructure collapse   Bangalore ’s pre-eminent position in the global info-tech arena is threatened by a critical lack of commensurate infrastructure development in the city and suburbs, writes Sudha G Tilak in an article on, accessed on May 2, 2006 . An international airport with a 4km runway still remains on the books fifteen years after it was proposed; a $50 million highway connecting Bangalore with Mysore is seven years behind schedule and hugely over budget; and property for a ring road designed to alleviate severe grid-lock still has not been acquired.  The local government says things will get better, and accuses private industry of complaining too much.  Meanwhile, some info-tech companies such as Wipro have threatened to move out of the city unless improvements are made quickly.  (See 

UK seeking more students from overseas – British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently wrote an article published on April 18, 2006, in the Guardian announcing new initiatives to strengthen international ties between UK universities and institutions around the world.  He set as a goal increasing the number of international students in his country by 100,000 by the year 2011.  He committed £7 million to universities to help them attract new international students, and announced a collaborative project with India to support research, saying the project had the backing of industries such as BP, GalxoSmithKline and Shell. To support these initiatives, Blair also said that visa procedures have been changed to permit talented foreign students to remain in the UK for one year after graduation, and that employment laws will now make it easier for students to work and study at the same time.  (See

South Korean stem-cell researcher indicted – The stem-cell scientist who led a research team to produce findings that were later determined to be fabricated, Woo Suk Hwang, has been charged with fraud, embezzling some $3-million, and bioethics violations. According to an article in the May 15th Chronicle of Higher Education  by Lila Guterman, five other members of his research team face lesser charges. In January a university panel determined that his results had been fabricated, Science magazine retracted his papers, and prosecutors began investigating the team. (See 

Libyan students can return to US – The US State Department has announced the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Libya , writes Elia Powers in Inside Higher Education, thus permitting Libyan students to return to the US in numbers known in the past.  (See

China challenged by plagiarism – Plagiarism has increasingly been acknowledged as a problem in China ’s higher education, writes Paul Mooney in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  And there are indications that some small steps are being taken to stem the tide.  An official of China ’s Cabinet showed that 60% of a group of 180 doctorates admitted to having paid to get their work published.  And a scholar who is known on-line as Fang Zhouzi claims that he has found almost 500 cases of dishonesty over four years.  He even believes that 20 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences are guilty of misconduct. China ’s culture has long overlooked or even endorsed plagiarism.  In 1964, Mao Zedong stated that a good exam answer that was copied from someone else should be graded as equally good. And in an academic environment which emphasizes rote learning, regurgitating the words and ideas of a prominent scholar is sometimes seen as preferable to writing ones own humble thoughts. (See


2 - US developments

Industry shrinks academic support – After two decades of steady increase, industrial funding for US academic research is on the skids, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation as reported by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee in the May 5th Science. A cumulative 5% decline in the three year period 2002 – 2004 is the first ever decline for a funding source since NSF began compiling such data in the 1950’s. It reflects a slowing economy and shrinking company research budgets. Some fear that the decline will continue even as the economy picks up unless companies and universities figure out how to better share the results of company-sponsored research. University officials see collaborations with the private sector as an increasingly important revenue source, but they also want to maximize income from technologies developed on campus. Some industry representatives say that US institutions have become so aggressive in protecting intellectual property arising out of industry-funded projects that negotiating research contracts is becoming very difficult and time consuming. Some companies are transferring their research support to other countries, such as France , Russia and China , where such negotiations are easier. (See

K-12 situation critical – Study after study paints a gloomy picture of K-12 student performance in math and science in the US , the foundation of engineering. A major article in the May 2006 PE Magazine by Eva Kaplan-Leiserson asks what this means for the US , and what can be done about it. The author states that there are many statistics but only one conclusion: the US system of math and science education is broken, and not meeting the needs of the country for maintaining its leadership in science and technology. Several programs that are working well are reviewed, and legislation pending in Congress to address the issue is outlined. (See

Math and science degrees have fallen – The US Government Accountability Office has reported that despite an increase in college enrollments over the past decade, the proportion of students obtaining degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has fallen. According to a report in the May 4th Chronicle of Higher Education by Amy Rainey, the GAO reported to Congress that 27% of students received degrees in the STEM fields in 2003-04, compared with 32% in 1994-95. It also noted that the number of degrees in engineering, the biological sciences, and certain technical fields declined in the past decade. The number of graduate degrees awarded in the STEM fields also declined. The GAO testimony suggested increased outreach at the K-12 level, especially to female and minority students, and increased use of mentors to encourage enrollment in those fields. (See

Brains and borders – America is damaging itself by making it too difficult for talented people to enter the country, according to an article in the May 6th The Economist. Fears about national security and concerns about economic insecurity mean that the US is in danger of cutting off the vital flow of talent that has to a remarkable degree powered its high-tech industries. According to one calculation, 3000 of the firms created in Silicon Valley since the 1980’s – more than 30% of the total – were founded by entrepreneurs with Indian or Chinese roots. Bill Gates has recently warned Congress that the lack of visas and “green cards” for skilled foreign workers was threatening America ’s competitiveness, as other countries benefit from the international talent that US employers cannot hire or retain. What was not said is that big American employers can escape the long wait for visas by moving operations offshore. (See

Texan to lead math panel – Larry R. Faulkner, the former president of the University of Texas at Austin , has been named by President Bush to chair a national panel charged with recommending  how to improve the effectiveness of math education in the US . The panel is expected to address the debate between traditional math education – focused on learning tables and techniques – and constructivist math – where the emphasis in on exploring the concepts behind math questions and encouraging the use calculators.  A similar effort, the National Reading Panel, raised controversial issues about the teaching and learning of reading, and its findings have become key to the granting of $5 billion in federal awards in support of reading.  Stakeholders have expressed hope that the members of the math panel will be selected impartially.  Faulkner himself, a chemistry professor, said that he takes the position with no preconceived notions of how math should best be taught: “I see my role as that of a shepherd.” A big part of the problem of lagging math proficiency in US students is attributable to the lack of qualified math teachers in US schools, writes Diana Jean Schemo in this article which appeared on May 15, 2006 , in The New York Times. (See 

Prizes for breakthrough technologies – The US Congress is considering legislation which would establish a $10-million pool of money as prizes for breakthrough technologies. The “H-Prize” would follow the form of the previous privately funded $10-million Ansari X Prize which led to the first privately developed manned rocket to reach outer space twice, according to an article in the May 16th Inside Higher Ed by David Epstein. The proposed legislation would reward “transformation technology” over the next ten years, with four prizes up to $1-million for advances in hydrogen distribution, production, storage or utilization every other year, in addition to one prize of up to $4-million for a hydrogen vehicle prototype. (See  

Bill seeks access to tax-funded research – Introduction of legislation in the Senate that would mandate that US taxpayers have free access to the results of all federally financed research has intensified the debate on this controversial issue, according to an article in the May 3rd Washington Post by Rick Weiss. The legislation would demand that most recipients of federal grants make their findings available free on the Internet within six months after they are published in a peer reviewed journal. It is a rebuke to scientific publishers, who have asserted that free access to their contents would undercut their paid subscription base. (See

Earmarks obscure trends in science spending – Congressional earmarking of federal research programs has become so extensive that it can be difficult to tell whether spending by federal agencies for merit-reviewed scientific grants is rising or falling, according to President Bush’s science advisor, John Marburger.  The volume of directed grants, called “pork” by some, has reached a point where it threatens the missions of the agencies. According to an article in the April 21st New York Times by Jeffrey Brainard, earmarked funds often are for purposes that do not support the agencies’ work plans. (See http://chronicle,com)

American Academy of Arts and Sciences inducts engineers – Seven experts in engineering sciences and technologies were among the 195 new fellows and foreign honorary members announced by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April.  The new members will be recognized on October 7, at a ceremony in Cambridge , Massachusetts .  Six of the new engineering inductees come for academe, one from industry.  (See


3 - Technology

Degrees @ – Online university enrollment at US universities is soaring, according to an article in the May 9th Wall Street Journal by Daniel Golden. While overall higher education enrollment in the US is virtually stagnant, online enrollment is skyrocketing – and the recent repeal of a federal government rule requiring colleges to provide at least half of their instruction on campus will boost it more. By early 2008, it is estimated that one out of 10 college students will be enrolled in online degree programs. Public universities are driving much of the growth in online programs. They are overcoming skepticism and capitalizing on their traditional advantages – quality education at affordable process – to attract a nontraditional student body. Many of the online learners are from out-of-state, generating millions of dollars that can be plowed back into university operations. (See

Intel to offer global Internet access – Aiming to help close the digital divide, the Intel Corporation plans to announce a design for a sub-$400 educational laptop and a five year, $1-billion program to train teachers and to extend wireless digital Internet access worldwide. According to an article in the May 2nd New York Times by John Markoff, the moves are intended to bolster Intel’s reach into new markets, as well as to have an effect on the American market for computers in education. The company, which has already supported the training of some 3-million teachers, plans to support the training of 10-million teachers around the globe. The Intel plan will focus on full-featured computer systems with enough power and memory to run Microsoft software. Intel’s rival chip maker, Advanced Micro Devices, has backed the concept of Nicholas Negroponte at MIT to develop a sub-$100 notebook computer for educational use in developing nations. (See

Distance education update – Universities around the world have embraced distance learning as a way to increase student enrollment without having to build more lecture halls and dorms. And, according to an article in the April ASEE Prism by Nancy Shute, distance learning also appeals to working students and to their employers, given the opportunity to advance educations without disrupting the workday. Schools of engineering are often leaders in distance education on campuses, given their expertise in applying technology to human endeavor. For many engineering schools, the move to distance education has been a response to the needs of corporations which are anxious to offer professional education to their employees conveniently and at competitive prices. One persistent concern is the lack of interaction between instructors, students and peers. Teleconferences, e-mail and chat rooms are utilized to address that issue. (See

Fight for toll-free Internet – Universities are discovering that users of the Internet can hit unexpected roadblocks, according to an article in the April 27th Chronicle of Higher Education by Andrea Foster. Telecom companies providing broadband service may reject video feeds, for example, steering universities to their commercial dedicated videoconference lines instead – with healthy charges. Universities are concerned that such actions by telephone and cable companies could thwart college’s attempts to deliver education and collaborate on research over the Internet. Academe is pressing Congress to pass legislation that would force telecommunications companies to keep the broadband pipes that they manage open to any type of Web content or network application – even those that compete with the companies’ own offerings. Those pressing for this legislation call its principles “net neutrality”, meant to convey the idea that broadband providers should be neutral toward the content and services that flow through their networks. (See

Improved academic high speed network – When negotiators for the merger of Internet2 and National LambdaRail called off talks recently, leaders of Internet2 forged ahead alone with a plan to contract with an undisclosed telecommunications company to provide service for a new network called NewNet.  According to spokespersons for Internet2, NewNet would have two primary features: it would permit users to obtain increased capacity virtually on demand, and at the same time, it would relieve the network’s operators of the day to day responsibility of maintaining the fiber optic network.  National LambdaRail owns its fiber optic network and claims that this frees them to offer researchers service as it likes, without being dependent on an industry provider. Vincent Kiernan wrote this article for The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Blackberry e-mail to be offered in China – Research in Motion has announced that it will introduce its Blackberry wireless e-mail service in China , according to an article in the May 12th New York Times by Ian Austen. The announcement of a joint venture between RIM and China Mobile has prompted questions about how the Canadian company’s product would fit into the Chinese government’s program of communications surveillance and censorship. One expert observed that RIM has sophisticated encryption technology which may allow monitoring of e-mails sent through its system more readily than e-mails sent between pc’s, thus making it attractive to any government interested in controlling information. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

French higher learning clings to old ways – The recent protests against a proposed law that would make it easier for French employers to dismiss young workers has pointed out a fundamental problem with higher education there, according to an article by Elaine Sciolino in the May 12th New York Times. Universities in France are characterized as being factories that turn out thousands of graduates who have learned all about theory, but nothing practical. As a result of earlier student protests in the 1960’s, the country’s university system guarantees an almost free education to every high school graduate who passes the baccalaureate exam – turning out many more graduates, so that the value of a bachelor’s degree has plummeted. Compounding the problem, France is caught between its official promotion of the republican notion of equality and its commitment to nurturing an elite cadre of future leaders and entrepreneurs. The recent protests were the latest warning to the government and private corporations that the university system needs fixing. The fear of joblessness has led many young people in different directions. Students who have the money are increasingly turning to foreign universities or specialized private universities in France for graduate schools. And more young people are seeking a security-for-life job with a government agency. (See

Education for women in the Persian Gulf region In a recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, reporter Katherine Zoepf discusses the tensions inherent in current efforts to provide women in the Persian Gulf countries with a more modern and open education.  Zayed University , for example, in the United Arab Emirates , fired an American professor for distributing to her students the controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad, while several weeks later permitted students to organize a debate on the topic, and has not blocked internet access to the cartoons themselves.  Virginia Commonwealth University opened a campus exclusively for women in Qatar in 1998, and Effat College , a private women’s college, opened Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia , the following year. Gulf countries are evolving quickly and leaders know that they will need to draw upon the talents of their women, enabling them to take jobs across the workforce.  Many women students are still inclined to study in areas where they can take society-approved jobs, such as elementary school teaching, where they will not have to work closely with adult men.  So progress is slow, but the next generation should be vastly changed.  (See

Costly textbooks draw scrutiny of lawmakers – College students protesting high textbook prices are finding new allies in state and federal lawmakers, according to an article in the April 25th Wall Street Journal by Shearon Roberts. Virginia and Washington have enacted laws designed to make textbooks more affordable, and lawmakers have introduced similar bills in 10 other states. The cost of textbooks has received increased attention as some book prices have climbed above $100. A 2005 federal government study indicated that textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation during the past two decades. On average, college students spent $900 on books and supplies in 2003-04. The Virginia law directs public universities to discourage professors from switching to newer, more expensive texts that do not differ substantially from older ones. The Washington law orders state universities to promote textbook buyback programs and to give students the option of buying books without additional materials such as workbooks and CD-ROMS. (See

Design failures as learning experiences -- Henry Petroski, well known as an engineer and author, has written an article on failure which was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education in April.  Petroski believes that faculty must stimulate engineering students to confront unknowns by studying failure.  Examples abound, including the Frank Gehry designed Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, whose artistically sculpted design had to be re-thought when an accumulation of snow and ice came cascading down onto the sidewalk, endangering passersby.  Such a building in a warmer climate would not have posed that problem, so Petroski says that students should learn from such situations in order to provoke them to considering potential design flaws in detail. (See

Technological advances in inquiry learning – Computer simulations enhance inquiry based learning, in which students actively discover information, by allowing scientific discovery within a realistic setting. An article by Ton de Jong in the April 28th Science states that young students need to learn how to regulate their own learning, to continue to gain new knowledge, and to update their existing knowledge. The author defines inquiry learning as a process of exploring the natural or material world that leads to asking questions, making discoveries, and rigorously testing those discoveries in the search for new understanding. Computer simulations are suggested as a helpful tool in producing effective and efficient learning situations. (See

Deadly sins of professors An American university professor, writing under the pseudonym of Thomas H. Benton, has composed a list of the seven deadly sins of professors and published them in The Chronicle of Higher Education.. The list includes greed (as demonstrated by the refusal of senior faculty to support higher compensation and benefits of part-time colleagues); anger (cultivated for decades by faculty bound together in stifling departments); lust (which now perversely restrains even beneficial faculty-student relationships); gluttony (alcohol abuse); envy (social climbing, condescension, etc.); and pride (knowing more and more about less and less confers the right to pontificate about everything and anything). (See


5 – Employment, competitiveness

Watch out, India China is way behind India in the business of outsourced services, but it has now started to catch up according to an article in the May 6th The Economist. In one operation in Xian, China , rows of workers at computer terminals are processing medical claim forms from New York and car loan applications from Detroit , and marking exams for high school students in Melbourne , Australia . Xian is the home of one of China ’s biggest technology parks – a 35-square-kilometer Chinese Silicon Valley housing 7500 companies and supported by more than 100 universities that churn out 120,000 graduates a year, half in computer sciences. This technology park is slated to grow to 90-square-kilometers, and attracting outsourced business is a key part of the expansion plan. Chinese workers are well educated in basic computing and mathematics, and they are disciplined and readily trained, making them better at tedious jobs that Indians are. (See

Social Engineering – Writing in the April 19th Wall Street Journal, the CEO of Lockheed Martin – Robert Stevens – addresses concerns about the trends in numbers of undergraduate degrees in science and engineering in the US and its major competitors. He points out that for the aerospace and defense industry, outsourcing and offshoring are not feasible options. With an aging technical workforce approaching retirement, there is a looming tech talent shortfall. Stevens states that if the US intends to remain the world’s technological leader, it will have to act now to inspire more young people to thrive in advanced-tech careers. He cites the need for policy changes for improved math and science education, better teacher pay, industry involvement in pipeline programs, visa extensions for international students, and loan forgiveness. But he also cites the need for reshaping attitudes – summoning traditional American “can do” attitudes instead of hand wringing. (See

Red flag in the brain game – America’s dismal showing in a recent contest of college programmers highlights how China, India and Eastern Europe are closing the high tech gap, according to an article in the May 1st Business Week by Steve Hamm. In the world finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest in April, only one US team finished in the top twelve positions, with teams from Eastern Europe and Asia winning the rest. A Russian team captured the top position. The poor showing by US teams – which had dominated these contests until the late 1990’s – should serve as a wake up call for government, industry and educators in the US . The output of American computer science programs is plummeting, at a time when the new global powerhouses of China and India are graduating greatly increased numbers. (See


6 – Journals

Chemical Engineering Education – The Spring 2006 issue opens with an article on “Tulane: Katrina and its Aftermath”. The bulk of the issue is dedicated to “The next millennium in chemical engineering”, with articles on the chemical industry and the curriculum of the future. (See 

Journal of Engineering Education – The April 2006 issue of ASEE’s research journal includes articles on the globally competent engineer, inductive teaching and learning methods, problem solving, student perceptions of engineering entrepreneurship, and biomedical engineering ethics. The paper on the globally competent engineer focuses on working effectively with people who define problems differently. (See

International Journal of Engineering Education – The current issue includes 21 papers that cover the spectrum from gender studies to engineering education research and policy. Topics include competency-based education, case-based learning, engineering internships, the art of estimation, lab on the web, rapid prototyping, and software design. (See


7 – Meetings

NAE Convocation – The annual convocation of the US National Academy of Engineering and the Professional Engineering Societies was held on May 8th and 9th, focused on “Rising Above the Gathering Storm – Challenges to US Engineering Societies: Internal Opportunities and External Responsibilities”.  Keynote speaker was Norman R. Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, who chaired the National Academies Committee on Prospering in a Global Economy in the 21st Century. He described the findings of the committee study: science and technology undergirds the US economy, and leads to jobs; “death of distance” due to air travel and the Internet means that every job that is not place dependent is subject to global competition; and the numbers of college students in science and technology in the US are declining. Augustine then went on to summarize the main committee recommendations: K-12 education needs to be improved; federal funding for R&D in the physical sciences, math, and engineering needs to be increased; the US must produce more highly qualified scientists and engineers; and infrastructure issues such as tax policy and intellectual property rights must be effectively addressed. Several panels then discussed the role of engineering societies in enhancing advanced engineering education, in sowing the seeds through engineering research, in improving the environment for innovation, and in improving the K-12 STEM experience. (See

World Conference on Continuing Engineering Education – During 19-21 April, the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education sponsored a major conference in Vienna . Participants came from some 30 countries, with the largest groups from China , Finland and the USA . The 10th in a series of such conferences, this WCCEE included keynote lectures, award lectures, and several parallel lecture sessions and workshops. The next conference in this series will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA during 19-23 May 2008. (See



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