November 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

Woman scientist becomes German Chancellor -  Angela Merkel is the first female Chancellor in German history, according to an article by Andrew Purvis in the October 24th Time. Following several weeks of wrangling between her supporters and those of deposed Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the country’s major parties agreed to a coalition government with Merkel at its head. Germans credit the outgoing government with making the country a more tolerant, eco-friendly place, but with unemployment running at a post-World War II high of 11.2%, young Germans are more interested in finding jobs than saving the world. Merkel was educated in Templin and at the University of Leipzig, where she studied physics (1973-1978). Merkel worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences (1978-1990). After graduating with a doctorate in physics she worked in quantum chemistry. (See

UNESCO General Conference emphasizes education – Almost 4000 people participated in portions of its 3-week long biennial General Conference in October. Delegates from 188 member states recognized education’s intrinsic value as a human right and its fundamental role in the eradication of poverty, and acknowledged that UNESCO’s mission is to create learning opportunities for every child, youth and adult from every background in every part of the world. Upon his re-election as Director General of UNESCO, Koϊchiro Matsuura reiterated that education is the priority program of the organization.  A $635-million budget was proposed for the 2006-07 biennium. (See

UK’s Chinese bubble bursts -  The number of Chinese students enrolling in UK universities dropped 22.5% this year, according to an article by Tony Tysome in the October 29th Times Higher Education Supplement. The drop leaves a major financial hole in the finances of British universities, and reflects the first time that the UK has lost the lead position in the global market for Chinese students. Chinese students bring an estimated £80-million a year to UK universities. Chinese officials attributed the decline to several factors: the rising cost of studying in the UK , few opportunities to gain work experience, problems with visas, and lax standards at some partner institutions. The expanding Chinese academic sector is also reducing the pool of students looking overseas. (See

US universities still ambivalent about 3 + 2 Bologna model – A survey by the US Council of Graduate Schools tells us that US graduate schools are not of one mind in evaluating holders of the new three year undergraduate bachelor’s degrees from European universities that are following the Bologna mandates. When the Bologna Process was begun, and plans were made for a three year bachelor’s and a two year master’s, European educators did not take into account how their system differs from the US model, which consists of a four year bachelor’s.  Of the 125 US institutions responding to this survey, 37% said that they would admit students with the three year bachelor’s degree if they seemed otherwise qualified, while 22% said they would accept only four year degrees.  Only 56% of the responding institutions had a policy on the three year degrees, wrote Rebecca Aronauer in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

China luring scholars to make universities great – China wants to transform its top universities into the world’s best within a decade, and it is spending billions of dollars to woo big-name scholars and build first-class research laboratories. According to an article in the October 28th New York Times by Howard French, China has already pulled off one of the most remarkable expansions of education in modern times – increasing the number of undergraduates and people who hold doctoral degrees fivefold in 10 years. The model for luring top faculty members is straightforward: recruit top foreign-trained Chinese and Chinese-American specialists, set them up in well-equipped labs, surround them with the brightest students, and give them tremendous leeway. China is focusing on science and technology, areas that reflect the government’s priorities. Less emphasis is being placed on the liberal arts, which could spawn public debates critical of the government. (See

Payoff for Canada ’s research investment – The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has released a report demonstrating that Canada ’s investment in research in the past six years has begun to pay off in terms of increased value of research contracts and significant growth in the number of spin-off companies and patent applications.  Since 1999 the federal government has invested over 9.26 billion US$ in various research programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, graduate student support, and a permanent fund to offset indirect costs.  The goal of this effort, writes Karen Birchard in The Chronicle of Higher Education, is to double the amount of research conducted.  Additional benefits cited are the end of brain drain and an increase of international support for research in areas such as environmental sciences, business, and psychology.  (See

Tufts’ microloans: doing well by doing good – Tufts University (USA) is making use of a 100 million US$ gift to provide microloans in developing countries, thereby proving that this is a legitimate form of financial investment for a university.  The gift, writes Paul Fain in The Chronicle of Higher Education, comes from Tufts graduate Pierre Omidyar, co-founder of eBay.  The microloans will amount to about $600 for three months, and will likely carry a 5-6% interest rate.  Many of the loans are expected to go to female heads of households who can double their income once a bit of capital is available to them.  Eventually, Tufts students are expected to be involved in administering the loan process.  (See

Italian government to modernize academic appointments – After almost two years of debate, Italy ’s Parliament has approved a law to reform the status and recruitment of academic staff and bring the university system in line with those of other leading nations. According to a note in the November 4th Science by Susan Biggin, the most dramatic change will be the elimination of the “ricercatore” position, a tenure-track job for young researchers, currently numbering 20,000. Under the new law, young researchers will be employed on 3-year contracts and can complete only two contracts before they must apply for an associate professor position. The law will also switch professional appointments from a local to a national system and allow universities the autonomy to take on contract research projects and make ad hoc academic appointments. (See

From Marx to marketing – Central European universities in ex-Communist countries are competing hard in the global education bazaar, according to an article in the November 5th The Economist. Universities in countries once yoked by Moscow are adapting fast to a new global market, compared with their state-run counterparts in western Europe where change is resisted. Foreign students are interested in what these Central European universities have to offer: a European-level undergraduate degree with combined annual tuition and living costs of some €5000. At a cheap western European university, costs would be three times as much. Language is often removed as a problem by having courses offered entirely in English. And some Asians like the idea of studying fields such as business in countries where markets are still emerging. (See

Russian Academy agrees to post-Soviet crash diet – The Russian Academy of Sciences has compromised with the government in reconciling the scientific legacy of the Soviet Union with the realities of modern Russia, according to an article in the October 7th Science by Bryon MacWilliams. By 2008 it will close or reorganize dozens of its 452 research institutes and withhold funding from as much as 20% of its staff. In return the government has promised a 150% rise in state funding of the sciences, from $1.6-billion to $3.9-billion. The academy comprises only 6% of Russia ’s scientific workforce, but its roster of Nobel laureates and its commitment to basic research traditionally have made it the star of the country’s scientific firmament. (See


2 - US developments

Colleges protest call to upgrade online systems – The US federal government is requiring hundreds of universities, online communication companies, and cities to overhaul their Internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications. According to an article by Sam Dillon and Stephen Labaton in the October 23rd New York Times, the government says the action is intended to help catch terrorists and other criminals. Universities have protested, saying that the requirement would cost them at least $7-billion, while doing little to apprehend lawbreakers. The order issued by the Federal Communication Commission extends the 1994 wiretap law not only to universities, but also to libraries, airports providing wireless service and commercial Internet access providers. (See

USAID and higher ed organizations strengthen emphasis on development – On November 10 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and six US higher education organizations announced the creation of a new program, named Higher Education for Development (HED) to replace the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development (ALO). HED is designed to promote human and economic development through capacity building.  New initiatives will include an annual program focused on capacity building in universities in developing countries, planning grants to US institutions that offer assistance to USAID, and more roundtables to discuss important issues related to development.  The higher education organizations participating are the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges . (See

Engineers point to flaws in flood wall’s design as probable cause of collapse – Members of a team of experts assembled by the National Science Foundation say that a failure to drive sheet piling deep enough probably led to the collapse of protective walls around New Orleans, flooding many residential neighborhoods and surrounding the Superdome with several feet of water. According to an article in the October 24th New York Times by Christopher Drew and John Schwartz, geologists had identified a potentially weak layer of peat soil about 15 feet below sea level in the area while the Corps of Engineers was designing the walls in the 1980’s. Yet corps officials acknowledge that they did not drive the steel pilings – the main anchor for the walls – any deeper than 17 feet. Corps officials say it is possible that their engineers made a mistake, and in rebuilding the broken sections they are planning to hammer the new pilings three or four times as deep. (See

NSF Board suggests how to thrive under stress – The governing board of the US National Science Foundation has drafted a long-term plan for running the organization without the promised doubling of the budget, according to a note in the November 11th Science by Jeffrey Mervis. The Board’s prescription is to give project managers more leeway, and not let grants to large centers erode support to individuals. Congress asked for the plan after concluding that current economic conditions had destroyed hopes of a 5-year doubling of NSF’s budget which was spelled out in a 2002 reauthorization. (See

College leaders' earnings top $1-million – A survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education shows five presidents of private universities earning over $1-million in compensation in 2003-04, nine earning over $900,000, and 50 over $500,000. The latter figure shows a 19% increase from the previous year. As reported in an article in the November 14th New York Times by Michael Janofsky, the upward spiral indicates that effective college presidents are a hot commodity, and that governing boards are going to unusual lengths to recruit and retain them. The US Congress and the Internal Revenue service are examining the finances of nonprofit institutions, including universities as tuitions soar. Presidents of public universities generally earn much less than their private counterparts, but the survey also showed a jump in the number earning more than $500,000 – 23 for the current academic year, up from 17 in 2003-4. Some pay packages and spending practices of university presidents have become controversial in recent years. The president at American University in Washington DC recently resigned amid accusations that he spent large amounts of university money for his personal use; the board gave him a $3.7-million severance package. (See

US Congress set to reduce funding for physical sciences – The American Physical Society was angered by recent actions by the US Congress to cut funding for nuclear scientists by over 8% despite a National Academies report, written at the request of members of Congress, to increase federal spending in the physical sciences by 10% annually in support of technological innovative and economic competitiveness.  Jeffrey Brainard, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, noted that this cut and others in science funding came in tandem with an increase in earmark projects which are noncompetitive and seen as politically motivated.  (See

Presidents of colleges cite finances as main issue – According to a new survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, college presidents are more preoccupied with financial issues than with educational ones. As reported by Karen Arenson in the October 31st New York Times, five of the top six concerns they cited related to money: rising health care costs, rising tuition, financial aid, technology costs, and inadequate faculty salaries. The sixth was retaining students. More than half of the presidents (53%) said they spent part of each day on fund raising, and the next most mentioned daily activity was budget and finance matters (44%). Only 41% said they dealt with educational leadership on a daily basis, and only 28% said they attended to student life matters every day. (See


3 - Distance education, technology

Control of the Internet a futile pursuit? -  As the reach of the Internet has extended worldwide, an international political battle over its control has arisen, according to an article by John Markoff in the November 14th Wall Street Journal. A major issue is whether US control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) should evolve toward international control. ICANN says that it is advised by more than 80 nations and has had citizens of many countries on its board, but it operates under a memorandum of understanding with the US Commerce Department. The Bush administration has taken the position that the US has the right to maintain oversight of ICANN indefinitely. Network designers believe that the very structure of the Internet makes it anathema to the top-down control that governments have traditionally exercised over earlier communications networks. (See

Other nations hope to loosen US grip on Internet – The Internet has become critical to world commerce and communication, according to an article by Victoria Shannon in the November 15th New York Times. Four years of high-level talks on Internet governance have drawn a clear distinction between the US position that the Internet works fine as it is – largely under US control – and the rest of the world. This issue went into the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) as the central topic for discussion. The European Union and several other countries are calling for a new intergovernmental body to set the principles for running the Internet, while the US position dismisses the idea of “top down” control as opposed to the current private-sector-led “bottoms up” approach. (See

US fights to keep control of global Internet oversight – At the World Summit on the Information Society, the US has fought back complaints by a host of nations and has retained oversight of the technical underpinnings of the Internet, according to an article in the November 16th Wall Street Journal by John Miller and Christopher Rhoads. At the same time, the US agreed to create a forum to discuss an array of Internet policy issues. The first such forum will be held in Greece during the first half of next year. But even with that agreement, “there is no change in the status quo” regarding the governing of the Internet, according to the head of the US delegation attending the Summit . A US official called the debate a distraction from the Internet’s bigger problems, which include spam, security, and cyber terrorism. (See See also “US retains control of global Internet – for now”, by Frances Williams in the November 17th Financial Times ( 

Students prefer high tech AND high touch – A survey of over 18,000 US college freshmen and seniors at 63 institutions has revealed that students prefer a combination of high tech and high touch in their courses.  41% of the respondents said they preferred a moderate use of technology in their classes, with 26% wanting limited use, and 27% voting for extensive use.  Students value their interaction with their professors and among themselves.  They see convenience and connectedness – in that order – as the two primary benefits of instructional technology.  Of the students responding, 96% own one or more computers, and almost all of the students said they used the computer for writing, e-mail and Web surfing, reports Vincent Kiernan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Low cost laptop to bridge digital divide – A $100 notebook computer developed for students in developing countries has been unveiled at the World Summit on the Information Society, according to an article in the November 17th Financial Times by Maija Palmer. The prototype has hand-cranked power for areas where there is no electricity, a dual mode screen that can switch from color to black-and-white to make it easier to view in bright sunlight, free Linux software, wi-fi connectivity, and a flash memory rather than a hard drive. It was designed at the MIT Media Lab with support from Google, AMD, Rupert Murdoch and other sponsors. It will be sold only to ministries of education in poor countries. This laptop is the latest in a series of low-cost devices designed to bridge the digital divide: a UK non-profit group, Ndiyo, and an Indian group, Simputer, have developed similarly priced units. (See

Poor nations are littered with old PC’s – Much of the used computer equipment sent from the US to developing countries is often neither usable nor repairable, creating major environmental problems in some of the world’s poorest places, according to a report by an environmental organization. As reported in the October 24th New York Times by Laurie Flynn, the report written by the Basel Action Group alleges that the unusable equipment is being sent to developing nations as a way to dodge the expense of having to recycle it properly. According to the National Safety Council, more than 63-million computers in the US will become obsolete in 2005. An average computer monitor can contain as much as eight pounds of lead, along with plastics which can be harmful to the environment and to humans. The new report contends that Americans may be lulled into thinking that their old computers are being put to good use. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

ABET study indicates graduates have improved – Engineering graduates in 2004 were better qualified to enter the profession than were students who graduated in 1994, according to a study reported at the recent ABET annual meeting. As reported by Burton Bollag in the October 27th Chronicle of Higher Education, the three-year study conducted by the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University concluded that changes in ABET’s accreditation standards played an important role in that improvement. The changes introduced as Engineering Criteria 2000, phased in from 1996 to 2001, emphasize “outcomes” rather than “inputs”. The new standards depend more heavily on “soft skills” such as teamwork, oral and written communication, and appreciating the global context of engineering solutions. The study indicates that traditional technical competencies of graduates appear not to have suffered from the adoption of the new standards. (See

Women in engineering – The October 2005 ASEE Prism is a special issue on women in engineering. Articles cover topics such as why medicine, law and business are better at attracting women; women and the tenure maze; and how women are helping each other. In addition, 2004 statistical information is provided on degrees awarded by gender, schools with the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women, and the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women by discipline. The numbers for degrees awarded to women are bachelors 20.3%, master’s 21.9%., and doctoral 17.8%. (See

Extraordinary Women Engineers Project – A nationwide coalition of professional engineering societies, universities and technology companies is developing a new program to attract young women to engineering and to keep them in the career. An article by Prachi Patel-Predd in the October 2005 IEEE Spectrum describes the Extraordinary Women Engineers Project. It is the brainchild of Patricia Galloway, past president of ASCE, in response to her observation that university enrollment of female engineering students was going down. The project has started by interviewing and surveying high school girls to assess what is keeping them from engineering. The study showed that girls do not choose engineering because of the perception that engineers lead boring and isolated lives, and that they want jobs that will make a difference in the world by affecting poverty, health care, and the environment. The project’s flagship book, “Women Engineers: Extraordinary Stories of How They Changed Our Lives”, due out next year, will challenge those views. (See   

Consensus on basic college skills – Despite a growing consensus on what skills a student should master in college, there is evidence that those skills are not in fact mastered by graduates.  This is the conclusion of a report, “Liberal Education Outcomes: A Preliminary Report of Student Achievement in College,” released by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  Good communication, strong critical thinking and the capacity for team-work are all basic skills, but standardized tests and employers’ comments indicate important weaknesses in them across college graduates.  The report recommends the development of multiple ways of measuring learning outcomes, and getting out ahead of the problem before the government intervenes inappropriately, reports Burton Bollag in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

Engineering gains a younger following – About a third of the 316 high schools in Massachusetts now offer an engineering course to woo more students into science and math and perhaps funnel them into engineering careers. According to an article in the October 15th Boston Globe by Tracy Jan, engineering is being added to biology, chemistry and physics as a fourth high school science class. The classes typically combine elements of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. Massachusetts is moving faster that other states to bring engineering into primary and secondary schools, as the first state to recommend that engineering be taught at all grade levels. Starting with the class of 2010, students will have to pass a science test to graduate. They will be able to pick a test in one of four subjects, including engineering. (See

50 million US$ requested to support study abroad – The Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program was appointed by the US Congress and President Bush last year to create a funding program in support of study abroad by US college students.  Currently, about 191,000 students study abroad each year.  The goal is to increase that number to one million over the coming ten years.  The Commission recommended the establishment of a national competition among individual students for fellowships of up to $5,000.  Along with that would be an institutional competition for funds in support of study abroad programs. About 88% of the $50 million budget requested would be spent on the individual fellowships.  Students would be required to earn at least three academic credits applicable to their degree program, and emphasis would be placed on studying in less traditional locations such as the Middle East .  The goal is also to attract more minorities and students from community colleges to participate in study abroad, writes Burton Bollag for The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

The real price of a college education today – College graduates in their 30’s could be the most indebted generation in modern history, according to a major report by Susan Berfield in the November 14th Business Week. Two major economic realities are at work – many students had to borrow serious money to attend colleges that are ever more costly, and many have accumulated thousands of dollars of very expensive credit card debt. Some 24.8% of this generation of graduates from a public college graduated with debt, averaging $8,226. For private colleges, 69.2% graduated with debt, with an average amount of $17,125. A college degree is now the minimum required to find a place in the working world that offers some job satisfaction and material comfort. But it does not offer protection against turmoil in the labor market as it once did. And real earnings for college graduates without an advanced degree have fallen four years in a row, for the first time since the 1970’s – down 10% since 2000 for college grads between 25 and 34. (See

Complex figures about international enrollments – Eugene McCormack, a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, attempted to draw together information on foreign student enrollment and US study abroad trends derived from both “Open Doors,” the annual report from the Institute of International Education, and the Council on Graduate Schools’ survey of graduate institutions, as well as interviews with leaders in the field of international education.  The article reflects the difficulty of trying to discern trends during a time when enrollments have been so broadly influenced by international events. For example, the total number of foreign students enrolled in US graduate programs dropped by 3.6% last year, while the number of new foreign graduate students increased this year for the first time since 2001.  An added complexity is that the yield, the number of foreign graduate students who actually enrolled after being accepted, was 38%, down from 43% a year ago. Currently the five countries which send the most students to the US are India , China , South Korea , Japan and Canada . And the five colleges with the most international students are the Universities of Southern California, Illinois at Urban-Champaign and Texas at Austin , and Columbia and New York Universities .  Experts note that while the US was making its visa approval process more rigorous, other countries were making their more flexible, some even to the extent of offering a green card to foreign students who earn a doctorate in a high-demand field.  The number of students coming to the US but not looking for a degree is increasing: this year’s increase was 22.8%. (See

New Carnegie classification system won’t replace the old – The Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching has just released an entirely new system of grouping US institutions of higher education.  The new system creates a large number of new categories for types of institutions, with individual colleges and universities potentially sorted in several ways depending on the nature of their programs. Under the old system, two institutions that offered a large number of doctorates would be grouped together, even though their undergraduate programs, for example, might be quite dissimilar.  Some of the advantages of the new system, according to officials of the Endowment, are better ways of looking at community colleges and the grouping of for-profit and nonprofit institutions.  While Carnegie has never ranked universities within the classifications they created, the famous U.S. News and World Report ranking uses the old Carnegie system as the basis of its groupings.  The traditional Carnegie system will not disappear, however.  It will be released in the near future with some modifications, says Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed.  The new system is available at  (See http://insidehighered/com/news/2005/11/18/carnegie)

U. of Michigan minority enrollments rebound – After 2003, when the University of Michigan ’s admissions policy regarding African-Americans was overturned by the US Supreme Court, enrollments of black students declined.  The trend was reversed, however, this fall, when the number of black students who enrolled was equal to the number enrolled before the court ruling.  University officials cited increased recruiting efforts including workshops for school counselors, appearances by the university president in African-American churches, and radio announcements, writes Anne K. Walters in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Speaker outlines disruptions, opportunities for higher education – A speaker at Educause recently cited revolutions that had already taken place and were disrupting business as usual for colleges and universities.  The growth of iPod, the persistent complex issues about copyright, the desire for content, and the availability of information through services such as Google are all making it clear that colleges which define themselves as providers of information rather than knowledge are facing extinction, reports Doug Lederman in Inside Higher Education.  The speaker, James Hilton of the University of Michigan , is optimistic about the future even while admitting that institutions risk being relegated to the sidelines of they do not change.  (See


5 – Employment

Shortage of engineers or surplus? – Many company executives say they are facing an increasingly severe shortage of engineers, and they are urging Congress to act to boost funding for engineering education. But according to an article by Sharon Begley in the November 16th Wall Street Journal, some unemployed engineers say there is actually a big surplus. The dueling perceptions of engineer shortage lie behind some big policy debates in Washington , fueling emotional clashes over immigration policy and the future of well-paying technical jobs in America . Last year the National Science Board warned that the US faces “an emerging and critical problem of the science and engineering labor force”. But a top demographer at the Sloan Foundation says “No one I know who has looked at the data with an open mind has been able to find any sign of a current shortage”. Employers say they struggle to find the right person for openings, taking long times to sift through large applicant pools. One problem is that older engineers back on the job market have not kept up with current technology. And “soft” skills, such as communication and teamwork, have become more important to employers. Many employers who contend that there is an engineer shortage today predict it will get worse over the next decade as baby boomers begin to retire. (See

Tech transfer on the upswing – A record number of start up companies emerged from research conducted by professors and students in fiscal year 2004, reports Goldie Blumenstyk in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  This figure comes from the annual survey of the Association of University Technology Managers.  In addition, there were a record 15,000 “invention disclosures” indicating that someone had obtained research results potentially leading to commercialization.  In 2004 licensing revenue was the second best ever, bringing in 1.034 billion US$, 20% of which was earned by two New York institutions, Columbia University and New York University, and much of which came from drug sales.  Most start up capital for new ventures came from personal contacts, including family and friends, as well as “angel investors,” rather than venture-capital funds.  (See

India concern to design IBM chips – IBM has announced an agreement with an Indian outsourcing company to become the first design center outside its own walls for its Power Architecture chips, according to an article in the November 18th New York Times by Saritha Rai. The availability of skilled, English-speaking workers at lower costs is prompting chip companies to expand in India . Design engineers in India are typically paid a fourth of American salaries, and clearly drawn intellectual property laws add to the attraction. The company involved, HCL Technologies, is India ’s fifth largest outsourcing company, with $814- million in revenue. It will pay a licensing fee to IBM for the use of its power technology and will split revenue with IBM when the technology is sublicensed to others. (See

Engineers have good job prospects in 2006 – Job prospects for spring 2006 US college graduates will improve again, report researchers at Michigan State University .  Nearly 50% of the 900 companies contact said they would be hiring, with majors in civil, environmental and electrical engineering, nursing and accounting, among others, in particular demand.  Hiring of new MBA’s is predicted to decline by about 10%.  Liberal arts graduates who know how to conduct research have good prospects, as well, writes Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education. (See

The new diversity – As companies do more and more business around the world diversity is not simply a matter of doing what is fair or good public relations, it is a business imperative. According to an article by Carol Hymowitz in the November 14th Wall Street Journal, companies wanting to sell products and services globally need a rich mix of employees with varied perspectives and experiences. They also need top executives who understand different countries and cultures, and executives around the world who intuitively understand the markets they are trying to penetrate. A wide swath of corporations do not realize that, however, and their numbers show management ranks and boardrooms which remain almost exclusively white-male enclaves. Companies such as PepsiCo, IBM and Harley-Davidson have taken major steps to add women and minorities to their management ranks, with good results. (See


6 – Journals

International Journal of Engineering Education – The current issue is comprised of two substantial books, volume 21 numbers 4 and 5. Part 1 is a special issue of 16 papers on MATLAB and Simulink in engineering education, edited by Ahmad Ibrahim of RCC Institute of Technology, Toronto . Part 2 contains 8 papers on engineering education research, environmental engineering, assessment, mechanical engineering, control engineering, and software engineering. (See

Journal of Engineering Education – The October 2005 issue of this ASEE journal contains seven research based papers on topics such as instruction in computing, gender bias in engineering education, development of professional identities of students, summer research experience, and indicators of student success and persistence. (See

IEEE Transactions on Education – The November 2005 issue is a special issue on web-based instruction, containing some 24 papers on the topic. Guest editor Rob Reilly notes that the special issue showcases exemplars of web-based instruction as a “modern technology” that has justified an imperative for developing increasingly diverse classroom experiences. (See

Change – The November/December 2005 issue contains seven articles on the changing lives of faculty, covering such topics as caregiving, work/family policies, attracting and retaining a diverse faculty, academic careers, the aging professoriate, connecting the university to the community, and collaborative work. (See


7 – Meetings

World Summit on the Information Society – The several year series of meetings on the information society, organized by the United Nations, culminated in Tunis on November 16-18. In an opening statement, Kofi Annan stated that WSIS was designed to explore how best to use a new global asset to improve the standard of living for millions of people, particularly in developing countries. The most contentious issue covered was the desire of many countries to have an international body take control of the Internet, which is currently overseen by a US controlled organization. Also discussed were issues such as open source software to allow access by poor countries, the need to assure accuracy of information on the Internet, and the need to bridge the digital divide between developing and developed countries. The meeting attracted some 20,000 people, and included a major exhibit of ICT hardware and software, as well as several hundred side events which explored a wide variety of topics. (See

ABET Annual Meeting – The annual meeting of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology was held in San Diego at the end of October. The primary focus was the report on a longitudinal study of the impact of Criteria 2000, conducted by a group at Pennsylvania State University (see summary in news item above). The ABET Board also unanimously approved a proposal from  its International Activities Council that ABET move from its current “substantial equivalence” approach to the evaluation of non-US engineering programs to doing full accreditation visits abroad, when invited. (See




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