September 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

UN declaration adopted – More than 150 world leaders approved a declaration on promoting human rights, combating poverty and terrorism, and confronting perpetrators of genocide and mass killings, as described by Colum Lynch in the September 17th Washington Post. The 35-page document is intended to refocus the UN for challenges on its 60th anniversary. Major topics covered included poverty and development, terrorism, human rights, war crimes, arms control, and streamlining the UN bureaucracy. Many provisions were scaled back because of disagreements during weeks of negotiations, however, and other issues – such as how to expand the Security Council – were put off for future attention. (See 

  Private colleges freed from admission quotas in India – A recent ruling by India’s Supreme Court allows private colleges receiving no government support to ignore admission quotas that apply to public institutions, beginning in 2006 - 2007.  According to Shailaja Neelakantan, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, this decision affects in particular professional programs such as engineering and medicine, where there are not enough seats set aside for lower caste and other specially designated people in government universities.  Private institutions will, however, be required to maintain fair and transparent admission criteria based on merit. In addition, although they may set their own fees, the government will monitor them to prevent exploitation.  Finally, private colleges will be allowed to admit expatriate Indians, but only if they pay higher fees which should then be used to help needier students attend. (See

  Aspirations and obligations – An article in the September 10th The Economist states that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals cannot be met, that some can barely be measured – and asks then what they are for. Citing a recent Human Development Report from the United Nations Development Program, the article reports that most poor countries will miss almost all of the goals, in some cases by “epic margins”. Extreme poverty, for example, will not be halved in any region except East Asia. The report calculates that by 2015 some 380-million people, most of them in Africa, will remain in the condition from which the UN’s MDGs promised to liberate them. The report goes on to suggest how the world should respond. Rich countries should offer more aid to poor ones. And the governments of poor countries should tackle inequities within their own societies. (See 

  Egypt’s universities edging toward reform – Egypt’s higher education is the subject of a study made by Katherine Zoepf and published in The Chronicle of Higher Education recently.  The reporter outlines the deficiencies in the system and attempts to reform it following the appointment in 2004 of a new higher education minister, Amr Salama.  Since 1971 university education has been free to any student who passes secondary school exams.  But the resultant explosion in enrollments has caused critical shortages of space, equipment, and faculty, all made more serious by rampant corruption and cronyism and the lack of academic freedom.  One of the trickier challenges involves making the courses of study more tightly linked to the economic needs of the country, despite the fact that unemployment stands at 11% and many of the most needed skills are those which do not necessarily require a college education.  The link between education for a more competitive world marketplace and preparation for greater political involvement in the country has not passed unnoticed.  “ ‘These reformers are really only thinking about making Egyptian youngsters more competitive . . . By giving people choice, you are also preparing them for the political marketplace,’ ” says Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a once jailed Egyptian-American sociologist.  (See

  French agency tries ‘Anglo-Saxon Style’ reviews – The new French National Research Agency is trying a revolutionary new mode of distributing funds to research groups across the country, according to an article by Martin Enserlink in the August 26th Science. It will fund research projects based on scientific excellence, a process standard elsewhere in the world. Previously, French research funds have been given in block grants to institutions and labs and then distributed to individuals, where being a scientist has often meant having a lifetime government job. The approach is controversial, with many researchers fearing that the approach will eventually cannibalize vaunted government strongholds of French science. (See

  Japanese universities: huge profits, but government cuts – In their first year operating as profit making organizations, Japanese national universities made profits of over $1 billion, writes Alan Brender in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Osaka University made the most, $64.5 million: only one, Gifu University which was building a new hospital, had a loss. But these profits came at a price: each year for the next five years government subsidies for these universities will be cut by 1%.  For universities which have been so heavily subsidized in the past, these cuts will hurt.  Furthermore, an analysis of the profits shows that large portions of them came from other sorts of government grants and very little from created efficiencies.  After having cut subsidies and merged some of its universities, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology is flush with money, and will have to fight to retain it and plough it back into higher education in other forms and incentives. (See

  Europe fails its young – The state of Europe’s higher education is a long-term threat to its competitiveness, according to an article in the September 10th The Economist. A survey of higher education conducted by the magazine shows that since the second world war, Europe has progressively surrendered its lead in higher education to the United States: America boasts 17 of the world’s top 20 universities, employs 70% of the world’s Nobel prize-winners in its universities, produces 30% of the world output of articles on science and engineering, and 44% of the most frequently cited articles. Developing countries now look to America rather than Europe for a model for higher education. The article cites several differences in approach that lead to this situation. US universities get funding from a variety of sources – businesses, student tuition, and philanthropists – whereas European ones are largely state-funded. America spends twice as much of its GDP on higher education as Europe does. And American universities are generally free to run their own internal affairs, whereas European ones are heavily controlled by the state. The article goes on to note that America is not the only competition Europe faces in the knowledge economy – emerging countries such as China and India have also recognized the idea of working smarter as well as harder. (See

  University of Southern Queensland closes Dubai campus – Australia’s University of Southern Queensland has shut down its campus in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in a dispute with the government over operational control, reports David Cohen in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The operation got off to a bad start when it turned out that the university’s president learned about the venture only by accident, which resulted in three administrators who were involved in the initiative leaving the university.  The program was ultimately approved by Southern Queensland, but problems flared again when it turned out that the government-supported Knowledge Village in Dubai, where the program was located, would not assume any financial risk, despite the UAE’s interest in making itself a higher education hub for the Gulf.  The university is making attempts to prepare a soft landing for students who enrolled. (See

  $200-million fund to aid education in Africa – A five-year partnership of major US foundations dedicated to advancing higher education and development in Africa is broadening in size and ambition, according to an article by Charles Storch in the September 15th Chicago Tribune. Since May 2000 the Partnership for Higher Education for Africa, funded by the MacArthur, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, have collectively given $150-million in support of selected universities in Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The partnership is being renewed for another five years and with two new members – the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The six have pledged to give a collective $200-million over the next five years to higher education in the seven African nations. (See 

  Perception persists that US visa process discourages foreign students  – At a recent US Congressional hearing on the general problem of weaknesses on the US visa system, speakers described the persistence of belief around the world that the system was a significant barrier to foreign students wanting to study in the US, reports Anne K. Walters in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  While pointing to an apparent successful turn around in visa applications from China, resulting from intensive efforts by US diplomats, perceptions created by the tightening of security after 9/11 are proving difficult to change.  Appeals are being made for hiring more people at both the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to speed the processing of visa applications, as well as for shifting the focus away from students, who are generally not a security threat.  (See

  India’s engineering faculty encouraged to put off retirement – In an article appearing in the Khaleej Times on August 26, it is reported that the All India Council for Technical Education has stipulated that engineering professors may now continue to work until the age of 70, in an effort to provide additional needed teaching power.  With industry offering such high salaries to engineers, few are opting to teach, creating a severe shortage of faculty.  As a result, more than 25,000 engineering seats were cut across India’s universities.  (See

  UK university leaders urged to cooperate in detecting terrorism – At a meeting of Universities U.K., which is comprised of representatives and executive heads of 121 British universities, Ruth Kelly, the secretary of state for education and skills told participants that universities must be alert to potential terrorist activity on their campuses and work with the government by reporting to police any crimes or potential criminal acts.  This message comes as more attention is being drawn to the fact that the most recent attacks in London appear to have been carried out by British born, raised and educated Muslims.  Wakkas Khan, the president of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, while agreeing that collaboration between universities and Muslim students was a positive approach, still has concerns about the potential for infringement of students’ rights, reports Aisha Labi in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  At the time of the London attacks, Universities U.K. was in the process of drafting guidelines on extremism and intolerance on campus.  They expect to take the attacks into account as they finish their work and publish the document later this year. (See


2 - US developments

  An American tragedy A special section in the September 12th Time explores what went wrong in emergency disaster preparations in New Orleans and adjacent areas as Hurricane Katrina approached, and what went wrong in government response after the disaster struck. Researchers have for years described what would happen if and when a megahurricane struck that city – broken levees, rooftop rescues, 80% of the city under water, toxic contamination pouring through the streets, etc. Yet city officials were supremely unprepared, and the Federal government has shifted much money and willpower to fighting terrorism. thus allowing emergency response capabilities to slip.  And after the storm had passed and the scope of the disaster was known, the response was slow and ineffective. “ A system that cannot airlift water and food to a community that’s desperate for it is a system that is broken”. (See

Corps of Engineers takes heat on levees – The failure of New Orleans’ famed levee system is dragging the US Army Corps of Engineers into a political firestorm, according to an article by Christopher Cooper and Gary Fields in the September 2nd Wall Street Journal. The Corps moved to the center of the story of Hurricane Katrina when it became clear that a 550-foot long stretch of the levee that kept the waters of Lake Pontchartrain at bay had collapsed. That collapse allowed a steady wall of water to flood New Orleans from the north, filling the city center with water as much as 20 feet deep. Two central questions are being asked: did the Bush administration shortchange the system in recent budgets, when enhancements were proposed; and did design or construction flaws in recent work on the system overseen by the Corps contribute to the problem? (See

Schools try to place storm refugees – Universities and school systems in other parts of the country have opened their doors to student refugees of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, but they face logistical difficulties, according to an article in the September 2nd Wall Street Journal by John Hechinger. Some 135,000 elementary and high school students are stranded, as are another 75,000 to 100,000 college students. Displaced school teachers looking for jobs to teach the displaced students where they now are often face different state teacher-certification standards. And residency requirements, and student-teacher ratio requirements, will have to be waived for displaced students. Across the country, many colleges and universities waived usual admission procedures to make room for students from New Orleans schools. It appears that no college students were harmed in the evacuation from New Orleans, and most are expected to find alternative campuses. The more vexing issue is how long it will take to get colleges in New Orleans – many underwater and out of commission – back up and running. (See

Scientists’ fears come true – An article by John Travis in the September 9th Science describes scientist’s predictions of what a major hurricane would do to New Orleans, and documents the damage actually done. A center at Louisiana State University had modeled how the city would flood and how many people would be unable or unwilling to flee (one in four), and was nearly 100% right in its predictions. (See

Big hurricanes more frequent – The number of powerful hurricanes occurring worldwide has nearly doubled in the past 35 years, according to a study published in Science and cited by Gautam Naik in an article in the September 16th Wall Street Journal. There is a growing body of research that links rising sea temperatures to the increasing appearance of powerful hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones. Climate researchers believe that human-induced global warming is the main cause of higher sea temperatures, and that resulting higher evaporation fuels the more powerful storms. (See 

Map of Katrina’s impact on higher ed now available to all – The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an interactive map of the areas in the US affected by hurricane Katrina.  This map, which can be viewed by non-subscribers, contains information about the effects of the storm on individual colleges and universities in the region, campus closures, the status of faculty hiring, etc.  (See

NSF posts Katrina-related FAQs for researchers, applicants  – The US National Science Foundation, among other funding agencies, has posted a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) in response to concerns of researchers and applicants about the impact of hurricane Katrina.  (See

Bush takes different tone at UN – In a pair of articles in the September 15th Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Peter Baker and Colum Lynch describe and analyze the presentation made by President Bush at the annual assembly of world leaders at the United Nations. In his speech, Bush linked the war on terrorism to anti-poverty efforts, and noted that the US shares “a moral duty” to combat the root causes of poverty, oppression and hopelessness that lead to resentment and violence. While he linked his campaign against terrorism to the anti-poverty agenda advanced by other nations, he shied away from adopting some of the specific commitments sought by allies. His demeanor on this visit to the UN, where he stressed international harmony, contrasted with past visits which were marked by bitter disagreements over the war in Iraq. His posture continued a trend apparent since the start of his second term – trying to reach out to a world that has been dismayed with the foreign-policy choices and actions of his first term. (See

US college admission test (ACT) reveals persistent weaknesses in math – The ACT, a college admission exam widely used in US higher education, is composed of four tests (English, reading, math and science) each graded on a scale of 1 to 36.  In 2005, reports Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the average composite ACT score was unchanged from the previous year, remaining at 20.9, despite a larger number of students taking the test.  Only 26% earned a score of 24 or higher in the science test, and 41% earned a score of 22 or higher in math. Results suggest that there are still substantial numbers of students who arrive at college unprepared for first year math and science courses.  (See

US college admission test (SAT) reveals highest ever average math scores A 2005 report on the SAT, the second major college admission test widely used in the US, reveals a record high average math score of 520 (out of 800), while average verbal scores remained unchanged from 2004, at 508.  Male students still scored higher than females in math, and Asian-American students have made the most progress in math scores over the past ten years, adding 25 points to reach 580.  This article by Elizabeth F. Farrell in The Chronicle of Higher Education also reports on the new SAT.  This year, 2005, is the last year for the old version, which will be replaced by an already-piloted new test starting in 2006.  The new test includes a writing component and questions on grammar and style.  College admissions officers are undecided whether the new tests will be an additional barrier to low-income students applying to college. (See

OECD warns US its education system is declining – The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is telling the world that the United States should be concerned about its educational system, reports Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Education.  Signs point to the US losing its dominance in science, to its being outpaced by other countries in the higher education of its younger generations, to persistent problems in both literacy and math skills, and to the disappearance of an elite group of math students coming up through the schools.  (See


3 - Distance education, technology          

NSF increases support for TeraGrid – The US National Science Foundation has added $150 million to the $98 million it has already invested in the TeraGrid computing network, reports Vincent Kiernan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  TeraGrid is a high speed data network that links eight institutions, 16 computing systems and six data-storage archives, and is powerful enough to perform over 40 trillion mathematical calculations per second.  Says NSF Director Arden Bement, Jr., “ ‘TeraGrid unites the science and engineering community so that larger, more complex scientific questions can be answered.’ ” (See

Open technology standards urged – A group of senior government officials from 13 countries is urging nations to adopt open-information technology standards as a vital step to accelerate economic growth, efficiency and innovation, according to an article by Steve Lohr in the September 9th New York Times. In a report presented to the World Bank, countries are urged to create national policies on open technology standards. The report comes as some governments are pursuing plans to reduce their dependency on proprietary software makers, notably Microsoft, by using more free, open-source software. The report states that government policy should “mandate technology choice, not software development models”.  At the World Bank, the interest in open standards mostly involves using them as a tool to help stimulate economic growth in developing countries. (See 

Internet2’s Abilene network to be replaced with HOPI – Researchers are pushing computer networks to permit rapid transmission of ever larger files, reports Vincent Kiernan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Improvements to Internet2’s Abilene network are in the works, prompted both by researchers’ needs and by the expiration of Internet2’s contract with Qwest Communications in 2007.  Before that time, networking specialists will conduct various experiments which should result in a better, faster academic service that combines the technologies currently used by Abilene and the newer fiber-optic network called National LambdaRail.  Working under the title of Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure Testbed (HOPI), developers will construct a network which would rely on packet switching, but allow circuit switching, thus increasing speed and capacity significantly. HOPI is not the only such project underway.  The National Science Foundation is supporting UltraLight, a high capacity fiber optic network, and the US Department of Energy is supporting UltraScienceNet.  These two networks will be connected to HOPI and to other networks around the world. (See

Educational software for pc dives – Once a booming market, educational software for use on pc’s has lost momentum, according to an article by Matt Richtel in the August 22nd New York Times. In 2000, sales of educational software for home computers reached $498-million, and learning programs for pc’s were seen as a booming growth market. But in less than five years, the sales have plummeted to $152-million. What happened was an explosion of new, often free technologies competing to entertain and teach children. With free games and learning sites now available all over the Internet, parents are finding that they do not need to buy software. And there is a pass-along effect – programs are often handed down among brothers and sisters because titles do not change much over the years. In addition, the nearly universal availability of computers in classrooms has made using home pc’s for learning less appealing. (See


4 - Students, faculty, education

The brains business – The September 10th issue of The Economist contains a major section surveying the state of higher education. It lists the world’s top universities – 17 in the US, two in the UK, and one in Japan. And it contains several major articles: why America’s system of higher education is the best in the world; Europe’s unlikely hopes to become the world’s preeminent knowledge-based economy; developing countries see the point of universities; higher education becomes a borderless world for students; universities have become more businesslike; and a more market-oriented system of higher education can do much better than a state-dominated model. (See

More women in science – A major report in the August 19th Science analyzes the progress of women in technical fields at US universities in the 25 years since Congress passed the Women in Science and Technology Equal Opportunity Act. It concludes that while there have been major advances, academic institutions are still not fully utilizing the pool of women scientists they have produced. In engineering, 15.34% of  Ph.D. graduates at the top 50 departments are women, but only 3.68% of full professors are women. At lower levels, 16.94% of assistant professors and 11.17% of associate professors of engineering at the 50 departments are women. The top 50 departments for each discipline are ranked by NSF according to research expenditures in that discipline.(See

Bundled software driving up cost of college texts – The US Government Accountability Office has issued a report declaring that the cost of college textbooks has risen at twice the rate of inflation over the past 20 years, and that bundled software and supplementary materials which 65% of professors don’t use are to blame for the increase.  A full-time college student typically spends $900 a year on textbooks.   The Association of American Publishers rejects the report’s conclusions, writes Thomas Bartlett in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See

Princeton grants automatic probation extension for new faculty parents – Responding to a recommendation from its 2003 task force on the status of women in the natural sciences and engineering, Princeton University has decided to grant an automatic one year extension of the probationary period for tenure to any man or woman faculty member adopting or expecting a child.  Previous to this, the faculty member had to request the extension, something many hesitated to do, writes Patrick Cole in an article posted on August 18, 2005 on The Boston Globe’s website.  Princeton is the first university to make this policy change.  (See

The college payoff shrinks – Detailed analysis of the US Census Bureau income and poverty numbers for 2004 reveals that the college educated are taking it on the chin, according to an article by Michael Mandel in the September 12th Business Week. Real earnings for workers with only a bachelor’s degree have fallen for four straight years, for the first time since the 1970’s. And the decline – 5% since 2000 – shows no signs of abating. Several factors appear to play into the decline: outsourcing of skilled jobs to China and India; wages held down by oversupply; technology getting easier to use, requiring less education; and hangover from the tech bust. So far, college educated workers have given back only a portion of the 10% increase in earnings since 1994. The change in real earnings for advanced degree graduates was an increase of 2.5% between 2000 and 2004. (See

Peering into your students’ minds – Beloit College (USA) has once again released its “mindset list” for the entering class of 2009, most of whom were born in 1987.  The list is meant to serve as a reminder to faculty that their new students grow younger every year.  This year’s list points out that for most students entering university this fall, “Al-Qaida has always existed with Osama bin Laden at its head, . . . Bill Gates has always been worth at least a billion dollars, . . . It has always been possible to walk from England to mainland Europe on dry land, . . . Scientists have always been able to see supernovas, . . . Irradiated food has always been available but controversial,  . . . The Hubble Telescope has always been focused on new frontiers, . . . Digital cameras have always existed, . . . [and] They have always been challenged to distinguish between news and entertainment on cable TV.” (See

US chemists urged to give graduate students more international exposure – At the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in August conversation shifted from the decrease in foreign students coming to the US to discussion of how to get US students overseas, writes Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed.  Chemistry in America is being held back, according to some, by neglecting to develop international expertise in graduate students, who need global skills whether they remain in academic life or take a job in industry.  Catherine E. Costello, a professor at Boston University, lays part of the blame on the professors themselves, those who have created curricula so strict that it is impossible for students to take a semester to go overseas for study or research.  Some say the situation is so critical that even one week programs or any amount of study of foreign languages would be of benefit.  (See

Women researchers disadvantaged in NIH funding – Women who apply for grants from the US National Institutes of Health receive only 63% of the money that male applicants receive, says a report from the Rand Corporation.  Inside Higher Ed’s reporter Scott Jaschik says that the National Science Foundation and the US Congress requested the study.  Neither the NSF nor the Department of Agriculture had such discrepancies.  At the NIH, about one third of the gender gap comes from the largest grants. When factors such as age, size of grant, institution, were taken into account, female applicants receive only 83% of what male applicants receive. Despite these warning signals, the Rand report concludes that there are still deficiencies in data gathering that make its conclusions only tentative.  The NIH is advised to gather more information to better determine the absence or presence of gender-related problems in its award of grants.  (See

Community and four year colleges told to work together on engineering pipeline – “Enhancing the Community College Pathway to Engineering Careers,” a report issued by the US National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council, recommends building more strategic relationships between community colleges and four year engineering programs for several purposes, including increasing the diversity of the profession. In 1999 and 2000 40% of the graduates from baccalaureate and master’s degree engineering programs had attended a community college, suggesting the strong link between the two sorts of institutions, writes Jeffrey Brainard in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (See http://chronicle,com/daily/2005/09/2005090806n.htm)

Why does college cost so much? – This fall’s probable average increase of 8% in tuition at public universities, added to double-digit hikes in the two previous years, means that tuition at a typical state university is up 36% over 2002, a period when consumer prices in general rose only 9%.  According to an article by Richard Vedder in the August 23rd Wall Street Journal, there are six factors that explain the cost explosion: rising demand, lack of market discipline, de-emphasizing undergraduate education, price discrimination, stagnant (or falling) productivity, and better lives for the staff. As a result of the increased costs, US college enrollments are not increasing as much as before, and the US is falling behind other industrialized nations in population-adjusted college attendance. And new forms of competition are arising – for-profit institutions, online schooling, more use of community colleges, and new approaches to certifying skills. (See


5 – Employment

Off-shore on-line math tutoring – A USA Today on-line article on off-shoring tutoring services begins with the example of a 45 year old engineering student at the University of North Dakota, taking courses on-line from his home in the Caribbean. He found help for his calculus course with a tutor in India. That tutor worked for Smarthinking, a US company providing tutoring services under contract to the UND.  “ ‘When I want help, I don’t care how I get it,’ ” says Jeff Bowman, the engineering student.  US public school educators are not so pragmatic: the subject of off-shored tutorial services is a very sensitive one in the union-controlled and community based US school systems, especially when outsourcing has already been scrutinized and often vilified so energetically in other sectors of the economy.  Under President George Bush’s No Child Left Behind legislation, many children qualify for free math and reading tutoring, which can be provided by teachers, church groups, not-for-profit groups, and for profit companies.  The for profit companies, although acknowledging the huge market open by the legislation, and the potential for exploiting the enormous pay differentials between US and Indian tutors, still are constrained by credentialing issues, security concerns, differences in culture and communication, and the overall resistance of US citizens to the notion of off-shoring their children’s primary and secondary education, reports Greg Toppo. Students don’t appear to share the concerns of the adults. (See

Indian outsourcing scores a milestone – A major Dutch bank has agreed to pay $2.2-billion to outsource most of its technology to five Indian companies, according to an article by Eric Bellman in the September 2nd Wall Street Journal. According to officials of the companies which will benefit from the contracts, this shows that the outsourcing spread is gathering momentum. To date, Indian software companies have dealt predominantly with clients from the US, with less than 25% of revenue coming from Europe. It is now anticipated that an increasing amount of future growth will come from Asia, Latin America and Europe, according to analysts. (See

Offshoring into Africa – An article in the August 27th The Economist explores whether South Africa can ride the outsourcing and offshoring wave. Last month Amazon, the online retailer, opened a software development center in Cape Town. The company chose South Africa because of its pool of high-calibre IT workers and good infrastructure. A recent study indicates that South Africa is well placed to benefit from the trend of firms shifting business processes to cheaper places, and that this could create 100,000 jobs in South Africa by 2008. Global demand for offshoring from US and British firms alone is forecast to rise from $10-billion now to perhaps $60-billion by 2008 – more than countries such as India, China and the Philippines are able to handle. (See

Undergraduate employment Students are in demand again and becoming increasingly choosy, according to an article in the August 20th The Economist. Recruitment managers say that they are seeing a far more competitive market for talent in graduating classes. Students who recently would have expected two or three offers are now getting as many as five. To gain a competitive edge, companies are arriving earlier on campus and are selecting summer interns more as potential full-time employees than as mere seasonal extra hands. Students – who do much of their research into future employers online – are heavily influenced in their choice of employer by their perception of that employer’s products and services.  (See  


6 – Journals

The Bridge – The Fall 2005 issue of the journal of the US National Academy of Engineering focuses on offshoring of engineering activities, with several articles discussing globalization, competitiveness, and concerns about outsourcing of engineering jobs and R&D. One article provides an overview of offshoring and the future of US engineering, noting that US engineers are in competition with low-wage engineers in developing countries. Other articles explore what will be needed to ensure US competitiveness in the global economy, globalization of R&D, and impacts of offshoring engineering tasks. (See

IEEE Transactions on Education – The August 2005 issue contains some 23 papers on approaches to the teaching of electrical and computer engineering. An editorial explores whether biology should be required in electrical and computer engineering curricula, citing the trend toward integration of the life sciences and electrical and computer technologies. (See

  Journal of STEM Education – The current issue includes four articles and a case study, focused on innovative educational experiments. This issue and all previous issues are available at


7 – Meetings

Adapting engineering education to the new centuryAs part of its annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering will sponsor a half-day symposium on engineering education in Washington on October 10th. The symposium is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. (See 

  Colloquium on International Engineering Education – The eighth annual meeting on this topic, organized by the University of Rhode Island, is focused on strategies and techniques for preparing young engineers for the global workplace. It will take place at Georgia Tech on 10-13 November 2005. (See

  Intertech 2006 – The ninth Interamerican Conference on Engineering and Technology Education will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 11-14 June 2006. Abstracts are being sought for papers on innovative approaches to engineering and technology education in the Americas, with a deadline of October 3rd. (See

  SEFI Annual Meeting in Ankara – The annual meeting of the European Society for Engineering Education was held in Ankara, Turkey, from 7-10 September 2005. One highlight was a report on the EUR-ACE project, aimed at promoting mobility of engineering graduates throughout the diverse countries of Europe via mutual recognition between country accreditation systems, presented by Giuliano Augusti of the University of Rome.  Another highlight was a presentation by Guy Haug of the European Union, describing the various major steps and impacts of the Bologna process, and the proposal for the creation of a European Institute of Technology. Claudio Borri of the University of Florence was installed as the President of SEFI for the upcoming term. (See 



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