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Executive Summary The Panel on Undergraduate Engineering Education prepared this report as part of the overall effort of the National Research Council's Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer. The panel was charged with studying the academic preparation of engineers for practicing their profession. Summarizing the analysis of its research, the panel prepared findings and recommendations See next section. Its major conclusions are these: 1. Student preparation for college-level study of engineering should be substantially strengthened if the pool of students is to supply enough engineers of the quality required to meet the nation's future needs. 2. The growing demand for engineers will require that engineering programs attract a greater percentage from the decreasing number of high school graduates. The educational system also must attract increased numbers of women and minorities as students and as faculty in order to provide the number and quality of engineers that will be needed. Finally, the system must provide and draw from nontraditional educational tracks {e.g., transfer students to support the broadening of its pool of students. 3. To meet substantial current and future needs, the educational system must attract and prepare a larger pool of engineering faculty than is now available. 4. The content, pattern, and presentation of future curricula-e.g., cross-disciplinary studies closely related to current developments in 1

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2 ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION engineering and related fields must be modified to incorporate the potential of new technologies. 5. Engineering schools have great need of additional laboratory facil- ities and equipment, as well as needing a clear understanding of the vital purpose of study in the laboratory, in order to prepare engineers for experimentation in the field with the aid of new technologies. 6. Faculty acceptance of and funding for educational technology are necessary to enhance the quality of undergraduate education by using the many new pedagogical tools it offers. 7. Support for engineering from its users mainly business and gov- ernment has focused on research, thereby creating two major tiers of education:; 1 J research institutions and {2J undergraduate colleges. It is essential that a balance of support be achieved between research insti- tutions and the undergraduate colleges that educate half of the nation's engineers. Despite the extreme demands on our nation's system of undergradu- ate engineering education, the system has been remarkably responsive to these demands, although several severe strains have developed. The panel's findings of a shrinking pool of qualified students to respond to the growing need for engineers, of the weak attraction of engineering education for potential faculty, and of the outdated facilities and teaching equipment demonstrate a chronic neglect of the system. Such neglect threatens the economic and strategic strength of our nation through the next quarter of a century. In the section that follows, the Panel on Under- graduate Engineering Education presents its findings and recommenda- tions, which should guide the preparation of engineers into the next century. Findings and Recommendations 1. By 1992 major demographic changes are likely to cause a sub- stantial drop in the number of qualified students entering engineering colleges in 38 states. Half of all B.S. graduates now come from 45 engineering schools that have 400 or more graduates each year. Fifteen of those schools are in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Mas- sachusetts-states where the high school population will decline lay an average of 40 percent between 1982 and 1993. Twenty-seven of the 45

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3 engineering schools are concentrated in the 13 frost-belt states, which will all experience an appreciable decline in high school population. Compounding this geographic problem is the demographic projection of a 22 percent decline in the total number of high school graduates between 1982 and 1991. iSee Chapter 2. J If the flow of engineering graduates is to be maintained despite majordemographic changes, a verysubstantial effort will be required to increase the number of high school students who are qualified and motivated to study engineering. Both the tractional sources and the increasingpool of women and minorities must be nurtured to maintain the present quality of engineering students. 2. There has been a serious erosion of content and standards in elementary and secondary school systems in the last two decades. This problem is shared by the colleges that set the standards for admission and the society that prepares its children for life. In addition, there are critical shortages of science and mathematics teachers in almost every state. And half of the newly employed science, mathematics, and English teachers are not qualified to teach these subjects. This erosion, especially in mathematics and science, now threatens the base of the qualified engineering manpower pool. See Chapter 2. J To improve the qualifications of students intending to study engi- neering, the engineering schools and engineeringprofessional societies must actively encourage government and industry to join them in an effort to improve the mathematical, scientific, and technological con- tent in America's school systems. This effort will require additional sources of talent and funds. 3. Blacks, Hispanics, and native Americans are greatly underrepre- sented among engineering school applicants both graduate and under- graduateJ and in the engineering workplace. This underrepresentation has social, economic, and educational origins, the latter being evi- denced in grades K-12 by a loss of interest and lack of success in science and mathematics. Despite recent increases in minority enrollments at engineering colleges, the potential representation of these populations remains unmet, and once they are admitted, their rate of attrition is disproportionately high compared with that of traditional engineering students. Because a growing fraction of minority populations are in urban centers where many engineering colleges are also located, there may be a growing gap between the number of available spaces and the number of engineering applicants from urban areas. iSee Chapter 2. J Extensive efforts by schools, companies, and engineering societies are needed to bring more minorities into engineering. For example,

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4 ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION precollege programs such as those operating in a few major cities and regions of the country must be expanded and funded to prepare and motivateminoritystudents topursue college studyandcareersin engi- neenng. 4. Because few women studied engineering in the past, the profes- sion did not have access to a substantial fund of human resources. The traditional pattern resulted from social differentiation originating in the family, society, and schools. Studies show that women and men have equal aptitude for engineering education. During the past decade the concept of social equality has changed markedly; the number of women studying and practicing engineering has increased dramati- cally from 1 percent in 1970 to at least 15 percent of the engineering enrollment in 1984. As a result, both the size of the engineering pool and the quality of engineering students have increased. See Chapter 2. J To achieve the full potential that this human resource offers, col- leges of engineering, school systems, government, industry, and the engineering profession must continue to work to increase the number of qualified women who studly for a career in engineering. A key requirement is the need to encourage the study of mathematics and science by female secondaryschool students. 5. Enrollment capacity in several engineering disciplines is com- pletely filled. Restoration of elasticity in enrollment capacities is possi- ble through increased use of dual-degree programs and transfer pro- grams with community colleges. For at least two decades these dual-degree relationships between liberal arts and engineering colleges have enabled a few students, some of them from minorities, to earn B.S. degrees in engineering. See Chapter 4.~ To increase elasticityin enrollment capacities and diversity of edu- cational background of engineering enrollments, a pilot group of col- Jeges and engineering schools should be funded to demonstrate effec- tive structures for dual-degree programs. Experience gained from this pilotgroup could then be applied, if needed, to a widergroup of institu- tions. In auction, the experiencegained would be relevant to the often- debated model of preprofessional followed byprofessional engineering education. 6. Engineering "co-op" programs have traditionally performed a valuable role in engineering education. They help students focus on interpersonal skills that practicing engineers need. They also provide a motivational component, namely, a means to help finance a college education. In addition, they give students experience in the practice of

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EXE C UTIVE S UMMAR Y 5 engineering, an aspect that has been greatly Reemphasized in contem- porary engineering curricula. They have an important orientational value, helping enrich and focus the classroom learning experience. Despite their usefulness, however, these programs attract a small frac- tion of students; < 10 percents and traditionally suffer from fluctua- tions in the economy and inconsistent support by industry. See Chap- ter2.) To increase their effectiveness and enhance their role, co-op pro- grams need to be strengthened and made more attractive to students. A considerably stronger commitment from industryis required to elimi- nate the "boom or bust " character of the program s that reflects a fluctu- ating economy. If industryodopted a revisedposture toward co-op edu- cation and committed itself to a shared responsibility for the educationalprocess, a very significant And innovative dimension could be added to the education of the engineer. 7. About half of the B.S. engineering graduates come primarily from undergraduate-oriented colleges Those awarding about 14 or fewer Ph.D. degrees per years, which face severe funding problems. Since both government and industry focus on increasing their funding for graduate study and research, these colleges have been forced to depend on other, smaller sources of funding. Despite this vulnerability, industry will continue to depend on the graduates of these colleges for at least half of its work force. See Chapter 6. ~ If the quality of engineering education at undergraduate-oriented colleges is to keep pace with the quality at graduate research centers, these colleges must have access to special, new sources of income. 8. The current and persistent shortage of Ph.D.s and faculty of sufficiently high quality is a serious problem for engineering education. In some disciplines it is the limiting factor in both the quality and the scope of engineering programs. The economics of the marketplace lim- its the flow of the most talented students into teaching, yet the short- age of such talent is in turn a serious problem for the nation's economy. iSee Chapter 2. ~ In addition to support for graduate education, engineering schools and professional societies must create and maintain an active cam- paign to emphasize the advantages of an academic career. Industry, government, engineering schools, and professional societies must encourage and support master's-level programs, combined B. S. -M. S. programs, and release time to enlarge and develop the pool of potential faculty.

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6 ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION 9. Although the shortage of faculty will probably remain a serious problem, resolution of the issue of the Ph.D.- versus the M.S.-degree requirement for undergraduate teaching is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the tenure track is excluding possible sources of capable faculty. See Chapter 3. J Colleges of engineering should identify and utilize faculty other than those in tenure tracks military retirees, persons reentering or shifting careers, and adjunct faculty, and otherprofessionally qualified persons, with orwithoutPh.D.s, who welcome short-tern contracts or second careers. 10. The pace and character of technological change and the great increase in engineering enrollments in many disciplines require both promotion of faculty Versatility to overcome obsolescence, and relief from excessive undergraduate teaching loads. See Chapter 3.J Engineering schools must create specific faculty development pro- grams with shared institutional, industrial, and governmental fund- ing. 11. The increasing concentration of curricula on theory, combined with the pace of technological change, has resulted in a Reemphasis of the practice of engineering in the curriculum. Although part-time or adjunct faculty with relevant expertise have been used both to teach selected courses and to give regular courses when a faculty shortage exists, they have not been used to any appreciable extent to provide a practical, experiential educational component. j See Chapter 3. ~ Colleges of engineering and professional societies should promote the use of Professors of Professional Practice. This could be done by appointing either adjunct faculty or, preferably, full-time resident fac- ulty for specific periods of time. The cooperation and support of indus- tryin providing loaned staff are essential to achieving the educational goal of greater emphasis on practical aspects of engineering. The use in industry of regular faculty on complementary leaves would also sup- port this goal. 12. Although engineering education has been flexible and adaptable, as is reflected in the introduction of new subdisciplines, the combina- tion of disciplinary constraints, concentration in research funding, and peer perceptions has resulted in perpetuating considerable rigidity in the structure of curricula and in stifling educational experimentation. {See Chapter 3. ~ The ability of engineering education to adapt to change depends on encouragement and toleration of curricular and faculty flexibility.

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EXE C UTIVE S UMMAR Y Shared leaching across departmental boundaries should be encouraged. The need for educational experimentation must be recognized and given institutional support. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technologycouldplaya supportive rolein such developments. 13. New information-generating and -processing capabilities and the revolution in communications are causing continued, major changes in both the substance and modes of delivery of engineering education. j See Chapter 3. ~ The engineering profession should undertake a comprehensive study andshouldimmed~atelyimplementitsfin~ngs abouthowto make educational technology more efficient and how to improve both the process of education and the learning experience. Funding by gov- ernment, foundations, andindustryis essential to achieve this result. 14. The decrease in laboratory instruction in most engineering cur- ricula is educationally unsound. {See Chapter 5. J It is of primaryimportance that the role and significance of laboratory instruction in undergraduate engineering education be emphasized. Colleges of engineering must address this priority need and, together with industryandgovernment, provide the funding to achieve the goal of integratinglaboratorypractice in engineering education. 15. Laboratory equipment used in engineering education has deteri- orated over a long period of time. Governmental and industrial equip- ment-support programs have been sporadic, resulting in a serious mis- match between the need for up-to-date equipment and the level of support. Such support seldom provides for maintenance of equipment, which is becoming increasingly complex. [See Chapter 5. J A national program of government-industry-college matching grants is needed to address the problem of replacing outdated equip- ment and maintaining increasingly complex experimental equipment. Industry, academe, and the professional societies need to join forces in promoting tax legislation to facilitate gifts of laboratory equipment to colleges of engineering. 16. The aging of engineering facilities, including "l~ricks-and-mor- tar," is a significant and growing problem. The condition of these facili- ties is worsening at a time when the importance of engineering educa- tion to regional and national economic development is recognized. See Chapter 6. ~ A comprehensive government-industry-college program is needed to address the rapidly growing problem of aging facilities. The use of matchinggrants should be encouraged.

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8 ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION 17. The complete integration of computers into the curriculum will enhance the quality of engineering education, although this will require enlisting both faculty and administrators to create and imple- ment an effective policy. {See Chapter 3. J Faculty must weave computer use into the fabric of engineering curricula. Administrators must treat this incorporation of computers as a "mainlines' activity byallocating apercentage of the budget to the endeavor. 18. Because government and industry focus on research and grad- uate education grants, there has been a transition to a two-tiered config- uration of engineering colleges: research institutions versus "low- research" institutions. See Chapter 6. J If the program quality of low-research institutions is to keep pace with that of research institutions, faculty at the former will need to gain access to some of the facilities an d program s of the major centers of research. 19. Swings in enrollments profoundly affect the quality of engineer- ing education, the careers of the faculty who offer it, and the services and equipment that support it. Current enrollments, which almost doubled from 1977 to 1982, have reduced the vitality and balance of the engineering education system. Faculty are distracted from scholarship and pedagogical growth by overcrowded classes, and laboratories and facilities cannot sustain the pressure of use. j See Chapter 3.J Not only must engineering schools examine and use strategies that will maintain quality under the pressure of the demand for quantity, but they must also plan for the long term to maintain elasticity in the system by encouraging flexibility in faculty and other educational resources.