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It is Broke and it Needs Fixin’



The desire to reform the Engineering curriculum is a recurring theme in public speeches and essays, which are produced with some regularity by engineering educators and academic administrators. It is such a popular topic, that one wonders what will all the after-dinner speakers do if we actually did something about reform rather than continue to muse idly about it. One of their most favorite speech subjects – rousing but hardly ever meaningful – will be gone. Yet in spite of its high rate of recurrence, talk of curricular reform would not go away. One of the reasons for its continued popularity is that we have not engaged seriously in such reform endeavor in a long time. In fact, the last time we have undergone a major overhaul of the US engineering curriculum was in the 1950s (e.g., Wildes and Lindgren (1985)). Much of what happened then was a reaction to the purported lack of preparation of engineering professionals for World War II, as well as concerns about ongoing technological competition with the USSR. Since then, there was another major large scale effort, guided by the National Science Foundation in the 1990s, aiming to reinvent the engineering curriculum and address concerns about deficiencies in engineering graduates of the time. Though this effort enriched the library of courses and projects available at various institutes (see, for example, Gateway (1999)) it fell short of making fundamental changes in the way engineering curricula are organized nationwide, let alon

Year: 2010
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