Debra J. Saunders

 Not expound back to teachers what they want to hear? No wonder Engineering may be doomed.

 If they want to save their hallowed hall, the pocket protector set at the School of E should start writing course descriptions with more B.S. (and I don't mean bachelor's of science) -- and less promise of "a practical education that emphasizes applications" or a "solid foundation in mathematics and sciences."

 So the engineering profs need to dump words like: design, chemistry, physics, mechanics and projects (unless they're "group projects"). Replace those words with the scholars' siren songs -- "strategies," "addressing issues," interfacing with "stakeholders," "promoting change" and classes that put an "emphasis on personal experience." In academia, exercises are supposed to prompt students to "reflect" -- not, as happens in the School of Engineering, to "solve."

 Let professors with pens in their shirt pockets take a cue from the Urban Studies department. Henceforth, engineering course descriptions should promise to help students "identify crucial issues," to make the "electrical environment sustainable," to facilitate public transit and other "green" causes. Or ready graduate students to become effective citizens who can promote a balance between positive and negative forces in conflict in the global community.

 Then, let the Department of Social Engineering end every course description with the magic words: "Special attention is given to social class, gender and ethnic diversity in the socially charged engineering environment."


Debra J. Saunders


 
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