To Practice Or Perish

by Dan H. Pletta, Prof. of Engrg. Mech.; Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA,
George A. Gray, Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Pg. 131-146

Document Type: Journal Paper


Professional practice of engineering must include the responsibilities to serve society as well as technical competence. The education of engineers must lead to practice in its broadest sense or the profession will perish. Priorities must be reexamined, decision making must be reclaimed, and education must be reoriented toward professionalism, encompassing leadership of and involvement in societal affairs to help established political priorities. No optimum criterion is given, but survey data are presented and references cited to substantiate the observations. Professional schools of engineering, independent of university graduate schools and staffed with faculties whose experience is adequate, providing 6-yr curricula with meaningful industrial internships, are recommended, emphasizing engineering practice rather than engineering research. An alternate plan might necessitate the establishment of such programs by industry with National (Society) Specialty Boards to accredit them and examining those so educated.

Subject Headings: Professional practice | Industries | Decision making | Leadership | Social factors | Political factors | Geomatic surveys | Faculty

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