Education At a Crossroads

by Paul Tarricone, Assistant Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 10, Pg. 74-77

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Undergraduate education of civil engineers may be in for a change in the 1990s for several reasons: The profession is mired in image and recruitment problems, the curriculum is under fire and many students are opting for law and business. Ironically, the problem is magnified since engineers are expected to play a key role in solving some of the nation's major problems of the 1990s—from infrastructure rehab to environmental cleanup. But experts differ on what changes are needed. To repair the engineers' image, some say math and sciences must be stressed from K-12. Others say engineering education must begin well before college years, as early as first grade, through guest lectures and adopt-a-school programs. Still, others say the main emphasis should not be image rehabilitation, but a radical restructuring of the undergraduate curriculum. They call for more state-of-the-art, hands-on training and less classical theory. Finally, some educators say the solution lies in finding faculty with practical experience, who invest as much effort in their teaching as their research.

Subject Headings: Engineering education | Undergraduate study | Curricula | Civil engineering |

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