Magazine article ASEE Prism

Opening Lines

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Opening Lines

Article excerpt

SEPTEMBER IS THE month for introductions: Incoming freshmen get acquainted with campus life and each other. Freshly hired instructors find their footing. At Prism, it's usually a tune to roll out a few changes. One of them is this From the Editor message, in which I will preview each issue's offerings and explain why we think they're worth your attention. Although recently given the editor's title, I've been working alongside a group of talented designers and writers at Prism since mid-2007, after many years as an editor and diplomatic correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.

Also new this month is a column, "Leading Edge," by former technology executive Vivek Wadhwa. He's a computer engineer and M.B.A. who now teaches and conducts research at several universities, advising startups on the side. He has a lot to say, and will appear in rotation with new columns by Mark Raleigh, an engineering graduate student at the University of Washington, and Debbie Chachra, associate professor of materials science at Olin College. All three respond to what Norman Fortenberry, ASEE's executive director, saw as a need to include a broader range of voices in Prism.

For first-year students who aspire to be engineers, their introduction too often turns out badly and they migrate to other fields. Fortunately, a number of engineering schools have recognized this and are revamping their first-year programs. As Associate Editor Mary Lord reports extensively in our cover story, "Seeing and Doing," the changes are many and varied, but all share a goal of getting first-year students so excited about engineering they'll persevere through years of demanding courses. …

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