Magazine article ASEE Prism

E-Mail: From Our Readers

Magazine article ASEE Prism

E-Mail: From Our Readers

Article excerpt


Thomas Grose's article "Opening a New Book" [February, 2004] contains many valid points regarding the problem of preparing engineering students for today's market. There certainly is some inertia among academics toward giving up technical courses in favor of more liberal arts courses. But I see that as only one small component of a rather large problem.

I find particularly offensive his repeated claims that engineering faculty are resisting these changes, especially the closing statement that change will only come "one grave at a time." All that does is add fuel to those politically inspired rants about requiring "accountability" of our public school systems, whatever that means.

I've never heard any of my colleagues bemoan the time our students spend on general education. As an adviser, I always encourage my students to take additional liberal arts courses, though they seldom can afford the extra time required.

Also, my engineering department recently voted to approve several business courses as technical electives. We are working toward a joint degree in engineering and business. This was in response to a survey of our alumni who realized they should have had more business preparation while in college.

The article failed to mention the alternatives available to all students at most institutions. One alternative is an arts and science program, e.g. in math, chemistry, or physics. These provide more hours in liberal arts, including training in a foreign language, time for more electives like philosophy, history, advanced composition, business, and the like. …

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