Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in | Create Account

Tomorrow's Engineering Crisis

09/28/2005 3:15 Kresge
Howard Anderson, William Porter Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan; Kristina M. Johnson, Dean, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University ; Sophie V. Vanderbroek, Chief Engineer and Vice President, Xerox Engineering Center, Xerox Corporation ; Tom Magnanti, Institute Professor, Dean of Engineering, MIT

Description: Wielding a provocative list of questions, Howard Anderson elicits strong opinions and concerns among his panelists around the future of engineering education and careers.

There's a broad consensus that Washington is apathetic toward engineering. While the NIH budget has grown from five to 30 billion dollars in the past 30 years, support for the physical sciences and engineering has been flat. Says Kristina Johnson, "Without the enabling technologies of quantitative approaches and analytical tools for the life sciences, you would not have the breakthroughs we're having in medicine 'This is a missed opportunity."

The panelists don't generally perceive the trend of offshoring as a threat. Jeffrey Nick suggests, "If we step up to it and embrace the fact that commoditization in all forms 'is just a fact of life and the sky isn't falling, we can go to a higher ground where there are new opportunities. Engineering is never a menial task." Says Tom Magnanti, "Societies become more mobile. That doesn't mean we have to lose the cutting edge or jobs here there's just a different flow to the people."

But the panelists' hackles go up over the lackluster U.S. performance in engineering education. China, says Johnson, graduates between 250 to 600 thousand engineers a year, versus 68 thousand in the U.S. Magnanti suggests, "We've got to work better at making science and math in K-12 accessible, more exciting." Johnson notes, "Maybe mathematics is the broccoli of curriculum. We have to eat it at every meal. ' We must require math every year. 'Otherwise, we won't have the students to sustain innovation." And, she adds, role models are necessary to recruit more women and minorities into the discipline. At Xerox, says Sophie Vandebroek, "We have many women engineers twice the national average '.Our C.E.O. is a woman, an African-American woman is my boss. 'We must find ways to change stereotypes."

What can be done to help engineering as a profession regain its stature in this country? Magnanti suggests a broadened engineering degree program to teach both the fundamentals and "provide a sense of markets and innovation," enabling graduates to take on more leadership positions. Nick recommends a focus on "teaching people how to be inventive and apply technologies from one field to another."

Host(s): Office of the Provost, Technology Review

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up now!

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated over 2 years ago

Created
December 12, 2011 21:06
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
1490 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

The War in Afghanistan: How to End It

The War in Afghanistan: How to End It

Added over 2 years ago | 01:11:00 | 3295 views

An Evening with Vikram Chandra

An Evening with Vikram Chandra

Added over 2 years ago | 01:22:00 | 1800 views

Contemplative Dimensions of Human Experience

Contemplative Dimensions of Human E...

Added over 2 years ago | 01:40:00 | 6636 views

Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist

Newton and the Counterfeiter: The U...

Added over 2 years ago | 01:03:00 | 4635 views

Total Awareness: The Real Revolution in Military Affairs

Total Awareness: The Real Revolutio...

Added over 2 years ago | 01:16:00 | 2315 views

Opportunities in Infrastructure and Built Environment

Opportunities in Infrastructure and...

Added over 2 years ago | 01:07:00 | 1984 views