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terms of the supervision and management of engineering work. They go into other aspects of business, and in fact into other professions. We need to consider whether, should there be a national emergency requiring a great increase in engineering talent, these engineers could be considered as part of the supply of trained people available to meet the emergency. This is a subject on which there is little if any good data. It will be clear from the forgoing that there are a number of aspects of the engineering profession and its role in society that are not completely understood. I have been a member of a committee convened by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to examine the possibility of a deeper study of the structure of the profession. I assume that Dr. Courtland Perkins, President of the NAE, will give more details on this committee, and on other related meetings convened by the NAE in the course of his testimony.
Let me now turn to some comments concerning the roles and problems of universities, industry, and government.
To begin with, we need to raise the question whether some of the problems in the university production of engineers might not be eased by changes within academic structure and management.
For example, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, most universities take the view that "a professor is a professor is a professor." By this I mean that they make the assumption that all faculty members, no matter what their field or subject, or the external demand for the students that they educate, should be paid and treated in the same way. Such an attitude clearly disconnects academic salaries and benefits from the variations of the market place for particular specialties. We already have two common exceptions to this rule in the way in which law and medicine are treated as disciplines within universities; it is common for the faculty in those schools to be compensated and treated by a different set of rules than the rest of the campus. The question must now be raised whether this is necessary for engineering faculty as well. To some degree some change already has occurred in some schools, where chairs and special situations have been arranged for engineering faculty.
It is also generally the case that engineering faculty has freedom to use part of their time and effort in outside consulting work. These opportunities, however, have usually been for the more mature faculty while some of the problem lies with the economics and quality of academic life for the more junior faculty. In addition, increasing pressure of numbers of students has led to heavier on-campus responsibilities, and, therefore, has made it more difficult for many faculty to find the time to do outside work. This increases the difficulty of academic life.
In an attempt to be certain that the problems of engineering schools discussed above were brought to the attention of the overall administrations of U.S. universities, in June, 1981 I wrote to 224 university presidents urging them to consider these problems and work with their deans of engineering to alleviate them. I enclosed a report, "Data Related to the Crisis in Engineering Education," issued in March 1981, prepared for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) by a special task force.
I would also like to call your attention to a 'report which I have just received: Engineering Education -- Aims and Goals for the Eighties; An Engineering Foundation Conference, a report of a conference sponsored by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology with the co-sponsorship of athe National Academy of Engineering, the American Society for Engineering Education and the Educational Affairs Council of AAES.
It is also legitmate to ask whether the traditional means of teaching are adequate, or whether new inventions and systems may be useful. While it is possible that some of the traditional lectures and examination systems might be conducted with greater efficiency, and other kinds of personnel brought in to assist the traditional professorial types, engineering education seems to require a high degree of personal contact with experienced and highly educated faculty, and a great deal of hands-on laboratory experience which is difficult to provide on a mass basis. Thus engineering education is likely to be constrained to remain manpower intensive, and the automatic methods used in industry for the production of things are not likely to be of great assistance in improving engineering education, although the use of computer interactive techniques might become an important substitute for some lecturing, and simulation techniques might be an excellant supplement to, and preparation for, intensive laboratory experiences. I believe that not enough has been done in the way of experimenting with these directions, but that they are extenders, not substitutes, for good faculty and good faculty-student contact.
I would now like to make some comments concerning the role of industry. Industry, which uses and depends upon highly trained and educated engineers, must take an important degree of responsibility in seeing that these educational problems are alleviated. I am happy to say that there are a number of indications, and activities underway, that suggest that exactly this is beginning to happen. Mr. Jack Geils will follow me with some comments on these activities, including those undertaken by the American Association of Engineering Societies, the American Society for Engineering Education and a group of interested industrial corporations and foundations. Dr. Robert Gaither has also been involved with several of the major engineering societies and a group of industrial participants. There is also new activity underway by the Association of Land Grant Colleges and a group of industrial corporations; I expect that the American Association of Engineering Societies will be involved in this activity.
Many industrial corporations have recognized that, while a supply of educated engineers has been available as essentially a public good, with only marginal involvment by corporations, the era of such an arrangment seems to be over. Industries must now take a heavier and more direct responsibility for the supply of these educated people, as they do for their supply of raw materials.
The responsibility of industry clearly involves the provision of some money for faculty salaries and for equipment, and the provision of opportunities for faculty and students to contribute to innovation and productivity in industry by part time and supplemental employment. In return for their ideas and work they would be paid, and would receive direct industrial experience which would be of value on the campus. Experienced engineers from industry could also provide a "reality view" from industry as part of the education of new engineers. There have been a number of discussions of the use of part time experienced industrial people (part time meaning either a portion of their time continuously, or a period of time spent on the campus) to supplement the cadre of engineering educators on the campus.
A movement for greater interchange of people and ideas between campuses the industries is building. This can be a great strenghtening of both the educational capabilities of the campuses, by bringing them together with the reality of the practice of engineering in the society in an ever increasing way, and an opportunity for industry to profit from the basic understanding of science and engineering, and the improvements in that understanding which take place on campuses, as well as from the innovative work of campus people directly.
In this connection, at its recent meeting on September 17th, 1981, the Board of Governors of the AAES adopted the following statements as an AAES position:
That the profession, through its practitioners,
That concerned employers of engineers cooperate
Recent changes in the tax laws, which provide some incentive for industrial giving of equipment and of research and development money, will, we hope, bring about an improvement in the situation on campuses with regard to facilities, equipment and money. In addition a number of extensions of old arrangements, and development of new arrangements for academic research and development work directly in support of industrial interests have been building. We hope that these arrangements can be made in such a way as to preserve the virtues of freedom of research and research interests on the campus, while providing a much better educational and research background for industrial development and production work.
Thus we see a great deal of activity, much of it still discussion, but beginning to move increasingly into new arrangements and relationships for provision of money and equipment, and for interchange of people and research between universities and industry. I can hardly regard this activity as more than the beginning of an important and major increase, but given suitable encouragement and continuation, it will grow into an important and beneficial new set of relationships. We must continue to push these new arrangements and to increase their volume and momentum. The need is very large.
Let me now turn to the role of government.
Government is itself an important industry employing engineers. Engineers and engineering work are essential to the work of the Defense Department, and to other departments of government including Transportation, Commerce, NASA and Energy. These departments use engineers both to do essential in-house research and development, and to provide essential knowledge for their work. As a consequence of this need, the government itself has a stake in the availability of suitably trained engineers: it is a consumer. It is a large consumer. The Statistical Abstract of the U.S.; 1980, Table 1079, records that the Federal Government employed 89,200 engineering personnel as of October, 1978. This makes it the employer of about 6% of all U.S. engineers. Thus, as the government faces the universities, it must consider that it too has a responsibility for the health of the machine that produces engineers, quite aside from its more general public governmental responsibilities. The government is in the position of a major employer and user of engineering talent. One of its roles in relation to universities is simply the same as that of an industrial corporation that wishes the supply of educated engineers to continue.
In addition, however, the government is a major purchaser of research and development, and of produced projects of various degrees of technology. In particular, the Defense Department has a direct interest in the health of the industrial and academic systems for doing the research and development which it requires, and for producing the weapons systems which it requires. The government has the responsibility for working with industry to insure the health of the system which produces the products which it needs.
The government has always had a specific responsibility for the health of public education; the basic system of education in the United States. Most of the responsibility for public education has been on the State and local level, but the Federal Government has maintained a responsibility for overseeing its overall health.
In the past, the Federal government has played a central role in engineering education as a principal supplier of the funds that made many of the educational activities possible. While this appears unlikely to continue with the intensity of the past, because of both current economic conditions and philosophies, the government may still play a crucial role with funding used to supply its own needs, and by playing a useful and supportive role through both its direct regulatory (eg anti-trust) and its indirect regulatory (eg taxes) activities. It should also continue to play a direct role in the provision of scholarships, fellowships, and direct support of education in fields directly important to the public good. We do not have a market mechanism for ensuring the supply of public goods, such as national security; especially when they depend on education and research and development which take long times to do.
Finally, the government has a role as an influencer of policy. It exercises this influence through the manner in which it levies taxes, the manner in which it regulates in various areas, the manner in which it controls business systems through anti-trust operations and in general by the way in which it carries out essential pieces of its business, including the national security. It is impossible for the government to have no policy influence, or even a neutral policy influence. Everything it does will influence the way in which business and academia behave.
The government must therefore adopt some attitude as to what it would like to see happen. A supposedly hands-off attitude will in fact not necessarily be hands-off: it is not enough to say "We leave it to the private sector" when the government inevitably takes some actions which influence the way in which the private sector operates. This implies to me that the government must have some explicit policy with which it deals with these problems, if only a policy against which to test such questions as the way in which effects of the details of the tax system, the goverment procurement system for national defense objects, the influence of policy on research and development, etc., affect the production and utilization of engineers and of technology. Attention to public policies that facilitate the kind of private activity that I have described above will be essential.
Areas of concern, although not necessarily for immediate action, include the possible effect of anti-trust attitudes in the Department of Justice on the possibility of industrial consortia and arrangements intended to assist engineering education, the effect of government patent policy on the relationships between industry, government and academia with regard to research and development, the use of research and development for the improvement of engineering education, the effect of procurement and other policies on the health of universities in both research and education, and the policy of government with regard to the publication of information on technology, especially policies related to the export of technology. Policy in these areas should be considered as affecting our ability to improve our technology, and the ability to use it for the improvement of our economy and society; the need for a suitable supply of educated people to do these things, and the need for a healthy educational system to produce these people.