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ate students who come over here, a goodly portion of them do stay. In the absence of them, the teaching faculty situation is going to be even worse.
Mr. Dunn. I would agree with that. People tell me we won't lose them.
Mr. GAITHER. The problem is we don't have enough of any of them.
Mr. Dunn. We aren't going to lose any, but maybe gain $2,000 per student, $1,600,000 extra cash. You haven't made an argument against that kind of a program.
Mr. GAITHER. That's probably a good idea, except for one thing. If they are the only graduate students available, they are not going to be paying it, anyway. With the exception of those directly supported by industry, they are not paying their own tuition, anyway. They are being paid by the research contracts that we are working
You are right. Charging $2,000 more, that might do something. It will reduce probably their numbers somewhat. That has to be done institution by institution.
Mr. Dunn. I said it was a nongovernmental solution. Mr. GAITHER. If you are MIT and you say I don't have enough graduate students here, so I'm going to get them from anywhere I can because if I don't, Stanford is going to take over the operation and get more Government contracts than we do. It is competitive.
Mr. Dunn. Do you like the idea of the American taxpayer subsidizing foreign students?
Mr. GAITHER. No.
Mr. GEILS. Your notion has been tried sporadically around the country. A year ago at MIT, a large number of Iranian students applied for admission during the height of the hostage crisis. The MIT people were concerned. They said we will admit them. They are qualified intellectually and by training, but we will double the tuition.
They did double the tuition and they paid it, and it came from their Government and they were admitted. The major problem is that industry can cope with inflation and the university system cannot. We can go out and compete for the bachelors degree candidate and get the starting salary up to $25,000 a year. But, the State universities like Michigan and the University of Florida, they don't even pay $25,000 a year to an associate or assistant professor.
Mr. Dunn. These are Michigan State figures. These students are there right now. Michigan State University, one university, $1,600,000, divided among the professors. We could pay one guy the $1,600,000. [Laughter.]
Dr. FROSCH. I wanted to make one comment. I do not know how this applies to the situation in Michigan. But, a number of deans of engineering and State universities have voiced the complaint that part of their difficulty is the extent to which the operation of the engineering school is tied to the same detailed rules of operation as the rest of the university, and in fact, tied by the statutes of the State legislature, so that faced with the possibility of innovative schemes like that, in some cases they are in fact statutorily barred from charging different students at different tuition rates.
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But perhaps more important than that, they are likely to be barred by the rules of the university and the legislature from paying different faculty members of the same rank at different rates. That is, as I mentioned in my written testimony, universities tend to take a Gertrude Stein kind of view that “A professor is a professor is a professor.”
Therefore, they may not make distinctions between those in different departments. Of course, this tradition has been broken with regard to medical and law schools, but, it still holds with regard to other faculties and can be a particular problem in State universities.
Mr. Dunn. You will never get an argument from me that there is too much government in education. I have no problems with that argument.
Mr. BROWN. May I elicit the support from the members trying to maintain the schedule the chairman set? I'm trying to call on the members in order.
Mr. SKEEN. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend the panel. As an engineer, you have covered the whole gamut of problems that have been apparent to a lot of us that are interested in this field. You covered them very well.
I would like to start off, and I will do this quickly, Mr. Chairman, asking General Marsh to repeat for me again what the shortfall or the comparative figures were between the Soviet production of engineers versus, I heard you say 300,000?
General MARSH. That is correct, sir, 300,000 per year.
Mr. SKEEN. Then you said that was five times what we do in the United States. Somewhere along there, I don't remember, I thought we were producing 2,000.
General MARSH. Those, about 58,000 to 60,000.
Mr. SKEEN. I have one comment to make. I think we touched on it late in the discussions. It is always interesting to hear, “is there a policy that we have developed?'' I don't know what kind of a contribution that is to you folks in professional engineering.
We had a policy on energy, and we haven't done anything about that. We had a policy on welfare and haven't eliminated all the poverty problems. We have probably added more to the burden than diminished it.
From what I gathered from the discussions, we have got more of a problem with education, basic education. I had written those words down when Dr. Frosch had begun his testimony because for a long time, it has been apparent to a lot of us that our educational system does not provide the kind of background that gives a student the option to choose whether they want to go into this kind of a field or not.
We want the students and we take a lot of the students from outside of the country. But, a lot of our youngsters are not equipped to make the option to take this step into the engineering vocational field. We are losing them because they are not equipped to handle it. They look over the curriculum and it is tough because the requirements in some of the basics, including some of the sciences, and we don't require them any longer. I wonder if we ought to back off and start with an educational policy. What do you think of that approach rather than talking about some specific
policy coming from the Congress involving the production of engineers?
Mr. GAITHER. I think I agree very much with you there. It is not so much a stated policy as it is a level of understanding or philosophy that pervades the entire educational system. I think we have gone though an era and may still be in it, in which technology and engineering, which is so associated with technology, is suspect by everybody.
I ran into that a very short time ago when I was trying to suggest that some of the turnaround and increase in productivity could occur as a result of increased work in robotics. I was asked whether I checked this with the unions. I hadn't, I must admit that. I probably should have because there are a lot of people that simply believe robots are only going to put people out of work.
Where we are right now is that if we don't have those robots, we are not even going to be in the automobile business at all. It is a matter of survival.
With regard to the preparation problem, we might ask ourselves the question why 50 percent of the students that start off as freshmen in engineering drop out at the end of their sophomore year?
We haven't answered that question. They are coming unprepared. That's quite right. They can't handle the physics and the chemistry.
Mr. SKEEN. Just the mathematics. We are producing cash registers right now that tell people how much change is due because we didn't teach them to make change.
General MARSH. One has to start with public support. I believe it is the parents, it is the school board, and you have to have a beginning to force that educational system to satisfy the needs of the society. So, I do not know that you can plug right into the middle of the educational system and solve our problem. That's what I was speaking of in terms of the commitment and public understanding.
Mr. SKEEN. I think you are right. I think you are far too late in the middle part of the program trying to plug this into the system. A graduate engineer is way too late. The problem is with our educational system, not just our technological system, and I
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For a long time, anybody who had connection with engineering or technology was suspect because you are the evil geniuses of our society and you are automatically suspect and we have denied our own technology. The field of robotics, as you have mentioned, as far back as my time when I considered myself past prime in the late 1940's, early 1950's, we were talking about robotics and the whole new era of computer technology.
We fell way off of it. We are the innovators of more technology than any nation in the world and we seem to take the least advantage of it.
I thank the panel. Mr. BROWN. Ms. Schneider? Ms. SCHNEIDER. You made a request for appropriation of funds and something like a team effort between industry and the academic community in order to improve education in the engineering field. I was curious if you had some idea as to where we might get those funds.
Mr. GEILS. A lot could come from industry, we would hope. We think some would come perhaps through these grants from NSF. There are some large State universities. We hope to get the State governments and legislatures to appropriate funds for running these programs.
I heard yesterday that the assembly in New York is going to work with industry in the State of New York to improve the quality and quantity of engineering education.
Where does the money come from? It comes from the people, one way or another.
Ms. SCHNEIDER. A number of us were getting concerned that you were looking too much toward Congress, and our pockets are empty about now.
Mr. GEILS. I understand that. I tried to say that. I guess I didn't say it successfully.
Ms. SCHNEIDER. What is really required as far as prioritizing engineering as a national goal would be obviously the power of the media. It is impressive. If the American Association for Engineering Education were to put on a media campaign in conjunction with industry and let those people know that there is a future and a need in the engineering area, I would think that it could go a great distance.
Now we seem to be floundering. I personally am looking for solid solutions.
Mr. GEILS. So are we.
Mr. GORE. Mr. Chairman, just briefly, I would like to thank our panel. I was here for the beginning of their presentation and had to leave and came back. So, I won't ask questions. But, I was very impressed with the statements that were presented and appreciative of the amount of time that each of these individuals has spent on this enormous problem.
I hope that our committee can help you in finding some sensible solutions for it. It is a much more serious problem than most Americans really realize. We have got to work together to solve it on a high priority basis.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. BROWN. Although I very much regret having to terminate the questioning of the panel, I think in fairness to our additional witness, we need to. Gentlemen, let me thank you very much. On behalf of the Chairman, who is presiding over the House, we thank you.
We will want to maintain close relationship with each of you in following up on this very important problem. Thank you very much.
I would like to call Dr. Lewis Branscomb next. He is a very distinguished scientist with a long career in government and indus
try, one who occupies a key role in the science and engineering policy matters that we are discussing. STATEMENT OF DR. LEWIS BRANSCOMB, CHAIRMAN,
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD Dr. BRANSCOMB. Thank you, Mr. Brown.
I come here today primarily to talk to you based on my experience as vice president and chief scientist of the IBM Corp. My responsibilities are to guide the scientific and technological strategies of the corporation in light of our long-term needs. That includes a lot of engineering activity. .
The National Science Board, in substantial measure in response to stimulation from you, Mr. Brown, has focused much of its effort in the last 2 years on the National Science Foundation's responsibilities in engineering. This committee is well aware of the reorganization which created the directorate for engineering to devote full attention to engineering and its associated issues.
Our board's membership includes a number of distinguished engineers, as well as scientists with industrial experience in the management of engineering.
The board issued a policy statement, a general guidance on science and engineering education, last June and approved an implementation plan provided by the NSF director which I would be happy to submit for the record. Of course, the Foundation can only implement this plan within the available resources, which are severely constrained and likely to become more so.
My experience is in a company which invests commercially generated funds to the extent of more than $1.5 billion a year. The great majority of it is invested in hardware and software engineering. My colleagues and I are aware of our dependence on the capability of our universities to attract, educate and prepare the people whose capabilities determine the strength of American technology. I have made five trips to Japan in the last 12 months, some of them with teams of experts, looking at the situation there.
We Americans should not copy their policies and institutions, but we would do well as a people to emulate their dedication to technological excellence as a key strategy in their quest for national security and economic survival.
I would like, if I may, to submit my prepared testimony as chairman of the National Science Board for the record.
Mr. BROWN. I would like to have you do that. It will be made a part of the record. I would like to have the previous report that you referred to, also.
Dr. BRANSCOMB. I would now like to speak to you as a private citizen.
The driving force behind our industrial performance is the economic environment. The President has placed highest priority on creating the incentives in the private sector for an aggressive commitment by industry to the creation of new jobs at home and economic competitiveness abroad. This economic plan, if successful, will create the potential for growth. It is going to take a sufficiency of well-trained, motivated engineers prepared to address the problems facing our country to achieve the benefits that we want from that economy.