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this national commitment in a more effective way than we have at the present time?
Dr. BRANSCOMB. I think it can be. The Board shares that view. Our policy statement which I referred to earlier specifically speaks to that issue. The Director, Dr. Slaughter, recommended that we initiate a commission on criteria for quality in science and engineering education.
Before launching it, we want to consult with Secretary Bell because he has just created a similar commission, and has some distinguished scientists on it. The statutory provision for commissions has the laudable characteristic that it directs the involvement of lay citizens as well as technical experts on such commissions.
I think that is something the Board will welcome and should take advantage of. Second, I would observe that the language as presently written could be construed narrowly to charter us only to address research. I would trust if we do undertake the commission in science education, the committee will agree that this is an appropriate exercise of this authority.
Mr. BROWN. I am reluctant to raise the point that some of the efforts which this committee has felt very strongly about, science and engineering education, the participation in a cooperative effort to upgrade the capability of the universities through enhancing their equipment needs and so forth has not been looked on very favorably by this administration.
I want to ask you if you feel that there is a possibility that we could to some degree elicit a change in the administration's view on some of these, if the matter is properly presented to the Executive Office?
Dr. BRANSCOMB. I think the question is most appropriately put to Dr. Keyworth and others. I remain optimistic that the administration's position is somewhat more flexible than some people might fear it is. I honestly believe that the administration is focusing its attention on the overwhelmingly difficult task of maintaining their defense priority and at the same time, balancing the budget. That is not an easy task. None of us would find that easy to accomplish. I fear that single-mindedness on that objective has deferred addressing in some depth the issues that you described. But, they must, I think, be addressed.
Mr. BROWN. I'm going to ask Mr. Harkin to take the chair at this point and continue with his questioning until we get a quorum for the business.
Mr. WALKER. I had some material I wanted to submit for the record. Mr. Chairman, recently, I had some material brought to my attention by the American Society of Civil Engineers which relates directly to the topic of the committee today.
I would ask unanimous consent that it be entered as part of the hearing record.
Mr. BROWN. Without objection it will be available from committee files.
Ms. BOUQUARD. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to insert my statement in the record. Mr. HARKIN. No objection. [Statement by Hon. Marilyn L. Bouquard follows:]
OCTOBER 7, 1981
ENGINEERING MANPOWER CONCERNS
MR. CHAIRMAN. I WOULD LIKE TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THE CURRENT JOB MARKET SITUATION FOR ENGINEERS MIGHT BE SERIOUSLY AFFECTED BY THE IMPLEMEN
TATION OF THE RECENTLY ADOPTED TAX INCENTIVES FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT,
IT IS MY BELIEF THAT NOT ENOUGH CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS
TIONS OF ENGINEERS AND ENGINEERING EDUCATORS.
PAPIDLY INCREASING DEMAND FOR ENGINEERS HAS CAUSED SEVERE "COMPRESSION" IN
BETWEEN EXPERIENCED ENGINEERS AND ENGINEERS FRESH OUT OF COLLEGE IS VIRTUALLY
MOST RECENT SURVEY, THE MEDIAN INCOME OF ENGINEERS WITH THIRTY OR MORE YEARS
TWICE EXPERIENCE IS ACTUALLY LESS THAN THE INCOME OF ENGINEERS WITH UNDER A YEAR OF EXPERIENCE. THIS IMBALANCE IS GROSSLY INEQUITABLE AND HAS DETRIMENTAL IMPLICATIONS. SECONDLY, THERE ARE MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND VACANT POSITIONS ON THE FACULTIES OF THE NATIONS ENGINEERING SCHOOLS, AND THERE IS A SEVERE SHORTAGE OF ENGINEERING PH.D.'S TO FILL THESE SLOTS. THOUGH THE COUNTRY SHOULD BE PRODUCING NEARLY FOUR THOUSAND ENGINEERING DOCTORATES PER YEAR IN ORDER TO SATISFY THE NEEDS OF BOTH INDUSTRY AND ACADEMIA, ONLY 2,800 DOCTORATES ARE AWARDED EACH YEAR. OF THESE, ONE THOUSAND ARE FOREIGN STUDENTS, OFTEN UNDER SOME OBLIGATION TO RETURN
TO THEIR OWN COUNTRIES AFTER GRADUATION.
THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT CAUSES OF THIS PROBLEMATIC SITUATION. ONE IS THAT
ENGINEERING STUDENTS HAVE NOT KEPT PACE WITH INFLATION, OFTEN REMAINING AS
REMAINING IN SCHOOL FOR A DOCTORATE IS INADEQUATE COMPENSATION FOR THE COST OF REMAINING IN SCHOOL. IT IS EXTREMELY HARD FOR A YOUNG ENGINEER ESPECIALLY FOR ONE WHO HAS ALREADY BORROWED MONEY FOR COLLEGE TO FOREGO FOUR TO SIX YEARS OF THOSE EXTREMELY GENEROUS SALARIES THE COMPANIES ARE OFFERINGIF HE
MAKES THAT CHOICE, HIS PEERS ARE GAINING VALUABLE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND SALARY
INCREASES WHILE HE STILL REMAINS IN SCHOOL.
FIVE YEARS AFTER RECEIVING A B.S., AN ENGINEER EARNS AN AVERAGE OF $23,800.
THEIR ENGINEERING GRADUATE STUDENTS NEARLY THAT MUCH OF A STIPEND.
IN ADDITION, IF THE CURRENT SITUATION PERSISTS, THERE WILL BE FEW AMERICANS
QUALIFIED TO TEACH ENGINEERING. WE WILL PAY DEARLY FOR THE EXTRA ENGINEERS
BEING HIRED NOW AT THE BACHELORS DEGREE LEVEL WITH A SEVERE SHOPTAGE OF ENGINEERS
IN THE FUTURE. IF WE DEFER TO MARKET FORCES, PERHAPS THE SITUATION WILL CORRECT
ITSELF. BUT IF WE INTERCEDE CARELESSLY, WE STAND TO EXACERBATE THE ALREADY
THREATENING SITUATION AND IT WILL BECOME CRITICAL.
THE RECENT TAX PACKAGE INCLUDES VIGOROUS INCENTIVES FOR INCREASING PRIVATE
SECTOR SPENDING ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, AND WILL ENCOURAGE A HIGHER LEVEL
DECREASES IN FEDERAL FUNDING, PERHAPS STIPENDS FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS COULD BE
INCREASED AND ONE PROBLEM WOULD ABATE. SUBSTANTIAL INCREASES IN THE LEVEL OF
INDUSTRY FUNDED RESEARCH AT UNIVERSITIES COULD ENHANCE THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF A
UNIVERSITY CAREER IN ENGINEERING. HOWEVER, INCREASING THE DEMAND FOR ENGINEERS
IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO PROJECT WHICH OF THESE EFFECTS WILL DOMINATE, BUT THE
GRADUATE DEGREES, AND OF THOSE, FAR FEWER WILL BE WILLING TO REMAIN IN ACADEMIA. IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE, THE UNIVERSITIES WILL BE UTTERLY INCAPABLE OF TRAINING AN ADEQUATE NUMBER OF ENGINEERS. INDUSTRY WILL SUFFER, AND SO WILL THE
REST OF US.
GIVEN THIS PROBLEM, I ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES TO MONITOR THE EFFECTS OF THESE
PROVISIONS CAREFULLY OVER THE NEXT YEAR OR SO AND HAVE A BASIS FOR DECIDING
WHETHER TO AMEND THESE PROVISIONS IN THE 98TH CONGRESS.
Mr. HARKIN. Mr. Gore?
Mr. HARKIN. How is the quality of engineering education in the United States compared with that of Japan or West Germany or the Soviet Union?
Dr. BRANSCOMB. I think we have a more diverse educational establishment than most other countries. I don't think there is any question that the best of our educational establishment is far superior to that of any other nation at the university and postgraduate level.
The Japanese educational system is different in character. It is my impression that it is much less effective at generating imaginative, innovative people given to new concepts and ideas than is our own. Japan does focus very strongly, however, on production issues. They are committed to large numbers of students and have the advantage of an extremely rigorous secondary education.
That comment could also apply, multiplied by a factor of two, for the Soviet Union. They have very rigorous preparation prior to reaching the university level. They do not train people with the kinds of imagination and creative skills that our institutions do. I believe that those institutions in the United States that are properly staffed and equipped still do the preeminent educational job in this world.
Mr. HARKIN. Earlier this morning, when the hearing started, I was here briefly. There were two gentlemen that were with the Iowa State University. I didn't know it at the time, but one of the gentlemen is an instructor in the EE department, which, as you know, is one of the foremost engineering schools in the State.
This man was telling me on the way out that he was interested in the hearing. I asked him what he thought about this problem of engineers. He said that what they had seen at Iowa State, one of the problems they have seen was this: Engineers, the ones who really were at the top of the class, when they graduate, they are picked up by private companies in the United States who offer them not only very nice salaries, but also offer them sort of an inhouse graduate program.
I didn't pursue it. There was an in-house graduate program, either they send them to school someplace else later on, or something of that nature. I was unclear on that. The effect of that was two-fold. One, he thought that the quality of graduate students they were getting was dropping.
And second, the quality of the instructors that they eventually got was going down. While they still have a good undergraduate program, the graduate program is suffering.
Do you have any thoughts on that?
Dr. BRANSCOMB. Yes. There are two kinds of activities in industry that fit the general description. Only one of them could have this effect. The competition for the most able young people is sufficiently severe that quite a number of companies are trying to locate the talent when they are undergraduates and prepare them to be recruited later.
There is, for example, a well-known program at Bell Telephone Laboratories in which Bell recruits people at the bacculareate level. Then, immediately, they send them to graduate school at the
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