Enemies and Friends
The cyberwar “sneaked up on us,” David Zax wrote in Prism’s December 2010 cover story, “Under Attack.” Software engineers in universities across the country found themselves “searching for ways to defeat an often mysterious and faceless foe, one who thrives in an online world designed for easy collaboration and access to information.” Seven years later, some major foes have been unmasked, but the surprises keep coming. If, as the Trump administration alleges, North Korea unleashed a virus on 200,000 computers across 150 countries, including ones at the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and FedEx (Pyongyang denies the charge), the cyberwar is far from won. So the recent growth in cybersecurity engineering, the topic of this month’s cover story, is no flash-in-the-pan phenomenon. While only a handful of colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in the discipline, the National Science Foundation’s Victor Piotrowski tells writer Thomas Grose that cybersecurity accounts for the biggest spike in faculty hiring at engineering schools.
Lord Palmerston, the 19th-century British statesman, once said world powers didn’t have perpetual enemies, only perpetual interests. The United States and a number of onetime foes have found an enduring shared interest in engineering education. An unusual example, described by Charles Q. Choi in our feature “Hearts and Minds,” is the flourishing partnership between the University of California, Davis, and the Hanoi University of Mining and Geology. Four decades after the United States ended its war with Vietnam, the two schools are collaborating to train a generation of chemical engineers for the oil and gas industry.
Newly hired faculty know they had better start early in preparing to secure tenure, and some veterans, like North Carolina State University’s Richard Felder, offer useful how-tos (“Rules for Rookies,” Prism, September 2011). Kettering University’s Rebecca Reck takes the process a technological leap further. After surveying faculty members at 36 institutions, she developed a comprehensive set of “tips and tricks” for compiling, maintaining, and protecting portfolios. While she employs up-to-date electronic tools—calendars, cloud storage, Evernote—Reck warns that “data may become unavailable without warning” and hasn’t given up on old-fashioned methods. As Prism’s Mary Lord describes in this month’s Teaching Toolbox, “Reck surrounds her office with 11-by-17 pieces of paper, providing a visual portrait of where articles, abstracts, and other projects are in the pipeline—and looming deadlines.”
We’re proud to welcome a new student columnist, Nirakar Poudel, whose debut tackles a delicate topic: the mental health needs of international students. Although you couldn’t tell from his sparkling curriculum vitae, Poudel had his own encounter with depression, which he recounts as a way to encourage more students to seek help and universities to provide it.
All of us at ASEE wish our readers a happy and safe New Year.