After Prism published a cover story on young faculty stars (“20 Under 40,” September 2014), a reader noted that no one from engineering technology had been included. His tone was less one of rancor than of resignation. For too long, engineering technology has been accorded a backseat to traditional engineering programs – in Prism and elsewhere. But with advanced techniques ushering in what many hope will be a new era of U.S. manufacturing, engineering technology has found its sweet spot, as our cover story this month explains. Engineering technologists find ready employment upon graduation – often at firms where they’ve interned. As one employer told Mark Bocchetti, who wrote our sidebar on the Pennsylvania College of Technology, the school’s graduates rapidly master any vendor’s technology because they are drilled in general principles and understand how to make systems work together to achieve design specifications. The project-based training that is an engineering technology hallmark is widely seen as part of the answer to retaining students in engineering. And as a new National Science Board report observes, innovation is not the exclusive province of scientists and engineers performing research: “Adoption and diffusion of innovation commonly requires organizations to rely on workers with STEM competencies to learn, adapt, install, debug, train, and maintain new processes or technologies.”
Last year’s ASEE annual conference featured a series of workshops on how to improve the environment in engineering for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. Margaret Loftus’s Teaching Toolbox, “Climate Change,” offers key pointers from those sessions.
Elsewhere in this month’s issue, read Nicholas Altiero’s third and final President’s Letter, and get a preview of the highlights of ASEE’s 2015 conference in Seattle. We look forward to seeing many of you there.