Thanks to all who attended the Open Forum last week. The discussion was interesting, lively, and informative. Even though there were widely divergent opinions, it was clear that everyone has our students’ best interests in their hearts and minds.
Let me review some of the points that were made at the forum.
1. We currently occupy a niche in higher education that is not served by many competitors. We need to stay true to the mission of the Institute as a “school of opportunity.”
2. The state of higher education is changing every day and the Institute must evolve and take these changes into account.
3. We should look at student and program outcomes, not the titles that are used.
4. For some programs, we already have the infrastructure in place for engineering and engineering technology.
5. We need to enhance our offerings in basic science and mathematics.
6. The data presented supports engineering programs and we should have more than the one program we have now.
Many other comments were made, but I think these capture the essence of our conversation.
Based on our discussion, data available on engineering and engineering technology programs, the expertise of our faculty, and projections that the future will require additional training for both technologists and engineers, I have taken the following steps to move us forward:
The biomedical program proposed for initiation in Fall 2011 will be an engineering program, not an engineering technology program. This is one area where the difference between engineers and technologists is especially marked and the job market highly favors the engineering side.
I’ve asked the Academic Department Heads of the Electronics and Mechanical Department and the Civil, Construction and Environment Department to prepare proposals for engineering programs in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering. Let me emphasize that NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE to implement any of these programs at the present time. The proposals will help us move from theoretical discussions to actual decisions, and I’m sure we will discuss the topic again. One guideline in developing the proposals is that these programs cannot be formulated at the expense of the engineering technology programs in these areas.
If you have any questions, comments or testimonials, please send them to me and I’ll see that they’re posted as soon as possible.